• Influence of Maternal Characteristics on Exclusive Breasffeeding Practice Among Urban Mothers in Umuahia, Nigeria

    Mal J Nutr 19(3): 311 – 323, 2013

    Influence of Maternal Characteristics on Exclusive Breastfeeding Practice Among Urban Mothers in Umuahia, Nigeria
    Ukegbu PO* & Anyika-Elekeh JU
    Department ofHuman Nutrition and Dietetics, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Limudike PMB 7267 Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria


    Introduction: The rate of exclusive breastfeeding is still low among nursing mothers in developing countries. This descriptive cross-sectional study was designed to identify maternal factors affecting the practice of exclusive breastfeeding among a group of urban mothers in Unnuahia located in South´┐Żeast, Nigeria. Methods: The study was carried out at four health facilities in Umuahia which were selected randomly from 15 listed facilities. All eligible mothers were consecutively selected using simple random sampling (balloting) technique by trained interviewers for 4 weeks in each of the health facilities until the required sample size of 240 was attained. A structured questionnaire was used to obtain information on socio-demographic characteristics as well as knowledge, attitude and practice of exclusive breastfeeding. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and Chi square was used to determine maternal characteristics associated with the practice of exclusive breastfeeding. Results: The majority of the mothers were in the age range of 26 to 35 years. Their main source of information on breastfeeding was the antenatal clinics (87.9%). Knowledge of the mothers about exclusive breastfeeding was adequate (99.2%), while only one-third (31.7%) had a positive attitude to exclusive breastfeeding (EBF). More than half (64.6%) initiated breastfeeding within the first hour after delivery. Only 22.9% practised EBF for the first six months. Exclusive breastfeeding rate was associated with larger household size, while breastfeeding initiation was associated with maternal older age, higher education, been a civil servant and having a larger household size. Conclusion: There is need for intervention programmes which support and promote optimal breastfeeding practices, focusing more on younger and less educated mothers. 

    Keywords: Exclusive breastfeeding, health facilities, practice, urban

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