Perception and practice of early initiation of breastfeeding and associated factors among postnatal mothers in East Sikkim

Nisha Rakhi Tirkey, Barkha Devi, Sonam Zangmu Sherpa


Background: Breastfeeding is the most desirable method for achieving a normal growth and development of the child. Breastfeeding practice is multifactorial, and number of variables influence mothers’ decisions and ability to breastfeed. This study aimed to assess the perception and practice regarding early initiation of breastfeeding and factors associated with breastfeeding among hospitalized postnatal mothers in East Sikkim.

Methods: The descriptive study was carried out among 80 postnatal mothers who delivered term healthy babies either through normal vaginal delivery (n=34) or lower segment caesarean section (n=38), selected through purposive sampling technique and were interviewed within six hours of postpartum. Data were collected over a period of one month through an interview schedule to get information on feeding practice, perception and the factors responsible for delayed breastfeeding. Data analysis was done using Statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 16. Chi square test was used to examine the factors associated with perception and practice of early initiation of breastfeeding (within one hour of birth).

Results: The result shows that early initiation of breast feeding within one hour of birth was done by 36% of mothers after the delivery and few adopted prelacteal feeding (19%) where as 86% had positive perception towards it. The factors that mostly influenced early initiation of breastfeeding were planned pregnancy (100%) and support from family members during pregnancy and delivery (100%). There was a statistically significant association between mother’s educational status and information regarding early initiation of breastfeeding and influencing factors like breastfeeding education during antenatal period and guidance from the health professional (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Early initiation of breastfeeding within one hour was found extremely low which is an alarming. The findings also suggest the need of breastfeeding promotion programs among the mothers who are less educated. Such breastfeeding promotion programmes could be implemented through network of community-based workers.



Breastfeeding, Breast milk, Early initiation of breastfeeding, Postnatal mother, Colostrum

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