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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 86-91

Feeding practices and nutrition in children of working and stay-At-Home mothers: A comparative study

1 Department of Pathology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Pediatrics, Indira Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry, India
3 Department of Community Medicine, Indira Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry, India
4 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Indira Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry, India
5 Department of Pediatrics, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. R L Jayavani
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Indira Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Kathirkamam, Pondicherry - 605 009
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcls.jcls_32_22

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Introduction: Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) for the first 6 months of life and timely introduction of complementary feeds (CFs) with continuation of breastfeeding up to 2 years or beyond are optimum infant and toddler nutrition practices. Mother's employment status influences the feeding practice which in turn can have a negative impact on the growth and development of the infant. The objectives of the study were to determine and compare breastfeeding and CF practices in working and stay-at-home mothers attending our health facility and its effect on the growth of their children. Methods: This observational comparative study was done on 200 mothers, 100 working mothers and 100 stay-at-home mothers of children aged 1–24 months after obtaining written consent. Data were recorded in a pretested semi-structured questionnaire using interview method. Details were elicited regarding feeding practices and illnesses in the child. Each infant's growth and development were assessed using the World Health Organization growth chart and Trivandrum development chart. Statistical tests used were descriptive statistics for frequencies, means and standard deviation, Chi-square for proportions, and Student's t-test for means. A P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: EBF for 6 months was given by 37% (37/100) of stay-at-home and 45% (45/100) of working mothers (P = 0.251). Breastfeeding beyond 6 months was given by 94.7% (n = 71/75) of stay-at-home and 93.8% of working mothers (n = 90/96, P = 0.800), and beyond 12 months by 61.1% n = 33/54) and 54.8%, respectively, (n = 40/73, P = 0.477). CF was initiated by 180 days by 44% of stay-at-home (44/100) and 55% of working mothers (55/100, P = 0.120). Underweight, wasting, and stunting were seen in 12%, 10%, and 13% (12/100, 10/100, 13/100), respectively, of stay-at-home and 14%, 15%, and 13% (14/100, 15/100, 13/100), respectively, of working mothers and there was no statistical difference between the two groups. A higher frequency of diarrheal episodes was observed in babies of working mothers (6/100, 6% vs. 18/100, 18%, P = 0.009). Conclusion: There was no statistical difference between stay-at-home and working mothers in time of initiation of first feed, giving colostrum, EBF rate, continued breastfeeding beyond 12 months, and age of initiation of CF. Thus, the nutrition and health status of children in both groups were comparable except acute diarrheal illness which was more in babies of working mothers.

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