Author(s): Kulsoom U, Saeed A
Beliefs and practices related to the feeding of 52 infants were assessed in an urban community of Lahore in a longitudinal study through quantitative and qualitative data during their first year of life. Ninety-eight percent mothers started breast feeding within the first week and 54.3% continued until 12 months; the mean age for exclusive breast feeding was 1.08 (+/-1.109) months; breast feeding was initiated 47.4(+/-32.58) hours after birth and prelacteal feeds were given to 94% infants. In 34 infants (65.4%) colostrum was not given. Water was considered essential from the very first day in 55.4% cases. Forty-eight percent babies were put on supplemental bottle feeding during the first week and by five months of age 97% were bottle fed. The most common reason for starting bottle feeding was perceived "insufficiency" of breast milk (71%). Breast feeding was stopped earlier by mothers who were illiterate and poor and had female children. The mean age for initiating supplemental feeding with semi-solid food was 4.4(+/-0.99) months. Weaning occurred earlier in infants of the upper socioeconomic class and literate mothers. Working women reported problems in feeding their children exclusively on breast during early infancy. Advice of health professionals was used by 31% mothers, more in the upper socioeconomic group and literate group than in other groups. Health education interventions are needed to promote use of colostrum, exclusive breast feeding and appropriate complementary feeding practices.