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Nutrition & Dietetics

Knowledge, Attitude And Practice Of Exclusive Breastfeeding Among Nursing Mothers In Obio-Akpor Local Government Area, Rivers State




Background: Suboptimal infant feeding practice may result to irreversible growth and development

Objective: To assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of exclusive breastfeeding among Nursing Mothers attending Primary Health Care Centres in Obio-Akpor L.G.A of Rivers State.

Methods: The study was descriptive and cross-sectional in design. A total of 350 respondents were selected using a two staged sampling technique.An interviewer administered questionnaire was used to obtain inform on their socio-demographic characteristics, EBF knowledge, attitude and practice. Descriptive and inferential statistics were computed for the variables. All analysis done using SPSS Version 25.

Results: Results revealed that mothers were aged 18-30 (56.0%).  Majority of the respondents were married (88.6%), Christains (91.7%), Igb0 (50.0%), tertiary education qualification holders (55.1%). Predominance of business (44.6%) and all forms of trading (23.7%) as well income earnings below ₦50,000 (34.9%) and between ₦50,000-100,000 was observed in this study. More than half (51.7%) and 46.0% of them had good and average nutrition knowledge respectively. Positive attitude (78.0%) was reported amongst the respondents. Exclusive breastfeeding was practiced by 70.9% of the respondents. EBF knowledge (r =0.29; p =0.04) and attitude (0.60; 0.000) were significantly corrected with practice of exclusive breastfeeding.

Conclusion: Promotion of exclusive breastfeeding practices by health professionals during all contacts with caregivers and young children,



1.1       Background of the Study

Breastfeeding is the cornerstone for infant survival, nutrition and development (WHO, 2015). Early initiation of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding helps in child survival. It accounts for healthy brain development, promotes cognitive and sensory performance, noted for enhancing intelligence and academic performance in children (Isaacet al., 2010). Feeding an infant with only breast milk is advocated by stakeholders in health. It is one of the most important practices in an infant’s life and the best way a mother can invest into the wellbeing of her child. Among numerous benefits of breastfeeding, UNICEF in a breastfeeding campaign in 2013 termed the essence of breastfeeding as a “first immunization and an inexpensive life saver. Breastfeeding promotes the health of mothers. At current breastfeeding rates, WHO in 2016 had reported that “close to 20,000 breast cancer deaths can be prevented and an additional 20,000 will be saved if breastfeeding conditions are improved”. NHMRC 2012 maintained that breastfeeding reduces the risk of post-partum hemorrhage, protect mothers against the risk of ovarian and breast cancer and also increases the bond between the mother and child.

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Exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life stimulates baby’s immune system and protects them from diarrhea and acute respiratory infection (WHO, 2016). Exclusive breastfeeding is now considered a global health goal that is linked to the reduction of infant morbidity and mortality especially in the developing world (UNICEF, 2015). In low income and developing countries, due to poor sanitation conditions, high disease burden and limitedness in the availability of clean drinking water, exclusive breastfeeding practice is vital to commence in the initial stages of life (first six months of a child’s life) because the practice of exclusive breastfeeding is more safe, hygienic and the most economical way of providing food for the newborn (UNICEF, 2013). It has been reported in several articles that proper breastfeeding practice can save about 800,000 infant lives in the developing world alone (UNICEF, 2015; WHO, 2016). Exclusive breastfeeding will be much easier and attractive to mothers if the right health education, support and motivation are given (Mogreet al., 2016).

An idea about the level of knowledge, attitude and practice of exclusive breastfeeding practices helps in reducing child mortality, promotes growth and immunity (NHMRC, 2012; WHO and UNICEF, 2O17). It creates a good mental, emotional and physical bond between mother and her newborn (Khreshed, 2011). Breast milk consists of basic nutrients containing proteins, vitamins and carbohydrates. However, presence of minerals fulfills micronutrient needs and maternal antibodies improve the immune system inhibiting infantile infection like gastrointestinal, respiratory and skin infections. It also increases the physical and neurological growth of the baby. There is increased production of hormone that is responsible for uterine contraction, preventing hemorrhage and maternal mortality (Fish,A. 2010). Despite the supports from global health departments, the exclusivity of infant feeding among primi-gravid mothers are short lived. Although breastfeeding initiation rates are escalating, the concern of reducing on the first 4 to 8 weeks postnatal is advanced (Moule, 2013).

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Adequate knowledge on exclusive breastfeeding is a central implement that navigates the course of breastfeeding stability and distinctiveness amongst mothers (Kavanagh, F.K. and Lou, Z. 2012). Insufficient and defective information with absence of support throughout this practice leads to immature cessation of breastfeeding. Primigravidas are vulnerable group with approximately more than half of the percentage of early breastfeeding dropouts. Lack of confidence to exercise existing knowledge leads to shyness, insecurity and frustration resulting to optional infant feeding methods (Fiske.S,2010). Almost all mothers pass through both short and long term physical challenges during breastfeeding. Majority are astounded by the intensity and extent of discomfort and pain which might be excruciating, enough to compromise baby – mother relationship (Kuoppala, 2011). Therefore, the responsibility falls on health professionals to promote and recognize the value and importance of exclusive breastfeeding to this vulnerable group. They need to provide practical support, advice and follow up to the mothers.Hence,this study aims to explore the knowledge and attitude of exclusive breastfeeding among nursing mothers attending Primary Health CareCentres in Obio/Akpor L.G.A, Rivers State and their willingness to practice it.

1.2       Statement of Problem

In Nigerian, while breastfeeding initiation is on the increase, the duration and practice of exclusive breastfeeding among women who had their delivery in a health facility and outside such facilities has remained low. It has been documented over the years that the practice of exclusive breastfeeding has not been adopted universally. Most mothers embrace the idea but fail to breastfeed exclusively after giving birth to their baby (AAP, 2012). A lot of factors ranging from cultural, social and economic conditions have been identified as possible hindrances to an effective practice of exclusive breastfeeding. In Africa, more than 95% of infants are currently breastfed but feeding practices are often inadequate; feeding water and other liquids to breastfed infants is a widespread practice. Research conducted at Ibadan, Nigeria revealed that the prevalence of mother’s knowledge towards exclusive breastfeeding accounts for about 36.2% which is low. Due to this fact, this research is initiated and conducted with the objective of assessing the knowledge, attitude and practice of exclusive breastfeeding amongnursing mothers attending Primary Health CareCentres in Obio/Akpor local government area of Rivers State.

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1.3       Objectives of the Study

1.3.1 General Objective

The general objective of the study is to assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of exclusive breastfeeding among Nursing Mothers attending Primary Health CareCentres in Obio/Akpor L.G.A of Rivers State.

  • Specific Objectives

The specific objectives of this study includes to:

  1. Assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of exclusive breastfeeding among nursing mothers attending Primary Health CareCentres in Obio/Akpor L.G.A of Rivers State.
  2. Identify the factors affecting the practice of exclusive breastfeeding among the nursing mothers.
  • Assess their nutritional status using anthropometric indices.
    • Significance of Study

Data obtained from this research will be beneficial in the following ways;

  1. It will help describe the practice of exclusive breastfeeding better and support effective strategies for improving public awareness regarding the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.
  2. The findings will serve as a guide to nutritionists, dietitians and other health workers in conducting nutrition education and health talks.
  3. It will enlighten mothers who are ignorant of the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.
  4. It will be beneficial to health organizations in organizing health seminars and workshops on exclusive breastfeeding.
  5. It will offer specific measures to the government on how to sustain the practice of exclusive breastfeeding so as to promote child health and reduce child mortality and morbidity rates thus achieving the Millennium Development Goal number four (to reduce infant mortality).

It will serve as a benchmark for further studies on the knowledge, attitude and practice of exclusive breastfeeding.

Pages:  57

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF                 

Chapters: 1-5                                                             

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.


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