News article

Maternal care influences IYCF practices and child nutrition

Posted:  Monday, June 06, 2016

Maternal role in IYCF practices improves child nutrition

Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices directly influence a child’s nutritional status and survival. The application of IYCF practices in children aged 0-23 months is important for improving the health and development of children. However, providing optimal nutrition to children under five years of age can be a challenge for mothers and healthcare providers. Several guidelines have been introduced in order to achieve this goal.

One such guideline is for IYCF practices targeting mothers who receive antenatal care (ANC) and postnatal care (PNC). A study published in the journal Maternal and Child Health Journal examined the association between ANC or PNC attendance and IYCF practice and child nutrition status. A cross-sectional study of 400 mother–child pairs was conducted from in rural Nepal. Details on the mothers’ knowledge of IYCF, their history of ANC and PNC attendance, along with data on height and weight of their children, were obtained.

The infant and child feeding index (ICFI) was used to measure IYCF by scoring maternal dietary diversity, meal frequency, continued breastfeeding, and dietary variety. Poorer IYCF practices were reflected in lower scores of ICFI. The data were analysed using multiple regression and logistic regression to examine the association between ANC and PNC attendance, and ICFI scores and undernutrition status, respectively.

The study indicated a significant negative association between ICFI scores and the absence of ANC and PNC. The absence of ANC demonstrated a significantly positive association between underweight and stunting among children aged 6-11 months and 12–23 months. Concordantly, the absence of PNC was positively associated with underweight and stunting.

In conclusion, the absence of maternal ANC and PNC was associated with poor IYCF, underweight, and stunting in children. The study upholds the importance of ANC and PNC for mothers in adopting better IYCF practices to reduce the incidence of underweight and stunting in children.

News Source: Undernutrition Among Infants and Children in Nepal: Maternal Health Services and Their Roles to Prevent it. Pokhrel K, et al. Maternal and child health journal.2016 May 28:1-3.