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Matern Child Nutr. 2015 Oct;11(4):792-802. doi: 10.1111/mcn.12057. Epub 2013 Jun 25.

Intimate partner violence and infant feeding practices in India: a cross-sectional study.

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Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Department of Sociology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is widespread; yet research is thin and equivocal regarding its potential adverse effects on infant feeding practices. With a national sample of 3552 mothers and infants aged 180 days or younger from the 2005-2006 National Family Health Survey for India, we used logistic regression to estimate the unadjusted and adjusted associations of maternal reported lifetime exposure to any IPV and to physical or sexual IPV with feeding practices at birth and in the prior 24 h. Compared with their unexposed counterparts, mothers exposed to any IPV and to any physical or sexual IPV had higher adjusted odds of giving their infant liquids [aOR 1.32, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.04-1.66; aOR 1.37, 95% CI 1.08-1.75, respectively], and thus lower adjusted odds of exclusively breastfeeding their infant in the prior 24 h (aOR 0.78, 95% CI 0.62-0.98; aOR 0.74, 95% CI 0.58-0.95). Mothers exposed to physical or sexual IPV also had higher adjusted odds of feeding their infant solids in the prior 24 h (aOR 1.50, 95% CI 1.01-2.23). Exposure to IPV was not significantly associated with breastfeeding immediately after birth or with bottle feeding in the prior 24 h. Perinatal screening for IPV, and addressing IPV and feeding practices in exposed mothers, may improve maternal health and infant nutrition in similar settings.


India; breastfeeding; complementary feeding; infant feeding practices; intimate partner violence (IPV); maternal and child health

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