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Indian Journal of Community Medicine

Infant-feeding practices among Kol tribal community of Madhya Pradesh

Author(s): Tiwari BK, Rao VG, Mishra DK, Thakur CSS

Vol. 32, No. 3 (2007-07 - 2007-09)

Year : 2007 | Volume : 32 | Issue : 3 | Page : 228

Infant-feeding practices among Kol tribal community of Madhya Pradesh

Tiwari BK1, Rao VG1, Mishra DK1, Thakur CSS2
1 Regional Medical Research Centre for Tribals, ICMR, Jabalpur, India
2 Department of Sociology, Rani Durgawati University, Jabalpur, India
Date of Submission 20-May-2006
Date of Acceptance 08-May-2007

Correspondence Address:
Rao V G
Regional Medical Research Centre for Tribals, ICMR, Jabalpur
India

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
How to cite this article:
Tiwari BK, Rao VG, Mishra DK, Thakur C. Infant-feeding practices among Kol tribal community of Madhya Pradesh. Indian J Community Med 2007;32:228
How to cite this URL:
Tiwari BK, Rao VG, Mishra DK, Thakur C. Infant-feeding practices among Kol tribal community of Madhya Pradesh. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2007 [cited 2007 Nov 30];32:228. Available from: http://www.ijcm.org.in/text.asp?2007/32/3/228/36840

Sir,

Breastfeeding is the healthiest way for a newborn child to get the best nutrition possible.[1] However, practices such as late initiation of breastfeeding, no feeding of colostrum, faulty weaning practices, etc., are of particular concern, especially in tribal areas due to certain adverse conditions like lack of access to health services, illiteracy, unhygienic personal habits, etc. We studied infant-feeding practices among the Kol tribal community in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh and found that babies were not breast-fed for the first day after birth. Almost 70% mothers did not start breastfeeding their babies until after 3 days of life. According to National Family Health Survey for the state of Madhya Pradesh, 62% of the women started breastfeeding after the first day; and of these, 24% started after 3 days of childbirth.[2] Colostrum, which is rich in a variety of immune and nonimmune components, is not given to the newborn. Nanda et al.[3] in a study in Varanasi district also observed that colostrum is discarded by almost all the mothers. However, Pandey et al.[4] reported that colostrum is not discarded among the hill Korwa and Pando tribes of Madhya Pradesh. Pre-lacteal feeds are not recommended as they are potentially harmful. Pre-lacteal feed was, however, given by majority of the mothers in the present study. This points to cultural and family influences, which need to be studied. Beneficial effect of exclusive breastfeeding in prevention of infectious diseases is well documented. Our study shows that only 20.8% mothers exclusively breast-fed their babies till 6 months after birth. This is similar with the National Family Health Survey estimates for Madhya Pradesh (24.2%).[2] Introduction of supplementary food from 6 months of age is critical for the child's growth and nutritional status. In the present study, however, late introduction of supplementary feeding is observed in majority of children. Illiteracy and lack of awareness on the part of mothers could be the reasons for late introduction.

In view of the findings of the present study, there is an urgent need to educate mothers regarding benefits of breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months, importance of colostrum and timely introduction of supplementary feeding in this tribal community.

References

1. Jelliffe DB, Jelliffe EF. Current concepts in nutrition. "Breast is best": Modern meaning. N Engl J Med 1977;297:912-5.
2. National Family Health Survey-India. International Institute for Population Sciences: Mumbai; 1998-99.
3. Nanda S, Samantary R. Pattern of introducing pre-lacteal feeding to the infants. Indian J Prev Soc Med 1999;30:53-7.
4. Pandey GD, Verma A, Tiwary RS. Some aspects of birth related practices in the Pando tribe of Madhya Pradesh. J Fam Welfare 1997;43:38-43.

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