Infant Feeding Practices in a Rural Muslim Community in Malda District of West Bengal
Keywords:Infant feeding practices, Exclusive breast feeding, Complementary feeding, Muslim community
Introduction: Exclusive breast-feeding for first six months of life and semi-solid food after six months in addition to breast feeding is recommended as optimal feeding for infant and young children. There is dearth of data about infant feeding practices among mothers of Muslim Community. Objectives: To study infant feeding practices of Muslim mothers and identify feeding problems. Methods: A descriptive observational cross-sectional study was conducted on 280 infants in the rural area of Chanchal 2 block of Malda district of West Bengal. Results: Ninety one per cent mothers of infants below 6 months were currently breast feeding their babies, whereas only 76% were giving exclusive breast feeding. About Seventy-nine per cent infants above 6 months were on exclusively breastfed up to 6 months, 98% continuing breast feeding. Only 42% of children between 6-8 months started complementary feeding, which was raised to 96% among children of 9-11 months. Cause of discontinuation of EBF before six months was stated to be inadequate milk and mothers’ ill health. Conclusion: Appropriate interventions are required to train grass-root level workers, involve family members & counsel mothers on infant & young child feeding.
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