Objective: To asses the prevailing breastfeeding and infant feeding practices in rural areas.
Design: Stratified sampling method in a community based study.
Subjects: 1050 infants from 0-24 months of age.
Results: The timely first suckling rate was 0.3%. All the infants received prelacteal feeds. Colostrum was rejected by 29% of mothers. Delayed initiation of breastfeeding was common; 35% of babies were not breast-fed even at 48 h of birth. Exclusive breastfeeding was noted in 94% at 1 mo, 83.5% at 2 mo, 72.5% at 3 mo, 61.2% at 4 mo, 43.4% at 5 mo and 26.8% at 6 mo age. Timely complementary feeding rate was 57.3% among infants from 6 to 10 mo age. Continued breastfeeding rate was 99.7% at 1 year and 87.2% at 2 years. The bottle feeding rate was 49.4% among infants below 1 year age. The ever breast-fed rate was 97.0% and the median duration of breastfeeding was beyond 24 months.
Conclusions: Bottle feeding is quite prevalent even in rural areas and the infant feeding practices are far from satisfactory.
PIP: In Central Karnataka in India, a community-based study was conducted on 1050 mothers with infants younger than 24 months to examine breast feeding and infant feeding practices in rural areas. Only 3 infants (0.3%) were offered breastfeeding within 1 hour after delivery. By 72 hours post-delivery, 90.9% of infants had begun breast feeding. All infants had received prelacteal feeds. 28.6% of mothers discarded the colostrum. The exclusive breast feeding rate was 94% at 1 month, 83.5% at 2 months, 72.5% at 3 months, and 61.2% at 4 months. 97% of infants ever breast fed. Among infants younger than 1, 49.4% were bottle fed. Major reasons for introducing bottle feeding were not enough milk (58.1%), subsequent pregnancy (35.8%), and ill health of mother (20.7%). Among infants 6-10 months old, 57.3% had received timely supplementary feedings. 94.7% of mothers used home made weaning foods. 5.3% used commercial foods. These findings show that rural mothers in Central Karnataka delay initiation of breast feeding, reject the colostrum, and use prelacteal foods and that bottle feeding and commercial weaning foods have an influence on infant feeding practices in rural areas.