Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices and its Correlates in an Urban Area of Murshidabad District, West Bengal

Ritu Ghosh, Sayantan Mondal, Sankar Nath Jha, Sarmila Mallik


Background: A significant proportion of Indian under-five population is jeopardized by inappropriate breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices which impede growth and cognitive development. Status of infant and young child feeding can be assessed by 15 population-level indicators described by WHO. The study was conducted to assess the status of IYCF indicators among children aged 0-23months, to identify correlates of suboptimal feeding and to document the relationship between suboptimal feeding and other biological variables with the nutritional status of the participants. Methodology: This cross-sectional study was conducted in five wards of Berhampore municipality in urban Murshidabad, West Bengal, among 212 children aged 0–23 months, obtained through multistage sampling. Data collection was done by interviewing the caregivers and anthropometry of the study participants. Variables related to feeding practice were translated to WHO IYCF indicators. Correlates of suboptimal feeding and under -nutrition were expressed as Odds ratio with 95% CI. Results: Median time for initiation of breastfeeding was 2 h (IQR 1–10) with only 45.9% of the subjects having early initiation of breastfeeding, 55.4% of infants were exclusively breastfed, and over 50% were bottle-fed. Only 37.4% (95% CI: 29.6–45.2) of children in the age group of 6–23 months received a minimum acceptable diet. Nearly half of the subjects were suboptimally fed. The prevalence of underweight, stunting, and wasting was 26%, 11.8%, and 10.8%, respectively. The major correlate of suboptimal feeding was age >6 months. The most important factor influencing stunting was episodes of illness (AOR= 3.7), while that for underweight and wasting was maternal illiteracy (AOR 3.8 and 5.4 respectively). Conclusion: The IYCF practices, especially complementary feeding indicators were far from satisfactory in urban Berhampur, although it has ameliorated compared to NFHS 4 and DLHS 4 in West Bengal. This underscores the importance of targeted communication for behavior change as a major mitigation strategy.

Key words: Breastfeeding, complementary feeding, infant and young child feeding indicators, under-nutrition, urban

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