Background: Increasing evidence has highlightened the importance of initiation of breast feeding and its continuation in infancy. The global community recommends and promotes exclusive breast feeding as the method of choice especially for first six months of life. The study outcome will reveal important factors of determinants of breast feeding which in turn will be baseline data for formulation of public health policies pertaining to it.
Objective: To study the determinants of exclusive breast feeding in newborn infants in a tertiary care hospital in Kashmir valley.
Material and Methods: A hospital-based descriptive cross-sectional study design was conducted among lactating women in post-natal ward who had delivered at Trust Hospital, Sheri-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura, J&K, for a period of 4 months (October 13January 14). The study population consisted of 720 mothers with their babies who attended the hospital during the study period out of which 218 were selected through non-probability convenient sampling method. Obstetric/health service-related factors, breast feeding initiation practices, and difficulties faced were assessed for any influence on exclusive breast feeding.
Results: A total of 218 mothers with their infants were included and belonged to 2534 years of age group. Majority (95.4%) of newborns received exclusive breast feeding. Further it was found that the factors like parity, mode of delivery, antenatal counseling had a significant impact on type of breast feeding (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Exclusive breast feeding prevalence rate revealed in our study was more than the national level which indicates comparatively better feeding practices in our hospital. Further the factors classically found as supportive for breast feeding had shown association with exclusive breast feeding pattern.
Key words: Exclusive breast feeding, mixed feeding, post-natal ward