Journal Article

The Determinants of Exclusive Breast Feeding in Urban Slums: A Community Based Study

Ranjana Tiwari, P. C. Mahajan and Chandrakant Lahariya

in Journal of Tropical Pediatrics

Volume 55, issue 1, pages 49-54
Published in print February 2009 | ISSN: 0142-6338
Published online May 2008 | e-ISSN: 1465-3664 | DOI:
The Determinants of Exclusive Breast Feeding in Urban Slums: A Community Based Study

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The actual rate of Exclusive Breast Feeding (EBF) (up to the age of 6 months) is dismally low in urban slums of India. The reasons and determinants of this are debatable. The study was planned to understand the determinants of EBF in the infants in urban slums. A community-based cross sectional study was done in urban slums of Gwalior, India. The data were collected by interviewing the caregivers of 279 infants aged between 6 and 11 months from November 2005 to July 2006. Only 11 (3.8%) mothers knew that EBF should be done till six months and 22 (7.8%) actually practiced EBF. A total of 178 (63.8%) and 212 (76.0%) newborns were given pre- and post-lacteal feeds with 26.2% discarding colostrum. Only 22 (7.8%) practiced EBF. The early breastfeeding (BF) initiation, Ante Natal Clinic (ANC) visits, mothers’ education and immunization visits were significantly associated with higher probability of EBF. There were a number of myths and misconceptions about BF in this urban slum population. The correct information about BF was more common amongst the women who had frequent contacts with health facilities due to any reason or during ANC or immunization visit. Similarly, it is the continuum of good health and feeding practices and the mothers who start early BF or get their child immunized regularly are more likely to EBF their children. Considering the widely prevalent myths and low rate of utilization of health services along with high potential benefits of EBF, every opportunity of mothers’ interaction with the health facility should be utilized for promoting correct and EBF practices.

Keywords: exclusive breastfeeding; India; immunization; determinants; community-based study

Journal Article.  2645 words. 

Subjects: Paediatrics

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