The World Health Organization and the National guidelines on infant and young child feeding recommend the practice of exclusive breastfeeding of infants for the first 6 months after their birth. The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of the early initiation of and exclusive breast feeding.
A cross sectional, descriptive study was done. 79 infants and children who attended the under five clinic in the Rural Health Training Centre (RHTC), Pulipakkam Village, were chosen for the study by convenient sampling. This study was conducted by interviewing 79 mothers of the children in the ages of 0–24 months, who attended the under five clinic of RHTC, Pulipakkam. The data was collected by using a pre tested, structured questionnaire to obtain the information on the breast feeding and the hygienic feeding practices among mothers.
The statistical analysis was done by the authors by using the SPSS, version 16. The significance in the differences were evaluated by using the Chi square test and the relationship between the variables were evaluated by using Kendall’s tau correlation. A p value of <0.05 was considered as statistically significant.
The prevalence of the early Initiation of breast feeding was 97.5% and the prevalence of exclusive breast feeding in the study population was 68%. Inadequate exclusive breast feeding and the lack of hygienic feeding practices among the mothers were significantly associated with an increased incidence of upper and lower respiratory tract infections and gastro intestinal infections in the infants and the children.
The education of the antenatal mothers on the benefits of breast feeding and hygienic feeding practices and making all hospitals baby friendly have to be focused on, in order to achieve 80% exclusive breast feeding as per the national guidelines on infant and young child feeding. We need to strengthen the MCH services in the study area in order to achieve 100% immunization.
Keywords: Pulipakkam, prevalence, exclusive breast feeding, Chi square test and Kendall's tau correlation