Introduction: optimal growth, development, and health. The infants

Introduction:

            Breastfeeding; a way of providing
ideal nourishment for adequate growth and development of neonates and the
advantages range from physiological to psychological for both mothers and
neonates. It is well known that breastfeeding influences a child’s health
positively and improves nutritional status.

The American Academy of Paediatrics recognizes breastfeeding
and human milk as the “normative standards for infant feeding. The WHO
recommends that for the first six months of life, infants should be exclusively
breastfed to achieve optimal growth, development, and health. The infants
should thereafter, receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods,
while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or more. Exclusive Breast
Feeding (EBF) is defined as infant feeding with human milk without the addition
of any other liquids or solids. Weaning is usually used to describe the
stopping of breastfeeding after a period of successful breastfeeding. This
usually involves addition of solid food to infant’s diet and/or replacement of
breast milk with another type of milk (formula or whole milk). Maternal
physiology, infant nutritional requirements, infant development, especially that
of biting and chewing, and some cultural issues play an important role in the
timing of weaning.

The prevalence of breastfeeding differs from one country to
another and from one society to another, this is due to cultural and religious
believes.  Even though strong evidences to support EBF for the first six
months of life have been recognised, its prevalence has remained low worldwide. 

 In India,
breastfeeding appears to be influenced by social, cultural, and economic
factors. In 1991, Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) was
introduced to protect, promote and support the practice breastfeeding.  Further
more, the Government of India has undertaken the National Rural Health Mission,
which is to implement Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illnesses
(IMNCI) through the already existing healthcare delivery system.  The
promotion and acceptance of these practices, such as exclusive breastfeeding,
are specifically important in developing countries with high levels of poverty,
and that suffer a high burden of disease and poor access to clean water and
adequate sanitation.

While, a significant number of studies have been made to
assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of breastfeeding in different parts
of the world; such studies are low in number among Indian mothers. There are
not many reported studies of breastfeeding knowledge and attitudes of mothers
using the IIFAS (Iowa Infant Feeding Attitudes Scale) from India. Moreover,
maternal attitude is also a concept of interest to those who support
breastfeeding.

In this regard, we are proposing a study to examine  the
infant feeding practices, knowledge and attitude towards breast feeding among
Indian postnatal mothers’ using the IIFAS.

Objectives:

1.      To access the knowledge, attitude and practices of mothers, of rural
parts of central Karnataka, regarding breastfeeding, complementary feeding and
weaning.

2.      To document
why the mothers were unable to practice exclusive breastfeeding.

Methodology:

This is a cross-sectional study. The study
population comprises of  post natal mothers
who visit the Paediatric Out Patient Department with their children for
vaccination or for the treatment of other minor illnesses at
Adichunchanagiri Hospital and Research centre, B.G. Nagar, Mandya district,
Karnataka.

Study participants will be
selected through a random sampling method of the database of children visiting the
Paediatric outpatient department. Those who meet the inclusion criteria will be
interviewed.

 The study criteria; a) mothers of healthy
infants aged 6 months or less than a year old,

 b) born between 37weeks and 42weeks of
gestation period,

 c) and without major birth defects such as
congenital heart disease, cleft lip/cleft palate, Down syndrome and

d) those who volunteer to
participate.

 Mothers of preterm infants, and/or multiple
gestations will be excluded. 

Approximately 200 postnatal mothers will be
interviewed.

         

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