Neonatal rearing and breastfeeding practices in Punjab, India
Keywords:Neonatal rearing practices, Breastfeeding practices, Rituals
Background: Faulty or lack of intranatal care can lead to a number of morbidities in the neonatal period. Newborn care in any community is influenced by cultural practices prevalent in that area apart from medical and economic causes. In India, morbidity and mortality of mother and child directly or indirectly is governed by the customs prevalent in their society. Infant feeding and rearing practices vary across communities, depending on social customs. This study was planned to give us an insight about the neonatal rearing and feeding practices among mothers and the factors influencing their practices in Punjab.
Methods: This facility based one point cross sectional descriptive study was done in Pediatrics wards and postnatal wards of Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, Faridkot. The newborn rearing practices were interviewed from the families accompanying the babies with age less than four weeks using structured questionnaire.
Results: 965 babies were enrolled for the study. The mean age of the mother was 28.3 ± 3.5 years and 51% of the mothers practiced exclusive breastfeeding. High proportion of neonates (70%) was given prelacteals feeding, honey being most common. Oil massage to the baby was practiced by 99% of the mothers. Bath after 24 hours of delivery was given to 74% newborns. 89% of the babies were vaccinated after birth.
Conclusions: People like to follow their rituals and customs eliminating potentially harmful practices should be tried keeping those in mind. The strengthening of the information, education and the communication to improve the existing neonatal rearing practices is the need of the day.
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