Optimal feeding practices in Tamilnadu, breast feeding and complementary feeding: the reality

Rathisharmila R., Uvaraj P., Saraswathi N., Ilamaran V.


Background: Optimal feeding of infants under two years of age has the greatest potential impact on child survival of all preventive interventions. This study was done to evaluate feeding practices of infants in first two years of life.

Methods: In this cross sectional study, 161 mothers with infants 6 mo to 24 mo of age, attending the well-baby clinic of this hospital were selected for study from April 2014 to March 2015 and interviewed using a structured questionnaire.

Results: The prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding for 6 mo was 44% with a median duration of 4.9±1.8 mo. The proportion of infants who received continued breast feeding at 1 year of age (12-15 mo) was 67%. The median duration of any breast feeding was 13.6 mo by survival analysis. Early introduction of cow’s milk and bottle feeding were associated with nonexclusive breast feeding under 6 mo and early termination of breast feeding.

Conclusions: While rate of exclusive breast feeding was comparable to the state average (48%), there was a higher rate of introduction of cow’s milk and bottle feeding which contributed to early termination of breastfeeding before one year of age. This study emphasis the fact that bottle feeding and inappropriate complementary feeding should be tackled to improve IYCF indicators in Tamilnadu.


Bottle feeding, Early weaning, Exclusive breast feeding, Infant feeding, Infant and young child feeding

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