Maternal understanding and practices of breastfeeding and infant feeding in rural North Karnataka: a cross sectional study


  • Vidya Mallesh Department of Community Medicine, Chikkamagaluru Institute of Medical Science, Chikkamagaluru, Karnataka, India
  • Shailaja S. Patil Department of Community Medicine, BLDE (Deemed to be university) Shri BM Patil Medical College Hospital & Research Center, Vijayapura, Karnataka, India
  • Vijaya Sorganvi Department of Community Medicine, BLDE (Deemed to be university) Shri BM Patil Medical College Hospital & Research Center, Vijayapura, Karnataka, India



Breast feeding practice, Complementary-feeding, Maternal knowledge on infant feeding


Background: Child-malnutrition is a critical global concern supported by substantial evidence. Recognizing optimal infant and young child-feeding practices as pivotal in combating malnutrition is crucial.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted through house-to-house survey in Ukkali and Shivanagi villages for period of 6 months from February 2018 to July 2018. A pretested-questionnaire was administered to 133mothers of 6 to 12-month-old children, collecting socio-demographic data, knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding prelacteal, breastfeeding, and complementary-feeding.

Results: Knowledge gaps emerged, with only 50% understanding colostrum's importance. Limited awareness of exclusive breastfeeding (65%) and extended breastfeeding (31.57%) was observed. Prelacteal-feeding was widespread (52.63%), with sugar-water being a prevalent choice (21.8%). Most mothers (over 90%) opted for breastfeeding, yet timely initiation (27.6%) and exclusive-breastfeeding (30%) were suboptimal. Complementary-feeding initiation (15%) and minimum-meal-frequency adherence (13.3%) were low. Meal-diversity was deficient in over 60%.

Conclusions: Bridging knowledge gaps and promoting optimal-feeding-practices through targeted nutritional education is essential. This study underscores the importance of addressing misconceptions, enhancing early-breastfeeding, and ensuring proper complementary-feeding to improve child-health outcomes. Socio-demographic-factors must be considered when designing educational material and interventions in rural-settings.


UNICEF. Nutrition, 2019. Available at: Accessed 19 October 2019.

World Health Organization. Joint child malnutrition estimates - Levels and trends (2019 edition), 2019. Available at: estimates2018/en. Accessed 19 October 2019.

Global Nutrition Report. 2018 Global Nutrition Report - Global Nutrition Report, 2019. Available at: Accessed 20 October 2019.

Menon P, Headey D, Avula R, Nguyen PH. Understanding the geographical burden of stunting in India: A regression-decomposition analysis of district-level data from 2015–16. Mater Child Nutrit. 2018;14(4):e12620.

Agarwal AK. Social classification: The need to update in the present scenario. Ind J Commu Med. 2008;33(1):50-1.

World Health Organization. Report of the expert consultation on the optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding: Conclusions and recommendations. Geneva: WHO; 2001.

Syed M, Anurag S, Ved PS, Payal M. Infant feeding practices in the rural population of north India. J Fam Commu Medi. 2012;19(2):130-5.

Chand R, Singh KA, Vishwakarma NS. Knowledge, attitude and practices about complementary feeding among mothers of children aged 6 to 24 months in tertiary care centre of Kumaun region, India. Int J Contemp Pediatr. 2018;5(6):2142-7.

Doddihal CR, Katti SM, Mallapur MD. Teenage pregnancy outcomes in a rural area of South India: A prospective study. Int J Medi Publ Heal. 2015;5(3).

National Health Mission. Breastfeeding and infant and young child feeding practices, Report card: India, State, UT’s, 2019. Available at: Accessed 22 October 2019.

Armar-Klemesu M, Ruel MT, Maxwell DG, Levin CE, Morris SS. Poor maternal schooling is the main constraint to good child care practices in Accra. J Nutrit. 2000;130(6):1597-607.

Vijayalakshmi P, Susheela T, Mythili D. Knowledge, attitudes, and breast feeding practices of postnatal mothers: A cross sectional survey. Int J Heal Sci. 2015;9(4):364.

Roy MP, Mohan U, Singh SK, Singh VK, Srivastava AK. Determinants of pre lacteal feeding in Rural Northern India. Int J Prev Med. 2014;5(5):658-63.

Sharvanan EU, Angadi MM, Udgiri R, Patil SD. A community based study on infant and young feeding practices in a rural area of Karnataka. J Evol Med Dent Sci. 2012;1(3):231-6.

Jayarama S, Ramaiah R. Pre lacteal feeding practice among mothers in a rural area of Karnataka: A cross sectional study. Int J Commu Med Publ Heal. 2017;4(8):2919-3.

Yadavannavar MC, Patil SS. Socio cultural factors affecting breast feeding practices and decisions in rural women. IJPAES. 2011;1(2):46-50.

Junaid M, Patil S. Breastfeeding practices among lactating mothers of a rural area of central India: a cross-sectional study. IntJ Commu Med Publ Heal. 2018;5:5242-5.

Basu P, Chakrabartty A, Dasgupta U, Bhattacharyya K, Ali KM, et al. Factors Influencing Exclusive Breastfeeding Up To Six Months of Age in a Rural Community of North 24 Parganas, India. Ind J Nutri. 2018;5(1):181.

Gupta P, Srivastava VK, Kumar V, Jain S, Masood J, Ahmad N, et al. Newborn Care Practices in Urban Slums of Lucknow City, Uttar Pradesh. Ind J Commu Medi. 2010;35(1):82-5.

Yadav RJ, Singh P. Knowledge, Attitude and Practices of mothers about Breastfeeding in Bihar. Ind J Commu Medi. 2004;29(3).

World Health Organization. Infant and young child feeding counselling: an integrated course, 2006. Available at: i/item/9789241594745. Accessed 22 October 2019.

World Health Organization. Complementary feeding: report of the global consultation, and summary of guiding principles for complementary feeding of the breastfed child, 2002. Available at: Accessed 22 October 2019.

Aggarwal A, Verma S, Faridi. Complementary feeding reasons for inappropriateness in timing, quantity and consistency. Ind J Pediatr. 2008;76(1):49-53.

Sethi RK, Padhy S, Raju DV. Knowledge, attitude and practices regarding complementary feeding among mothers of children 6 to 24 months of age in Konaseema region. Int J Contemp Pediatr. 2017;4(2):394-8.

Lutter CK, Rivera JA. Nutritional status of infants and young children and characteristics of their diets. J Nutrit. 2003;133(9):2941S-9S.

Ahmad I, Khalique N, Khalil S. Complementary feeding practices among children aged 6–23 months in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. J Fam Medi Prim Care. 2017;6(2):386.

Dabar D, Das R, Nagesh S, Yadav V, Mangal A. A community-based study on growth and development of under-five children in an urbanized village of South Delhi. J Trop Pediat. 2016:fmw026.




How to Cite

Mallesh, V., Patil, S. S., & Sorganvi, V. (2023). Maternal understanding and practices of breastfeeding and infant feeding in rural North Karnataka: a cross sectional study. International Journal Of Community Medicine And Public Health, 11(1), 134–139.



Original Research Articles