Breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices and nutritional status of children under 5 years in a tribal community of Nandurbar district, Maharashtra

Sanika R. Patil, Murlidhar P. Tambe, Malangori A. Parande, Aditi M. Patil, Rigved V. Jeurkar


Background: Breastfeeding is the single most effective preventive intervention for improving the survival of children. Hence, the purpose of this research study to capture the firsthand breastfeeding perceptions and practices and nutritional status of children in tribal community of Nandurbar district (Maharashtra, India).

Methods: This was community based cross-sectional study carried out on parents of 100 children. A house to house survey was conducted and either one or both the parents were interviewed regarding ‘Early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding and complementary feeding’ using a pretested, predesigned questionnaire after obtaining written informed consent. Every child below 5 years went through anthropometric measurements like mid upper arm circumference (MUAC), length/height and weight and was categorized as normal/MAM/SAM. The data was analyzed using Microsoft Excel and ENA (Emergency Nutrition Assessment) for SMART software.

Results: 85% mothers were aware of right breastfeeding practices but only 30% babies received breastfeeding within first hour of birth and 72% children were exclusively breastfed till 6 months. Practice of healthy breast feeding was significantly associated with education of mother and awareness of breast feeding. It was found that prevalence of malnourishment was more among children not receiving exclusive breast feeding.

Conclusions: The importance of breastfeeding is not well recognized by the people living in tribal area as there was a gap between knowledge and practice. There were various medical, social and psychological barriers for breastfeeding. Doctors, family members, television and ASHA have majorly contributed in spreading awareness.


Early initiation of breastfeeding, Exclusive breastfeeding, Complementary feeding, Tribal community

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