Perceptions and Practice of Infant and Young Child Feeding among Mothers of Children Aged 624 Months: A Mixed Methods Study in a Rural Maternity Hospital, Karnataka

Thomson C Davis, Merlyn Joseph, Tia T Thomas, Shreya Rasquinha, Sr Simy, Avita Rose Johnson


children aged 624 months. Too early, delayed or inappropriate CFs can lead to malnutrition in a child. Objectives: This study was done to assess the awareness and appropriateness regarding CF among mothers of children aged 624 months in a rural maternity hospital, Karnataka, and to understand the barriers and facilitating factors in adopting appropriate CF practices. Materials and Methods: This was a hospital-based mixed methods study. An interview schedule captured knowledge and practice of IYCF. Responses were scored. Qualitative component consisted of focus group discussions with mothers and their caregivers and in-depth interviews with nurses and ASHA workers. Results: Of the 210 mothers interviewed, 78.6% correctly knew when to initiate CF and 57.1% practiced appropriate CF and 75.2% gave drinking water before 6 months. Commonly used CF were rice, ragi, and fruits in semisolid consistency. The key qualitative themes identified were cultural practices regarding CF, responsive feeding, homemade versus commercially available CF, and continued breastfeeding with CF. Conclusion: Awareness among mothers regarding CF was good, but this knowledge did not translate into appropriateness of CF in terms of timing of introduction and quality of feeds. Age and parity of the mother were associated with better awareness of CF. Having more than 1 living child and better awareness of CF were associated with appropriate CF practices. There should be more focus on creating awareness among mothers, especially primiparous and young mothers.

Key words: Complementary feeding, awareness, appropriateness, practice, mixed methods study

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