Knowledge and practices of breastfeeding among rural postnatal mothers in Central India
Pediatric Review International Journal of Pediatric Research
Breastfeeding is known to be central in an infant's nutrition and growth worldwide. However, breastfeeding rates have remained low during this crucial period due to various misconceptions and cultural beliefs. This study was planned to assess the knowledge and practices of breast feeding and identify misconceptions regarding breastfeeding in the postnatal mothers from rural central India. Methodology: A cross-sectional observational questionnaire based study was conducted at a tertiary care
... a tertiary care teaching hospital in rural part of central India. A total of 100 postnatal mothers attending the pediatric out-patient department were enrolled in the study. Subjects were informed about the study, written consent taken and a structured questionnaire was administered to them. Results: About one third (34%) of the mothers were either illiterate or received only primary education. Only 18% mothers had received antenatal counseling about breast feeding and only 28% had their breast examination done. Although majority of the mothers (86%) were breastfeeding their babies, only 22% had initiated breastfeeding within an hour of delivery. Only 70% mothers knew that exclusive breastfeeding should be given for first six months and only 58% believed that it should be continued till 2 years age. Only 18% mothers knew about the correct technique of breastfeeding. Conclusions: This study reveals that the knowledge and practices of postnatal mothers regarding breastfeeding are far from satisfactory. Our study emphasizes the need for education of mothers especially during antenatal visits and whenever the healthcare providers get an opportunity to sensitize them about the correct technique, early initiation and exclusiveness of breastfeeding for first 6 months.