Breastfeeding practices among currently married women of selected tribes of Jharkhand, India

Shalini Kumari, Gautam Kumar Kshatriya


Background: An exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and an extended breastfeeding for 24 months protects the infant from infectious disease and promotes child spacing. Therefore, the knowledge, attitude and practice about infant and child feeding is important to overcome morbid conditions prevailing among mothers and her child. The present study aimed at investigating the factors influencing an exclusive breastfeeding among currently married tribal women in Jharkhand, India.

Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted among the 919 currently married Santal, Oraon, Mahli and Ho women in the age group of 15-29 years from forty villages of Purbi Singhbhum district of Jharkhand using interview schedule method.

Results: The mean duration of exclusive breastfeeding and breastfeeding up to 24 months was found to be 4.1 and 12.9 months respectively. Also, not much difference in the average duration of exclusive breast feeding was found between working and non-working women. The results of multinomial regression showed maternal age (OR=1.92, p<0.05), place of delivery (OR=2.3, p<0.05), distance from health facility (OR=4, p<0.01) and sex of last child born (OR=2.5, p<0.01) among the significant determinants for exclusive Breastfeeding.

Conclusions: The duration and initiation of breastfeeding in a marginalised society depends to a great extent on how family members participate and decide on the type of feeding for new-borns. Also, several public health education campaigns should be launched aiming at increasing the familiarity of family relations on exclusive breastfeeding.


Exclusive breastfeeding, Pre-lacteal feeding, Colostrum

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