Determinants of Pre Lacteal Feeding in Rural Northern India

Manas P Roy, Uday Mohan, Shivendra K Singh, Vijay K Singh, Anand K Srivastava


Background: Prelacteal feeding is an underestimated problem in a developing country like India, where infant mortality rate is quite high. The present study tried to find out the factors determining prelacteal feeding in rural areas of north India.

Methods: A crosssectional study was conducted among recently delivered women of rural Uttar Pradesh, India. Multistage random sampling was used for selecting villages. From them, 352 recently delivered women were selected as the subjects, following systematic random sampling. Chi‑square test and logistic regression were used to find out the predictors for prelacteal feeding.

Results: Overall, 40.1% of mothers gave prelacteal feeding to their newborn. Factors significantly associated with such practice, after simple logistic regression, were age, caste, socioeconomic status, and place of delivery. At multivariate level, age (odds ratio (OR) = 1.76, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.13‑2.74), caste and place of delivery (OR = 2.23, 95% CI = 1.21‑4.10) were found to determine prelacteal feeding significantly, indicating that young age, high caste, and home deliveries could affect the practice positively.

Conclusions: The problem of prelacteal feeding is still prevalent in rural India. Age, caste, and place of delivery were associated with the problem. For ensuring neonatal health, the problem should be addressed with due gravity, with emphasis on exclusive breast feeding.

Keywords: Breast feeding, colostrum, infant feeding, prelacteal feeding, rural India

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