Reasons for Early or Late Initiation of Complementary Feeding: A Study in Pokhara

Type Journal Article - American Journal of Public Health Research
Title Reasons for Early or Late Initiation of Complementary Feeding: A Study in Pokhara
Volume 3
Issue 4A
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Page numbers 69-75
Complementary feeding is introduced into an infant’s diet at 6 months of age because at this age breast
milk alone cannot adequately meet the child’s nutritional requirement for their optimal health. This study has been
undertaken to assess mothers’ timely introduction of complementary feeding and to determine reasons for its early or
delayed initiation. This was a cross sectional hospital based study conducted in Manipal Teaching Hospital, on 700
mothers from October 2013 to October 2014. Data was collected by face to face interview using a structured
questionnaire. The mothers' understanding of the recommended time to start complementary feeding, and their
actual practiced timing of complementary feeding was inquired. Where applicable, reason for early or late
introduction to complementary feeding was determined. Out of the 700 mothers sampled, 544 (77.7%) knew that
complementary feeding should be started at 6 months of age but only 359 (50%) were found to be practicing it. The
most common cited reasons for early introduction of foods/liquids before the age of 6 months were as follows: “I did
not have enough breast milk” (37.1%), “I had to return to my job” (15.1%), and “Relatives said that I should give
my baby something other than breast milk” (8.3%). In order to improve infant feeding practices, there is a need for
anticipatory guidance for the management of common breastfeeding difficulties. Also, considerations and strategies
allowing more flexible working conditions such as improved maternity leave provisions may help mothers remain at
home with their infants for longer, alleviating the need for early weaning.

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