n Institute of African Studies Research Review - Barriers to successful exclusive breast-feeding practices among rural and urban nursing mothers in Edo State of Nigeria : implications for education and counselling

Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0855-4412



The study aimed at investigating the barriers to the successful practice of exclusive breastfeeding among rural and urban nursing mothers in Edo State of Nigeria. The population of this study constitutes all nursing mothers in the rural and urban areas of the state. The study adopted structured and in-depth interview. Four hundred and ninety six (496) urban and rural nursing mothers constitute the sample of the structured interview, while 40 nursing mothers: 20 urban and 20 rural nursing mothers were involved in the indepth interview. The results revealed that 98% of both urban and rural nursing mothers started breast-feeding almost immediately after delivery. However, variations occurred in the duration of exclusive breast-feeding. Only about 42.5%of urban nursing mothers and 51.8% of rural nursing mothers were still breast-feeding exclusively at 4 months. Fifty three per cent (53%) of urban mothers and 67% of rural mothers stopped breast-feeding at 1 year. The study also revealed that 16.7% of rural mothers introduced bottle-feeding as early as 3 weeks. The reasons given by the mothers for bottle-feeding supplementation being that baby was not satisfied with breast milk only, 59.45 of urban mothers and 67.4% of rural mother indicated this. After maternity leave, some mothers indicated that work affected breastfeeding adversely, 15.5% of urban mothers and 14% of rural mothers indicated this. The feeding pattern for most mothers after the leave was the combination of breast and bottlefeeding. About 61.7% of urban mothers and 70.4% of rural mothers agreed that they combined both. The study revealed especially through in-depth interviews, that the major barriers that jeopardize the practice of breastfeeding are age-long myths and beliefs held about breast-feeding, and the nature of the mother's work. Most mothers feel that breast milk alone cannot be enough for the baby so they introduced artificial milk, light, pap, soup and water along-side breast-feeding. There is need for a grass-root approach in educating and counselling of nursing mothers to reduce the barriers to the successful practice of exclusive breast-feeding, so that both the mother and the child can realize the immense benefits of exclusive breast-feeding.

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