Objective: This paper compares child care-giving and child's nutritional status among rural families where grandmothers were present and those where grandmothers were absent.
Methods: From 27 villages in rural Vadodara, four were randomly selected and all the families (n=31) with children (3-24 months) where grandmothers were present (GMP) were compared with 39 families where grandmothers were absent (GMA). Semi structured questionnaires were used to assess beliefs-practices of mothers and grandmothers regarding breastfeeding and complementary feeding (BF-CF). Nutrient intake of the children and nutritional status were measured using standard procedures.
Results: Some deleterious practices were present in a similar proportion of both GMP and GMA groups: giving prelacteals, delaying initiation of BF, exclusive breastfeeding < 3 months and delaying initiation of CF. Favorable practices present in significantly more GMP were: active feeding and use of anganwadi services. Grandmother's help enabled mother to practice more care-giving behaviors. However, children in both the groups had low calorie intake
Conclusion: Role of family members in childcare and the benefits of including them in interventions to improve child survival, health and nutrition status need to be further researched.