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An assessment on the knowledge of breastfeeding and weaning among women of reproductive age in semi-urban community of Assam, India

Author: 
Pratima Pokhrel, Prem Kumar Neopanay, Sadhana Chingtham, Jessica Majaw and Vanlalrengpuii
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

The practices of breastfeeding and weaning prevailing in the community plays an important role in determining the health of a child. The present study was conducted to assess the knowledge on weaning practices amongst the women in reproductive age working in Assam down town University, Assam, India, irrespective of their qualifications, income levels and the marital status. The total 75 respondents comprised of teachers (39), support staff (14) and cleaners (22). They were randomly selected and interviewed using pre-structured questionnaire. Results indicated that maximum number of women (60%) had the opinion that weaning should be started only at the completion of 6 months of age and (44%) of them stated that breastfeeding should be continued till the infant reaches two years of age along with complementary feedings. It was learned that 59% of the respondents were in favour of incorporating infant formulas like cerelacs, lactogen, along with cereal-pulse mix and milk based recipes. Knowledge of women on expressed breast milk and human milk banks were found to be limited, with 69% and 81% respectively. The positive point noted from the study was that a low percentage (23%) of the respondents had some food taboos but not to the extent that would result in adopting unhealthy food habits and may cause total abstinence from certain foods. It was revealed that the women would limit inclusion of certain foods (citrus, spicy, bitter) till the baby gets accustomed to it.

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