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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 1-6

Practice of exclusive breastfeeding among women in a semi-urban community in Lagos

Department of Community Health & Primary Care, College of Medicine, University of Lagos/Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
F A Olatona
Department of Community Health, College of Medicine, University of Lagos
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Introduction: Child mal-nutrition remains a public health problem in developing countries even though breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition for infants. The objectives of this study were to determine the breastfeeding practices, determine the prevalence and the median duration of exclusive breast feeding among mothers in Ikosi district of Ikosi Isheri Local Council Development Area, Lagos. Materials and Methods: This was a descriptive cross sectional study which employed a multistage sampling method to select 400 mothers whose last confinement was not more than five years to prevent recall bias. Data was collected using structured interviewer-administered questionnaires and analyzed using Epi-Info version 6 computer software. Results: Majority (93.8%) of the mothers interviewed were between the ages of 20-39 years. Almost all of them (97%) were married and majority were Yoruba. All the respondents initiated breastfeeding, but only 27.5% of the respondents initiated it within the first one hour. The median duration of breastfeeding was 15.5 months, the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding was 35.3%, while the median duration of exclusive breastfeeding was 3 months. Almost half (49.6%) of the respondents who did not practice exclusive breastfeeding failed to do so because they added water to the breast milk from birth. Marital status, mother's attitude to exclusive breastfeeding, husband's attitude to exclusive breastfeeding, and level of knowledge about exclusive breastfeeding all had statistically significant positive association with the practice of exclusive breastfeeding in this community (p <0.05). Conclusion and Recommendation: The prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding was low (35.3%) and the median duration of exclusive breastfeeding among those who attempted it was too short (3 months). Public enlightenment and proper health education on exclusive breastfeeding are still relevant, especially in the antenatal clinic so that mothers can have accurate knowledge about its benefits and learn practically how to practice it. Educated women should be targeted more than in the past and more awareness should be created among husbands.

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