Infant feeding practices among nursing mothers at rural tertiary care hospital

Srinivasa K., Abhishek Patel, Ajay J., Manjunath G. A.


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. 


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

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