A study on initiation of breastfeeding: are children in India getting the best start?

Arvind Singh Kushwaha, Anshika Kushwaha, Neha Kushwaha


Background: Giving colostrum to a newborn has been called the “first immunisation” of the child. Colostrum and breast milk have definite anti-infective properties and have shown to have an impact on reducing specific morbidity and mortality rates among infants. The objectives of the study were to determine the level of knowledge about early initiation of breast feeding amongst mothers and to study determinants of initiation of breast feeding.

Methods: Cross-sectional analytical study was carried out at a tertiary care hospital of a medical college in Pune. Systematic random sampling method was used.

Results: The subjects came predominantly from joint families, urban area, Hindu by religion and Class II Socio economic status (Kuppuswamy classification). Majority of (84.23%) mothers responded that they initiated breast feeding within 1 hour after birth. Most (95.25%) of the mothers agreed for giving colostrums. About half of the mothers interviewed believed that breast milk is more nutritious (49.5%) while 28% mothers said that feeding babies with breast milk protects them against infections.

Conclusions: All doctors and paramedical personnel in the Government and private institutions ensure that lactation begins immediately after birth and prelacteal feeds are withheld.


Breastfeeding, Children

Full Text:



Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding. World Health Organisation (WHO), Geneva. 2003.

Binns C, Gilchrist D, Gracey M, Zhang M, Scott J, Lee A. Factors associated with initiation of breast feeding. Public Health Nutrition. 2004;7(7):857-61.

Mullany LC, Katz J, Li YM, Khatry SK, LeClerq SC, Darmstadt GL, et al. Breast feeding patterns, time to initiation and mortality risk among newborns in southern Nepal. J Nutrition. 2008;138(3):599-603.

Horta BL, Bahl R, Victoria CG. Indicators for assessing breast feeding practices. J Pediatr Child Health. 2007: 643-649.

Lisa D, Mary R, McFadden A, McCormick F, Gill H, James T. Promotion of breast feeding: initiation and duration –Evidence into practice. National Institute for health and clinical excellence (NICE). 2006.

WHO collaborative study on role of breast feeding in prevention of infant mortality. Lancet. 2000: 451-455.

Jones G, Stekette RW, Black RE, Morris SS. Role of health care delivery in promoting early and exclusive breast feeding. Lancet. 2003: 362-365.

Gupta A, MD, FIAP Regional Coordinator, IBFAN Asia. A scientific brief- Initiating breastfeeding within one hour of birth, 2007.

Pelletier JG. Severe malnutrition: A Global Approach. Children in the Tropics 1st ed. Paris: International children's centre, 1993: 82.

Protecting, promoting and supporting Breastfeeding in facilities providing maternity and newborn services: the revised Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI). 2018

Nayak S, Jay P, Patel S, Gharat V, Patel S, Choksi V, et al. Breast feeding practices in urban community of Surat city. National J Community Med. 2010;1(2):111-3.

National Family Health Survey 3. Available at: Accessed on 3 March 2018.

Coverage Evaluation Survey. All India report. Available at: Accessed on 3 March 2018.

Athavale AV, Athavale SA, Deshpande SG. Zodpey SP, Sangole S. Initiation of breast-feeding by urban women. Health Population-Perspect Issues. 2004: 117-125.

Kumar D, Agarwal N, Swami HM. Socio-demographic correlates of breast-feeding in Urban slums of Chandigarh. Indian J Med Sci. 2006;60(11):461-6.

Tushar J, Lohkare A, Vagha J, Lakhkar BB. Prevalence of Prelacteal Feeding practice in Wardha and the effect of antenatal education on it. Pediatric On call Child Health Care. 2009;6(10):1-3.