Factors associated with low rate of exclusive breastfeeding among mothers in Enugu, Nigeria

Adaobi I. Bisi-Onyemaechi, Ugo N. Chikani, Agozie C. Ubesie, Pascal U. Chime, Ngozi R. Mbanefo


Background: Exclusive breastfeeding has proven to be beneficial both maternal and child health hence its adopted as a policy for infant feeding in most countries especially developing nations. Its practice has remained low despite the high levels of awareness of exclusive breastfeeding. The study set out to find out the possible reasons that have limited the translation of knowledge of exclusive breastfeeding to action by nursing mothers in an urban city in Nigeria.

Methods: A self-administered structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 304 mothers attending immunization clinics of the Institute of maternal and child health in Enugu, Southeast Nigeria.

Results: Awareness of exclusive breastfeeding was 98% with an exclusive breastfeeding rate of 26%. The commonest non-human milk given to infant was water- given in the first week of life. Post-natal support from lactation experts and family, beliefs about the sufficiency of human milk and subsequent refusal of complementary foods were major challenges to successful exclusive breastfeeding. Maternal age and education did not determine exclusive breastfeeding.

Conclusions: Exclusive breastfeeding rates have remained low in Nigeria. Lack of family support and the belief that human milk is not sufficient food for the less-than-six-months-old infant were major challenges to exclusive breastfeeding.


Challenges, Exclusive breastfeeding, Nigeria

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