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More Muslim, Christian, And Sikh Mothers Stop Breastfeeding Early: Study


Jun 1, 2004
By Kashif-ul-Huda, TwoCircles.net
The Holy Quran is clear that the duration of breastfeeding of infants are for a period of two years. World Health Organization (WHO) and Government of India’s guidelines also suggest breastfeeding for a period of two years. Breast milk is an excellent source of nutrition and essential for the healthy growth of the child.
A latest study finds that a greater share of Muslim, Christian, and Sikh women breastfeed their young ones for less than two years. The study is done by Harvard School of Public Health of Boston, Massachusetts, USA and published in July 2008 issue of peer-reviewed journal Maternal & Child Nutrition.
The Harvard research team of Rahul Malhotra, Amit Noheria, Omar Amir, Leland K. Ackerson, and S.V. Subramanian analyzed the data from Indian National Family Health Survey-2 (NFHS-2) conducted in 1998–1999. The study looked at factors associated with termination of breastfeeding within the first two years of life of infants. NFHS-2 provides health related data from 92,486 households from 26 states of India.
A total of 33,026 children were in the dataset. 3.57% were never breastfed, though reasons were not given and complete information was missing for another 0.61%. Of the 31,645 children who were breastfed 6,974 or 22% of them had their breastfeeding terminated before they were 24 months of age.
Data analysis revealed that religion was an important factor in the likelihood of stopping breastfeeding. This likelihood was significantly higher for Muslims, Sikhs and Christian. In terms of adjusted ratio Muslim mothers are 10% more than Hindu mothers in stopping breastfeeding before their children have reached the age of 24 months, while this ratio is much higher for Christians (34$) and Sikhs (33%). Researchers made a note that there is nothing in these religion that will explain early termination of breastfeeding therefore it has to be cultural factors and norms.
Data also revealed that likelihood of stopping breastfeeding for SCs and STs were similar to general caste category but higher for the OBCs (13%).
Since breastfeeding beyond the first 6 months is linked to the decrease in childhood mortality, and the study revealed that female children have a higher likelihood of early termination of breastfeeding, the researchers wondered whether this is a “contributing factor” to the low female-male ratio in India.
Researchers also noted that “There was an increase in likelihood of stopping breastfeeding with an increase in maternal educational.” Observing that “increasing maternal education favours early termination of breastfeeding, but at the same time serves to reduce the gender differential in termination of
Researchers recommended focusing breastfeeding promotion programs on high-risk mothers- such as female infants and first-born babies as well as mothers with a higher wealth status, those aged less than 20 years and those who belong to Muslim, Sikh and Christian communities. Breastfeeding programmes should
lay more focus on urban areas and on maternity facilities in the private sector.”
Breastfeeding rate for India of all children till they reach the age of 24 years 63.14%. Bangladesh (89%) , Nepal (95% ) have better rate while Pakistan (55%) trails for the latest data available for these countries.


Dec 20, 2009
We have to see, why in this society women’s has chosen to stopped Breastfeeding.
No fear from any one
More Independent
Easy Life No time for Natural Motherhood
Brothers & Sisters, when ever we have new Mother in the house hold we should help them
Be more positive towards them. Show them Love show them how importance is Mother breast feeding
If we feed our babies formula’s than how we can find a love affection from our children’s when we never give them while they were infant
So Try to breast feed your babies unless you have health problems
Thank You


Apr 3, 2005
Uniqsha ji

The problems you have mentioned are of west.Majority of women of India are still housewives,not much independent.and have lots of time.Please take a look that it is written that muslim women which least independent also leave breast feeding early.So for Indian society we have to find what the problems are


Dec 20, 2009
Thank you for your reply.
Yes you are right Most of the women are in House hold and still why they have stopped.
As I mention Stress it doesn;t has to from work it could be from House hold could be anything
Second may be they have more in to there plate than we are thinking.
I would say new Mother should come out and speak tell us why you have stopped breastfeeding the babies.
Also, more hard work and less income in the household

Thank you

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