Background: The first two years of life involve rapid physical, cognitive and social development that requires optimal nutrition. Tribal populations are the most backward section of the society. In West Bengal, the Santal tribe contributes to 51.8% Scheduled Tribe population of the state.
Aims & Objective: The present study was conducted to assess infant and young child feeding practice among Santal women in Bhatar block of Burdwan District, West Bengal in India.
Materials and Methods: It was a descriptive study of cross-sectional design. Bhatar block was purposively selected and 10 villages inhabited by Santals were chosen purposively. Data were collected by interview method using a pre-designed pre-tested schedule from 120 mothers having children of 0-23 months of age. WHO indicators for assessing infant and child feeding practices were used.
Results: Breast feeding was initiated within one hour of birth in 48.33% cases, 46.15% babies were exclusively breastfed and in 47.37 % cases breastfeeding was continued at 1 year of the baby. Solid, semisolid or soft foods were correctly introduced at 6-8 months in 46.67% infants. Only 30.85% mothers maintained minimum dietary diversity while 41.49% mothers maintained minimum meal frequency.
Conclusion: The poor status of indicators of Infant and child feeding practice found in present study may be attributed to high rate of illiteracy and poor socio-economic condition among Santal women. Therefore intense total literacy campaign, income generating activities and health education by health personnel is the need of the day.
Infant and Young Child Feeding Practice; Santal Women; Tribal Women