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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 103-107

Infant and young child feeding practices - insights from a cross-sectional study in a hilly state of North India

1 Department of Community Medicine, Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, Haryana and Punjab, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Anupam Parashar
Department of Community Medicine, Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2231-0738.158372

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Introduction: Optimal infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices are the key to improving child survival rates. Aims and Objectives: This study was done to assess the IYCF practices in Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey was carried out in selected Anganwadi centers of Shimla district. In each center, a convenience sample consisting of mothers of infants and children younger than 24 months presenting at the Anganwadi centers and who agreed to participate in the study, was recruited and interviewed. Data were analyzed using Epi Info software for Windows. Results: Out of the 200 mothers interviewed, 101 (50.5%) initiated breastfeeding their child within the first hour of birth. Fewer than one-third of mothers in urban and rural areas (29.6%) fed their child a diet having the recommended minimum dietary diversity. Recommended dietary diversity was evident more in urban areas [unadjusted odds ratio (OR) = 2.1] compared to rural areas. Fewer mothers from the urban areas initiated breastfeeding within 1 h from birth (unadjusted OR = 0.6) and practiced exclusive breast feeding till 6 months (unadjusted OR = 0.4). Bottle-feeding of children was practiced by 22% of mothers. Conclusion and Recommendation: Health care workers can tackle the issue of minimum dietary diversity by addressing the cultural myths and harmful beliefs of the people. To increase exclusive breastfeeding and continued feeding in urban areas, on-site creches at work and flexible working hours for working mothers can be implemented.

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