LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2007 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 154
Changing trends in breast-feeding pattern
A Kumkum, T Ashima, S Praveen, CG Shweta
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, Punjab, India
|Date of Submission||11-Sep-2004|
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, Punjab
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Kumkum A, Ashima T, Praveen S, Shweta C G. Changing trends in breast-feeding pattern. Indian J Community Med 2007;32:154
Many studies have clearly demonstrated that breast milk provides optimal nutrition for infants.  The purpose of this study, conducted at a baby-friendly hospital, was to find out the effects of selected demographic characteristics and the mother's employment on breastfeeding initiation and continuation.
A total of 345 mothers working at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital in Ludhiana, Punjab, participated in this study. The participants were divided into two groups: group A and group B. A self-administered questionnaire was used to gather data on demographic characteristics and breast-feeding practices.
The mean age of the participants in the study group was 33.8 years. Two hundred and seventy-six women (80%) were ≤ 40 years of age and 69 (20%) were ≥ 40 years of age. The mean parity of the subjects in group A was 1.5 and in group B it was 2.6. Forty-four percent were graduates in group A, while 30.4% of group B were high-school educated. The participants were categorized into four classes based on occupation. Doctors, nurses, technical staff, and safai sewaks constituted classes I, II, III, and IV, respectively. The majority of the participants were nurses, comprising 68.5% of group A and 34% of group B. The 345 women had collectively had a total of 609 deliveries. Antenatal checkup had been availed of by 86.9% of the women in group A vs 98.9% in group B. In group A, 86.9% had received hematinic supplementation, compared to 98.9% in group B. Vaginal deliveries were reported in 55.6% (group A) and 83.6% (group B), whereas cesarean deliveries were recorded in 44.4% (group A) and 16.4% (group B). Duration of breast-feeding (in months) in group A was 6.9, 10.9, 18.6, and 19.7 in classes I, II, III, and IV, respectively, while the figures were 8.9, 14.9, 23, and 14.1, respectively, in group B; the differences were statistically significant for classes II and III only.
In our study, the majority (93.6%) of the mothers had attended antenatal clinics, indicating that they had had a good opportunity to receive hematinic supplements and breast-feeding guidance from hospital staff. We found that breast-feeding initiation rates were correlated to maternal age, place of residence, and mode of delivery. This was probably due to implementation of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative by our institute. Higher breast-feeding rates were recorded after vaginal deliveries in both the groups, which was due to the early discharge from hospital and good breast-feeding support. After caesarean section, mothers take time to recover from anesthesia and need help to nurse their babies. Murray et al . have documented that caesarean section is a significant barrier to early initiation of breast-feeding.  Educational status has a positive influence on breast-feeding initiation, as shown by the early initiation of breast-feeding in class I of group A. The duration of breast-feeding was found to be unaffected by variables such as maternal age, place of residence, mode of delivery, and parity, reflecting the effectiveness of our hospital's promotion of breast-feeding. A statistically significant longer duration of breastfeeding was seen in class III of group B. As reported by Cernadas et al .,  longer duration of breast-feeding is associated with positive maternal attitudes towards breast-feeding, adequate family support, and level of education. The need to return to work was cited by many mothers as a barrier to breast-feeding. , These results provide baseline information about the predictors of successful breast-feeding. Though this study is based on the recall memory of mothers about infant feeding, the findings suggest that our baby-friendly hospital appears to be improving the awareness of mothers on the importance of breast-feeding.
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