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The Practice of Exclusive Breastfeeding and Its Sociodemographic Determinants amongst Nursing Mothers at a Tertiary Health Care Institution in South East, Nigeria

DOI: 10.4236/ojpm.2017.74006, PP. 63-73

Keywords: Exclusive Breastfeeding, Sociodemographic Determinants, Nigeria

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Background: Breastfeeding is a natural and critical act that provides nutrients and energy for the infant and young child; and through a public health intervention such as exclusive breastfeeding, it improves the survival rates of the infant. Objective: To determine the breastfeeding practices and the sociodemographic determinants of exclusive breastfeeding amongst nursing mothers present at the Imo state university teaching hospital Orlu. Methods: A cross sectional analytical study design was used that included all nursing mothers present within a 4 week study period. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire. Descriptive analyses were done with frequencies and summary statistics. Chi square statistics were computed to determine significant associations and binary logistic regression was used to determine sociodemographic predictors of exclusive breastfeeding practice. P value was set at 0.05 significant level. Results: While most of the respondents were aware of exclusive breastfeeding (92.5%), only 24% of the respondents were practicing exclusive breastfeeding. Work and school activities, and the feeling that breast milk was insufficient for the needs of the baby were the reasons for not practicing exclusive breastfeeding for a majority of the respondents (56.6%). Furthermore, 61% of those that were practicing non-exclusive breast feeding gave a cereal or infant formula in addition to the breast milk for 3 to 6 months. It was further revealed that there were statistically significant relationships between breastfeeding practice and maternal age (p = 0.003), level of maternal education (p = 0.005) and maternal occupation (p = 0.006). Conclusion: Understanding and taking into cognizance the sociodemographic characteristics will enable the design, and adequate delivery of appropriate and effective strategies that improve exclusive breastfeeding practice.


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