Health  Vol.5 No.12 , December 2013
Influencing factors on time of breastfeeding initiation among a national representative sample of women in India

Breastfeeding is seen as vital for mother and child and therefore is of great public health concern. Early initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of delivery is important as it reduces neonatal mortality. Increasing our understanding of barriers and reasons for not commencing early breastfeeding is important to improve strategies and conditions to overcome such barriers. Hence, the present study aimed to investigate factors influencing time of breastfeeding among women in India, focusing on health care utilisation related issues and partner behaviour. Data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Government of India’s National Family Health Survey (NFHS) from 2005-2006 (NFHS-3) have been used in this study. Breastfeeding for the latest child was considered in the study. A total of 35,795 female respondents are included in this study. Chi square test and adjusted logistic regression analysis were used. Among all 35,795 women in the study, a total of 31.1% initiated breastfeeding within one hour and 68.6% initiated breastfeeding within the first week. Educational level, economic status and women’s caste or tribe, place of delivery, prenatal visits to health care facilities and assistance during delivery as well as partner’s controlling and violent behavior are important factors influencing time of initiation of breastfeeding. It is evident that policy makers need to ensure that all health professionals support and promote early breastfeeding initiation. It is also important to promote deliveries in hospitals and other healthcare facilities as they may increase early initiation. Furthermore, it is fundamental that efforts are intensified for girls and women to obtain education to increase women’s empowerment and improved gender equality.


Cite this paper: Sandor, M. and Dalal, K. (2013) Influencing factors on time of breastfeeding initiation among a national representative sample of women in India. Health, 5, 2169-2180. doi: 10.4236/health.2013.512296.

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