, Volume 73, Issue 4, pp 295-298

Grandmothers’ influence on child care

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Objective: This paper compares child care-giving and child's nutritional status among rural families where grandmothers were present and those where grandmothers were absent. Methods: From 27 villages in rural Vadodara, four were randomly selected and all the families (n=31) with children (3–24 months) where grandmothers were present (GMP) were compared with 39 families where grandmothers were absent (GMA). Semi structured questionnaires were used to assess beliefs-practices of mothers and grandmothers regarding breastfeeding and complementary feeding (BF-CF). Nutrient intake of the children and nutritional status were measured using standard procedures.Results: Some deleterious practices were present in a similar proportion of both GMP and GMA groups: giving prelacteals, delaying initiation of BF, exclusive breastfeeding <3 months and delaying initiation of CF. Favorable practices present in significantly more GMP were: active feeding and use of anganwadi services. Grandmother’s help enabled mother to practice more care-giving behaviors. However, children in both the groups had low calorie intake (<40% RDA) and a high prevalence of under nutrition: 56–64% (Weight-for-Age z score <−2).Conclusion: Role of family members in childcare and the benefits of including them in interventions to improve child survival, health and nutrition status need to be further researched.