A survey of 1,838 mothers, 1,194 husbands and 1,353 mothers/mothers-in-law in Uttar Pradesh, India, has found low levels of breastfeeding and low levels of knowledge and support by husbands and mothers-in-law. Only a quarter of infants are fed within the first hour of birth, half of infants are exclusively breastfed in the first 6 months and a third of infants receive a prelacteal feed. A key predictor of higher breastfeeding is the knowledge and confidence of mothers.
The survey also found high levels of domestic violence reported by the mothers, which was associated with lower exclusive breastfeeding rates. (36% reported some form of violence in the past 12 months.)
The research report does not report on detail on family influences on breastfeeding, and does not find strong results. The researchers suggest methodological problems and further research. They do recommend, however, engagement of family members around breastfeeding.
Young MF, Nguyen P, Kachwaha S, Mai LT, Ghosh S, Agrawal R, Escobar-Alegria J, Menon P & Avula R (2019), It takes a village: An empirical analysis of how husbands, mothers-in-law, health workers, and mothers influence breastfeeding practices in Uttar Pradesh, India, Maternal & Child Nutrition
Header photo: DFID. Creative Commons.