Infant feeding practices among nursing mothers at rural tertiary care hospital


  • Srinivasa K. Department of Pediatrics, Navodaya Medical College Hospital and Research Institute, Raichur, Karnataka, India
  • Abhishek Patel Department of Pediatrics, Navodaya Medical College Hospital and Research Institute, Raichur, Karnataka, India
  • Ajay J. Department of Pediatrics, Navodaya Medical College Hospital and Research Institute, Raichur, Karnataka, India
  • Manjunath G. A. Department of Pediatrics, Navodaya Medical College Hospital and Research Institute, Raichur, Karnataka, India



Complementary feeding, Exclusive breast feeding, Infant feeding practices, Rural mothers


Background: Breastfeeding (BF) is nature’s way of providing nutrition required for healthy growth and development of the young infant. The early child growth needs healthy infant feeding practices including exclusive breastfeeding and timely complementary feeds. The present study was carried out to assess the pattern of infant feeding and its relation to certain care practices of maternity and the newborn, and to assess the knowledge of mothers, who had delivered in the last one year.

Methods: A cross sectional descriptive study was conducted among 202 mothers in the pediatric and obstetrics department of tertiary care hospital. The mothers with children under the age of 1 year were interviewed following which descriptive statistics were obtained.

Results: Out of 202 mothers, majority of the mothers were of age less than 30 years (79.7%) and were Hindus (74.2%). The majority were housewives (98.5%), illiterate (71.7%), multiparous (67.8%). Most of the mothers were belonged to a lower socioeconomic class (95.5%). About 17.8% babies had not received colostrum. Majority of the mothers had initiated breastfeeding (79.2%) within 24 hours of delivery. About 46.5% of the respondents were not aware of the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding. About 25% of the mothers started complementary feeding before the child was six months old. The most common type of complementary food given was semisolid (53.4%). About 14.1% of the mothers had started giving semi-solid foods before the baby was six months of age. A majority of the mothers had no advice on infant feeding.

Conclusions: Knowledge regarding the timely initiation of breast feeding, advantages of exclusive breast feeding and proper weaning practice is less among the mothers of rural area. So, advice about breastfeeding and complementary feeding during antenatal check-ups, postnatal, and during Immunization visits might improve feeding practices. 


WHO Assembly. World Health Assembly. Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding; The Optimal Duration of Exclusive Breast Feeding, Fifty Fourth WHO Documents A54/INF, Doc/4. Geneva: WHO; 2001.

Wardle K, De Domenico M, Wen LM. Understanding infant feeding practices of new mothers: Findings from the Healthy Beginnings Trial. Aust J Adv Nurs. 2012;32(1):6-15.

Kumar R, Singhal PK, Jain BK. Spoon Vs Bottle: A controlled evaluation of milk feeding in young infants. Indian Pediatr. 1989;26(3):11-7.

World Health Organization. Optimal feeding of low-birth-weight infants: technical review; 2006. [cited 2015 July]. Available from:

Underwood MA. Human milk for the premature infant. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2013;60:189-207.

Lawrence RA. A Review of the Medical Benefits and Contraindications to Breastfeeding in the United States. (Maternal & Child Health Technical Information Bulletin.) Arlington, Virginia: National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health; 1997.

World Health Organization. Infant and Young child feeding; 2010. Available from:

Oates RK. Infant-feeding practices. BMJ. 1973;2(5869):762-4.

Patel A, Dhande L, Pusdekar Y. Effectiveness of Cell Phone Counceling to improve Breast Feeding Indicators. Paper presented at: The SAIFRN Workshop; New Delhi, India, 2012.

Banapurmath CR, Nagaraj MC, Banapurmath S, Kesaree N. Breastfeeding practices in villages of central Karnataka. Indian Pediatr. 1996;33(6):477-9.

Khan ME. Breast feeding and weaning practices in India. Asia Pac Popul J. 1990;5:71-88.

Kushwaha KP, Sankar J, Sankar MJ, Gupta A, Dadhich JP. Effect of Peer Counselling by Mother Support Groups on Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices: The Lalitpur Experience. PLoS ONE 9(11):e109181.

Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices: Collecting and Using Data: A Step -by- Step Guide. Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, Inc. (CARE). 2010;71-88.

Chandrashekar S, Chakladar BK, Rao RS. Infant feeding--knowledge and attitudes in a rural area of Karnataka. Indian J Pediatr .1995;62:707-12.

Agarwal S, Srivastava K, Sethi V. Maternal and Newborn Care Practices among the Urban Poor in Indore, India - Gaps, Reasons and Potential Program Options. August 2007. Available from: abstract=2810871. [Last accessed on 2017 Jan 4].

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare: National Family Health Survey 3, India. Available from: [Last cited in 2007].

Madhu K, Chowdary S, Masthi R. Breast feeding practices andnewborn care in rural areas: A descriptive cross-sectional study. Indian J Community Med. 2009;34:243-6.

World Health Organisation. UNICEF, ten steps to promote successful breastfeeding Mother and Child Health Division. Geneva:World Health Organisation; 1989.

Iarukov A, Nin’o A, Iarukova N, Doicheva E, Kolev D. The early breast feeding of newborn infants. Akush Ginekol (Sofiia). 1992;31:13-5.

Hale R. Infant nutrition and the benefits of breastfeeding. Br J Midwifery. 2007;15:368-71.

Mittal P, Nupur H, Aditi B, Anuradha S, Andaleeb F, Priyanka M, et al. Knowledge, attitude and practice of breast feeding at a tertiary care center in Rajasthan. Sch Acad J Biosci. 2014;2(10):714-8.

Nigam R, Nigam M, Wavre RR, Deshpande A, Chandorkar RK. Breastfeeding practices in baby friendly hospitals of Indore. Indian J Pediatr. 2010;77:689-90.

Deshpande JD, Giri PA, Phalke DB, Phalke VD, Kalakoti P, Syed MM. Socio-cultural practices in relation to breastfeeding, weaning and child rearing among Indian mothers and assessment of nutritional status of children under five in rural India. AMJ. 2010;3:618-24.

Khan Z, Mehnaz S, Khalique N, Ansari MA, Siddiqui AR. Poor perinatal care practices in urban slums: Possible role of social mobilization networks. Indian J Community Med. 2009;34:102-7.

Davies MC, Arinolan G, Sanusin R, Osotimehin B. Immunoglobulin classes and nutritional factors in plasma and breast milk of lactating mothers in Nigeria. Iran J Immunol. 2006;3:181-6.

Gupta P, Srivastava VK, Kumar V, Jain S, Masood J, Ahmad N, et al. Newborn care practices in urban slums of Lucknow, UP. Indian J Community Med. 2010;35:82-5.

Mandal PK, Sardar JC, Chatterjee C, Lahiri SK, Ghosh PK. A study on breast feeding practices among infants in a rural area of west Bengal. Indian J Prev Soc Med. 2007;38:28-31.

Rao S, Swathi PM, Unnikrishnan B, Hegde A. Study of complimentary feeding practices among mothers of children aged six months to two years - A study from coastal South India. Aust Med J AMJ. 2011;4(5):252-7.

Aggarwal A, Verma S, Dayachand FM. Complementary feeding - Reasons for inappropriateness in timing, quantity and consistency.Indian J Pediatr. 2008;75(1):49-53.

Saxena V, Kumar P. Complimentary feeding practices in rural community: A study from block Doiwala district Dehradun. Indian J Basic Appl Med Res. 2014;3(2):358-63.






Original Research Articles