Quantification of pregnant mothers’ intention towards infant and young child feeding: a clinic based study in rural West Bengal, India
Background: Malnutrition has become the biggest contributor to child mortality in recent years accounting for about half of all child deaths. The most important way to prevent this dismal status is by promoting optimal breastfeeding and infant feeding to all the babies. Intentions have been considered the strongest factor to influence one’s behaviour.
Objectives: To assess the intention of pregnant women towards infants and young child feeding (IYCF) and the factors associated with it.
Methods: A clinic based cross-sectional study was conducted in an antenatal unit of a primary health centre in Singur block of Hooghly district in West Bengal, India. A total of 137 pregnant women were interviewed using a questionnaire to assess their intention towards IYCF after taking their written informed consent. Descriptive characteristics, univariate and hierarchical logistic regression were used to analyse the data.
Results: All the women (137) intended to breastfeed their future offspring. Only 88 (64.2%) intended to feed colostrum whereas 112 (81.75%) had intention to breastfeed exclusively. The majority (82.5%1) answered correctly when asked about the timing of initiation of complementary feeding. Overall 83 (60.58%) had favourable intention towards IYCF. The significant covariates of favourable intentions towards IYCF were higher socio-economic status [OR (CI); 4.4 (1.7-11.6)], working mothers [OR (CI); 4.3 (1.03-18.3)] and multigravida [OR(CI) ;9.7(2.2-42.7)].
Conclusion: Focusing on developing favourable intention towards IYCF during every antenatal visit of every pregnant woman and counselling will be a cost-effective intervention to ensure excellent growth and development among children and it is a well-established that healthy children will give forth to a healthy nation.