A hospital based descriptive study was done in the OPD of Peadiatrics, Federal Government Services Hospital Islamabad to find out the impact of mother’s education on weaning practices.
Five hundred infants were included in the study after carefully sorting them for inclusion criteria. There were 230 (46%) infants with normal nutritional status and 270 (54%) infants were suffering from various degree of malnutrition. A total number of 320 mothers (64%) were educated and 180 (36%) were uneducated. In the group of normal nutritional status there were 220 (44%) educated mothers and 10 (2%) uneducated mothers, while in the malnutrition group there were 100 (20%) educated mothers and 170 (34%) uneducated mothers. Number of educated mothers having grade 1,2 and 3 malnourished child were 54(10.8%), 30 (6%) and 16(3.2%) respectively while the number of uneducated mothers in these groups was 40 (8%), 45 (9%) and 85 (17%). A total number of 342 (68.4%) mothers breast-fed their child, out of which 306 (61.2%) were educated and 36 (7.2%) were uneducated.
394 (78.8%) mothers had started weaning their child and 106 (21.2%) infants had not been started weaning. Among the early weaning group, 6 mothers (1.2%) started weaning and all of them were educated. 181 (36.2%) mothers started weaning at appropriate age, out of which 174(34.8%) mothers were educated and 7 (1.4%) mothers were uneducated. 97 (19.4%) mothers started late weaning, out of which 71(14.2%) mothers were educated and 26 (5.2%) were uneducated. Among the mothers who started very late weaning i.e. 110(22%), there were 52 (10.4%) educated mothers and 58(11.6%) uneducated mothers.
Analysis of our data regarding weaning frequency showed that among occasionally weaned infants, 3 (0.76%) mothers were educated and 27 (6.85%) were uneducated. In the 2nd group of children who were given weaning food weekly, 30 (7.61%) mothers were educated and 32(8.12%) were uneducated. 126 (31.97%) educated mothers and 22 (5.58) uneducated mothers gave weaning foods three to four times to their infants, 144 (36.54%) were educated and 10 (2.53%) were uneducated. 359 (71.8%) mothers observed good weaning practices and 141 (28.2%) had bad hygienic practices.
It was observed that majority of mothers i.e. 296 (59.2%) mothers, having good hygienic practices were educated and 63 (12.6%) mothers were uneducated. Among the mothers observing bad hygienic practices 117 (23.4%) mothers were not educated and only 24 (4.8%) mothers were educated.
The main conclusion of the study is that majority of mothers introducing complementary foods to their infant’s diet at recommended age of six month are mainly from educated class. Similarly positive relationships are observed between educational status of mothers with nutritional status of the infants and breast-feeding practices.