Hira Javed, Nawal Naseem, Saba Noor
Background: There is a decline in proper breast-feeding practices in Pakistan. Majority of the women do not give exclusive breast feed to their children and waste colostrum. The objective of this study was to assess practices of exclusive breast feeding among mothers of under 5-year children attending a tertiary care hospital outpatient. Methodology: A cross sectional study was carried out on 258 mothers, who presented to Gynecological and Obstetrical OPD or ward and had at least one child between the age of 1 to 5. Questions regarding their demographic profile and breast-feeding practices were asked. Results: 221/250(88.4%) women had breast fed their children and 29/250 (11.6%) had not. Among them 110/250 (44%) practiced exclusive breast feeding and the rest either used formula milk or cow’s milk along with breast milk. Only 41/250 (16%) women had given colostrum to their children, 153/250 (61%) had given Ghurti (a traditional pre-lacteal feed, mainly honey). Women who were uniparous, housewives, lived in joint families, belonged to middle class families and had vaginal mode of delivery had better breast-feeding practices than others. When grading and categorization of breast-feeding practices were done 41/250 (18.5%) had excellent practice, 69/250 (31%) had good and 111/250 (50%) had poor practice. Conclusion: The study emphasizes that there is a need to improve exclusive breast feeding and colostrum giving practices. Keywords: Breast feeding, exclusive feeding, colostrum.