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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 37-43

Infant rearing practices in south India: A longitudinal study

1 Department of Community Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University, Mangalore, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, JNMC, Belgaum, India
3 Department of Pediatrics, J.N. Medical College, Belgaum, India
4 Department of Community Medicine, A.J Institute of Medical Sciences, Mangalore, India

Correspondence Address:
Nitin Joseph
Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University, Mangalore
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2249-4863.109942

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Background: Rearing practices are a major determinant of nutritional and health status of infants. Therefore these practices need to be better understood. Objectives: To find out infant rearing practices in the study area. Materials and Methods: 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. Results: 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. Conclusion: Faulty rearing practices need to be corrected in order to improve the health status of infants.

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