The provision of essential newborn care through integrated packages is essential to improving survival. We analyzed data on newborn care practices collected among infants who participated in a community-based trial in rural Nepal. Analysis focused on feeding, hygienic, skin/cord care and thermal care practices. Data were analyzed for 23,356 and 22,766 newborns on Days 1 and 14, respectively. About 56.6% of the babies were breastfed within 24 h and 80.4% received pre-lacteal feeds within the first 2 weeks of life. Only 13.3% of the caretakers always washed their hands before caring for their infant. Massage with mustard oil was near universal, 82.2% of the babies slept in a warmed room and skin-to-skin contact was rare (4.5%). Many of these commonly practiced behaviors are detrimental to the health and survival of newborns. Key areas to be addressed when designing a community-endorsed care package were identified.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00109616.