Infant feeding practices of a tribal community in a mandal of Khammam district, Telangana

Rajeshwar Rao Alwala, Shankar Reddy Dudala, Chandrasekhar Reddy Bolla, Manoj B. Patki, B. P. Ravi Kumar


Background: Breast milk is the best, safest and most nutritious food for infants. Though breast feeding is almost universal, there are yet some myths and false beliefs surrounding the practice due to various cultures and traditions in India. In the present study an attempt was made to understand various aspects of infant feeding practices among the Sugali tribes of Khammam district, Telangana state.

Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted among Sugali community in Khammam mandal of Khammam district in Telangana from March to June 2010. In which 314 families with pre-school children were interviewed using a pre–designed semi-structured questionnaire.

Results: Nearly 80% (251) of the mothers had said that they initiate breast feeding after one hour of delivery, while only 6% initiated breastfeeding within one hour delivery. About 54% of the mothers were giving colostrum to their newborns, while others (45.86%) were giving pre-lacteal feeding to the infants including jaggery water and honey. It was observed that most (71.65%) of the mothers were continuing to breastfeed their children more than 18 months. Only 11.78% of the mothers started weaning before 6 months of age. Socio-economic status, literacy rate and working status of the mothers were some of the influencing factors.

Conclusions: The study identified the practices of infant feeding, their determinants among the sugali tribes and recommendations to improve their practices. False beliefs and difficulties regarding breast feeding need to be addressed through heath education and family support.


Sugali, Breastfeeding, Khammam

Full Text:



Garje RR, Thitame SK, Somasundaram KV, Gautam L, Gite MS. Infant feeding beliefs and practices among tribal mothers in Nashik district, Maharashtra. Int J Med Sci Public Health. 2016;5:2203-8

Gupta A, Dadhich JP, Faridi MMA. Breast feeding and complementary feeding as a public health intervention for child survival in India. Ind J Pediatr. 2010;7(4):412-7.

Morose JM. Symposium of the cultural context of infant feeding in Fiji. Ecol Food Nutr. 1984;14: 287.

Vijayakumari G. Breast Feeding Practices Among The Sugali Community: A Study In A Tribal Population of Ananthapuramu District, Andhra Pradesh. IOSR Journal Of Humanities And Social Science 2018;9(23):23-5.

Deogaonkar M. Socio-economic inequality and its effect on healthcare delivery in India: Inequality and health care. Electronic journal of Sociology 2004. Available at 8.1/deogaonkar.html. Accessed 20 October 2018.

Reddy PPYB, Rao AP. Dietary habits, food consumption and nutrient intake among the Sugali, a tribal population of Andhra Pradesh, India. Asia Pacific J Clin Nutr. 2000;9(1):12–7.

Prasad BG. Social classification of Indian families. J Indian Med Assoc. 1961;37:250-1.

Bobhate PK, Shrivastava SR. Breastfeeding practice and factors associated with it: a cross sectional study among tribal women in Khardi primary health centre, Thane, India. Int J Public Health Res. 2012;2(1):115–21.

Garje RR, Thitame SK, Somasundaram KV, Gautam L, Gite MS. Infant feeding beliefs and practices among tribal mothers in Nashik district, Maharashtra. Int J Med Sci Public Health. 2016;5:2203-8.

Dakshayani B, Gangadhar MR. Breast feeding practices among the Hakkipikkis: A tribal population of Mysore District, Karnataka. Ethno-Med. 2008;2(2):127-9.

International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) and Macro International. 2007. National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3), 2005–06: India: Volume I. Mumbai: IIPS. Available at nfhs/NFHS-3%20Data/VOL-1/India_volume_I_ corrected_17oct08.pdf. Accessed on 20 October 2018.

Neog N, Baruah DK. Prevalent infant feeding practices of infants among the missing tribes of Jorhat District, Assam. Food Sci Res J. 2012;3(1):9-13.

Nisha C, Suguna A, Surekha A, Suleka T. Infant and child feeding practices among tribal population in Bangalore district, Karnataka. NJRCM. 2015;4(4):370-3.

Karunamurthy KS, Chakravarthy BK, Kolli B. A comparative study on maternal care practices in tribal area and urban slums. J of Evolution of Medl and Dent Sci. 2015;4(43):7477-82.

Talukdar MK, Kabit SM. Problems in Breast feeding and their management. Bangladesh J Child Health. 1992;16 (1/2):37–48.

Srikanth L, Subbiah K, Srinivasan S. Beliefs and practices of newborn feeding in tribal areas of India: a decennary review. Int J Community Med Public Health. 2017;4:281-5.