Factors associated with exclusive breastfeeding among mothers seen at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital

U O Uchendu, A N Ikefuna, I J Emodi


Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) of babies for six months as recommended by the
Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) remains a well recognized childhood survival strategy with great impact in reducing infant and under-five mortality rates.
Evaluate the impact of certain socio-demographic and cultural factors on ability of mothers to practice EBF for 6 months.
Subjects and Methods:
Two hundred mothers were interviewed on knowledge of EBF and their practice with respect to breastfeeding. Constraints to, and motivations for EBF were determined.
Of 184 respondents, more than 90% had adequate knowledge of EBF. Thirty-nine (21.2%) practiced EBF for all their children while 95 mothers (51.6%) never practiced for any child. Among those who completed EBF, high maternal educational level, small family size (</= 4 children), absence of opposing family beliefs were important factors. Majority of these were from the upper and middle socio-economic classes (43.6%; 53.8% respectively). Among the 95 women who never attempted EBF, large family size, personal decision, and family opposition especially from grandmothers (41.1%) played significant roles.
The exclusive breastfeeding rate in our environment is very low despite a high level of knowledge among mothers. Efforts must be intensified to reiterate the benefits of EBF and address the identified hindrances through health education of the larger community in order to enlist family support for breastfeeding mothers. There is need for smaller family sizes.

Authors' affiliations

U O Uchendu,

A N Ikefuna,

I J Emodi,

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Determinants, Exclusive breastfeeding, Mothers

Cite this article

South African Journal of Child Health 2009;3(1):14.

Article History

Date submitted: 2009-03-09
Date published: 2009-05-27

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