Journal article / (OA) Complementary Feeding Practices of Tribal Mothers

Jose, Justin P., Shanuga J. Cherayi, Sreejith Sudhakar, and Kanmani T. Raju. ‘Complementary Feeding Practices of Tribal Mothers to Their Infants and Young Children in Kerala’. Clinical Epidemiology and Global Health 11 (July 2021), Article 100767. Published ahead of print, 8 May 2021.

Abstract: WHO recommends the timely and optimal introduction of complementary feeding (CF) at the 6th month as it complements the additional energy and growth needs of young children. We know relatively little about the CF practices of tribal mothers in the context of the high rate of poor health and undernutrition in tribal children of Kerala. This study, therefore, examined the factors influencing CF practices in tribal infants and young children.

We conducted a community based cross-sectional survey of 1,150 tribal mother-infant pairs from five districts. We used a pre-tested interview schedule for data collection. Alongside descriptive statistics, we used multiple linear regression for data analyses.

Around 76.2% continued breastfeeding at the 6th month, 62.7% introduced CF at the 6th month, 22.7% of children received low or potentially harmful CF, 48.4% children received harmful CF, and merely 8.6% received optimal CF.

Maternal education, marital status, age at first pregnancy optimised CF and occupational status, hours of work per day, work status before pregnancy, and age at marriage were inversely associated with 40% of the variance.

Tribal mothers’ perceived difficulty for breastfeeding in public space increased CF scores and mothers who initiated CF early were more likely to feed children less-optimal.

Tribal mothers practise predominantly poor and potentially harmful CF to young children aged 6–24 months.

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Reposted from Kerala Scholars eGroup
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