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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 502-508

Impact of breastfeeding on respiratory and gastrointestinal infections in infants of Muslim mothers of Kolkata, India

1 Department of Bio-Science, Seacom Skills University, Birbhum, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Malda Medical College and Hospital, Malda, India
3 Department of Sociology, Seacom Skills University, Birbhum, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mohammed Hossain
Department of Bio-Science, Seacom Skills University, Birbhum 731236, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mgmj.mgmj_195_22

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Background: Breast milk contains some proteins whose functions are not nutritive but anti-infective, which prevents infants from infections. Objective: The objective of the present study was to evaluate an association between the occurrence of diarrhea and respiratory tract infection (RTI) and breastfeeding among infants of Muslim mothers in Kolkata. Materials and Methods: An observational cross-sectional community-based study was conducted among mother–infant pairs of a total of 540 numbers in Muslim-dominated urban slums of Kolkata. The study period was from November 1, 2017, to October 31, 2018. Results: The findings indicated that 82.22% of breastfed infants had no diarrhea, and the absence of RTI was observed in 69.81%. It was also noted that both episodes of diarrhea and RTI in infants become less when the duration of breastfeeding increases. The study also significantly (P < 0.001 and P = 0.03) revealed that the occurrence of diarrhea and RTI was found to have lower incidence in colostrum-fed babies. Out of 391 colostrum-fed babies, about 85.42% had no diarrhea, and the absence of RTI was noticed in 72.12%. In conclusion, breast milk gives protection to babies against diarrheal diseases and RTI. It is the most appropriate food for infants. Conclusions: It is concluded that the prevention of RTI and diarrhea in infants, exclusive breastfeeding (EBF), early initiation of breastfeeding, and avoidance of bottle feeding should be the best practice to be recommended. To explore appropriate intervention strategies for reinforcing early initiation and continuation of EBF from birth to 6 months of life.

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