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Assessment of weight gain pattern of exclusively breastfed and nonexclusively breastfed infants in Bhavnagar city, Gujarat

Mansi G Chauhan, Disha P Mehta, Bharti Koria, Harshad Patel, Manindrapratap Singh.

Background: Exclusive breastfeeding is the optimal feeding practice to achieve infants’ growth and development. Although appropriate feeding practice is the most cost-effective intervention to reduce child morbidity and mortality, only 38% of children less than 6 months of age are exclusively breastfed in the developing countries.

Objective: To assess the weight gain pattern of exclusively breastfed (EBF) and nonexclusively breastfed (NEBF) infants in the first 6 months of the life.

Materials and Methods: A retrospective cohort study has been carried out in UHTC field practice area of Government Medical College, Bhavnagar. Totally, 120 lactating mothers were selected who possessed infants of 6 months age. They were interviewed by predesigned prestuctured questioner, and weight for age was taken from the growth chart beginning from birth up to 6 months for every month. History of any morbidity within the last 6 months was taken. Anthropometric measurement of weight for age was compared according with their breastfeeding practices.

Result: At birth, 96.67% infants were exclusively breastfed, and the rate was declined progressively up to 23.33% at 24 weeks of age. Mother’s education and delivery at a government health facility were positively associated with higher rates of EBF (p < 0.05). Only 14 (46.67%) babies were immediately breastfed (≤1 h) after delivery. At 24 weeks of age, EBF infants achieved a better and more rapid weight gain when compared with those in the NEBF group. Morbidities such as diarrhea and respiratory tract infections were more among NEBF infants.

Conclusion: The study revealed that EBF babies revealed a positive effect on the physical growth and health status, but the rate of EBF was low at the end of 24 weeks.

Key words: Exclusive breastfeeding, growth chart, infants, weight for age, weight gain pattern

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