Author(s): Swapna Budimelli 1 , Kalyan Chebrolu 2

INTRODUCTION Optimal Infant and Young Child-Feeding (IYCF) practices are crucial for nutritional status, growth, development, health, and ultimately the survival of infants and young children. It was estimated that, if 90% of infants are covered with a package of intervention to protect, promote, and support the optimal IYCF practices, almost one-fifth of overall under-five mortality can be averted. OBJECTIVES 1. To study the socio-demographic characteristics of the Infants and Young children living in the rural areas. 2. To study the core Infant and Young Child Feeding indicators. MATERIALS AND METHODS A cross-sectional observational study was conducted in Venigandla village, the rural field practice area of NRI Medical College, Guntur, for a period of 4 months from January to April 2015. A total of 100 children aged 6-23 months were studied using a pre-tested semi-structured schedule. Data were entered in Microsoft Excel and analysed using Epi Info software. RESULTS Of the 100 children studied, majority of families belong to lower middle class (40%) according to BG Prasad socio- economic classification. One in 10 children was given pre- lacteal feeds after birth. Two-thirds of mothers breastfed their children within first hour after birth. Three fourths of children received exclusively breastfed up to 6 months of age. Minimum Dietary Diversity was observed in 74%, Minimum Meal Frequency observed in 94% and Minimum Acceptable Diet was observed in 70% of the 6-23 months children. CONCLUSION The IYCF practices were observed to be better in the present study when compared to similar studies done elsewhere in the country. Area specific programmes need to be created for providing comprehensive nutrition and health education for mothers, to protect, promote and sustain the optimal IYCF practices.