Infant and Young Child-Feeding Practices, Indicators and Index, and Role of Socio-economic Status

Khusboo Karwa, Meena L. Godhia, Alka R. Jadhav


The present cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted at the paediatric OPD of a government and a private clinic to assess the indicators of Infant-and Young Child-feeding (IYCF) practices and compare them among lower middle and upper middle socioeconomic groups. The study enrolled 200 mother-child pairs with children aged 18-36 months, classified using Modified Kuppuswamy scale into Lower Middle Socioeconomic Group (LMSEG) (score: 11-15) and Upper Middle Socioeconomic Group (UMSEG) (score:16-25). IYCF indicators formed the basis of the questionnaire used to interview the mothers. This calculated the children’s dietary diversity score, meal frequency and IYCF index. Statistical analyses were performed using SPSS software (version 16.0) to determine the effect on socio-economic status on IYCF practices. P-value <0.05 was considered to be statistically significant. Only 52.5% (n=105) infant were exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life with significant difference between the two socioeconomic strata, with 64% (n=64) from LMSEG and 41% (n=41) from UMSEG (p=0.01). 67% (n=67) infants from LMSEG received breast milk till two years in contrast to 44% (n=44) infants from UMSEG (p=0.01). However, a higher frequency of food intake (p=0.03) and higher minimum dietary diversity score (p=0.012) was observed among UMSEG as compared to LMSEG. UMSEG mothers had greater prevalence of using bottles to feed their children as compared to LMSEG (n=51 vs n=27). Besides, it was found that educational qualification of the mothers had a positive impact on IYCF practices (p=0.015) but the mother’s employment or the child’s birth order had no significant effect. IYCF practices differed significantly among the two socioeconomic groups. LMSEG have better qualitative practices and UMSEG showed better quantitative factors. Health education as well as digital media may serve as important intervention programs to spread awareness to protect, promote and sustain optimal IYCF practices in Indian context.


Breastfeeding; Complementary Feeding; Dietary Diversity; Meal Frequency

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