Infant Rearing Practices in South India: A Longitudinal Study
Rearing practices are a major determinant of nutritional and health status of infants. Therefore these practices need to be better understood.
To find out infant rearing practices in the study area.
A longitudinal study was conducted on a birth cohort of 194 infants. Information on rearing practices and anthropometric measurements were recorded every month for a period of 1 year.
Only 67 (34.5%) newborns were breast fed within half an hour of delivery. Prelacteal feeds was given to 65 (33.5%) newborns and this was seen more among home deliveries (P=0.018). Demand feeding was practiced by 169 (87.1%) mothers. Exclusive breast feeding (EBF) for 6 months was practiced by 81 (41.7%) mothers. Bottle feeding was seen in 7 (3.6%) cases. Weight gain during infancy was found to be maximum when infants were EBF for 6 months (P<0.001) and weaned with semi-solid and solid diet alone in the following 6 months (P=0.002). Gain in all anthropometric measurements was more in the initial 6 months of infancy compared to latter. Four (2.1%) infants were malnourished. Oil massage before bath was practiced by 189 (97.4%) mothers. Over 50% mothers practiced oil application to eyes or ears of infants. Delayed initiation of bath (beyond 1week) was seen in 15 (7.7%) cases.
Faulty rearing practices need to be corrected in order to improve the health status of infants.
Available from: Abdel-Hady El-Gilany
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Prelacteal feed (feeding any other substance before first breastfeeding) appears to be common despite its harmful effects. By definition a child provided with prelacteal feed (PLF) is not exclusively breastfed and PLF has many implications for the success and early initiation of breastfeeding. Objectives. To describe the prevalence of, nature of, and reasons for and factors associated with PLF.
647 mother-infant dyads were studied. Data was collected about the sociodemographic features of the family and baby, maternity care, the type of first feed before suckling, and causes of PLF. Maternal weight and height were measured and body mass index was calculated.
About 58% of newborns received prelacteal feeds. The commonest PLF was sugar/glucose water (39.6%). The most frequent reasons for giving PLF are tradition (61.0%) and mother's/mother in law's advice (58.3%). The logistic regression revealed that the independent predictors of PLF are urban residence; maternal education; father's education; low, middle, and high social class; maternal obesity; receiving antenatal care at private clinics and no antenatal care; Caesarean section; female babies; low birth weight; and admission to neonatal intensive care.
Indiscriminate use of PLF should be discouraged in medical education and in antenatal maternal health education.
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