Background. Breastfeeding is the optimal method for achieving a normal growth and development of the baby. This study aimed to study mothers' perceptions and practices regarding breastfeeding in Mangalore, India. Methodology. A cross-sectional study of 188 mothers was conducted using a structured proforma. Results. Importance of breast feeding was known to most mothers. While initiation of breast feeding within one hour of birth was done by majority of mothers, few had discarded colostrum and adopted prelacteal feeding. Mothers opined that breast feeding is healthy for their babies (96.3%) and easier than infant feeding (79.8%), does not affect marital relationship (51%), and decreases family expenditure (61.1%). However, there were poor perceptions regarding the advantages of breast milk with respect to nutritive value, immune effect, and disease protection. Few respondents reported discontinuation of breastfeeding in previous child if the baby had fever/cold (6%) or diarrhea (18%) and vomiting (26%). There was a statistically significant association between mother's educational level and perceived importance of breastfeeding and also between the mode of delivery and initiation of breast feeding (p<0.05). Conclusion. Importance of breast feeding was known to most mothers. Few perceptions related to breast milk and feeding along with myths and disbeliefs should be rectified by health education.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)