Newborn care practices in rural Puducherry; a peek into the harmful practices-a cross sectional study


  • Sujay Kumar Earan Department of Pediatrics, Sri Manakula Vinayagar Medical College and Hospital, Puducherry, India
  • Duvvur Preethika Reddu Department of Pediatrics, Sri Manakula Vinayagar Medical College and Hospital, Puducherry, India
  • Arulkumaran Arunagirinathan Department of Pediatrics, Sri Manakula Vinayagar Medical College and Hospital, Puducherry, India



Cultural practices, Newborn care, Prelacteal feeding, Traditional practices, Umbilical cord


Background: Immediate care of the newborn is vital not only for the survival but for the growth and overall development of the child. Owing to regional customs and practices, various traditional practices are followed during the neonatal period. There are many beliefs that have developed around those practices and the same has been passed on from one generation to the other. There is a need to understand the dynamic factors which are contributing to the potentially harmful practices and the role the family plays

Methods: This was a cross sectional hospital-based study. The study was conducted in Sri Manakula Vinayagar medical college and hospital, tertiary care centre catering to the nearby rural population in Puducherry, India.

Results: There was a practice of kajal application to the babies by the care, 606 (89.1%) mothers had the habit of applying kajal to the babies. Care givers also had the practice of instilling oil in either the ear or nose of the babies in order to cure any ailments related to the nose or ears, 277 (40.73%) of them had the habit of oil instillation. Pre-lacteal or extra lacteal feeds which included cow’s milk, buffalo or goat’s milk, water, honey, sugar water was given among 588 (86.4%) babies. In 55% of them some herbal medicine or over the counter medicines given as they believed that it would help in the digestion of the baby and would decrease the excessive crying in baby.

Conclusions: Every country owing to its geography cultural variations has their unique traditional rituals and practices. The good practices followed in the community must be motivated and reinforced at the same time all the family members must be made aware of the practices that are detrimental to the health of the baby, such practices must be discouraged. There is a need to plan for a culturally acceptable and scientifically appropriate practice of neonatal health care.


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