The study examined the attitudes of lactating mothers towards exclusive breastfeeding in Akure North Local Government area of Ondo State. It also investigated the level of awareness of mothers on exclusive breastfeeding. The attitudes of lactating mothers towards the exclusive breastfeeding were as well considered with respect to mother’s age and ethnicity background.

          The study employed the descriptive research design which targeted all the lactating mothers in Akure North Local Government area of Ondo State during the time of the study. The sample for the study consisted of 125 lactating mothers who were selected from five Health Facility Centres in the local government. The five Health Centre Facilities were sampled randomly across the towns in the local government area, out of which 25 lactating mothers were selected through purposive sampling technique from each of the sampled Health Facility Centres. Purposive sampling was employed to cater for different ages, qualifications and nature of job of the sampled lactating mothers.

The instrument for the study was a self-designed questionnaire titled “Inventory of Attitude of lactating mothers towards Exclusive Breastfeeding”. There were two sections for the questionnaire. Section A contained the bio-data of the respondent while section B contained 16 items that were related to the contents of the study. The research instrument was ascertained for face and content validity by the project supervisor and two experts in Test and Measurement from Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti. Test re-test method was employed to ensure the reliability of the instrument and the responses were analyzed through Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation statistics which yielded a coefficient of 0.78 at 0.05 level of significance. The instrument was administered personally by the researcher and were collected back immediately after responding to its items. The data obtained were subjected to descriptive analysis of frequency counts and percentages.

The result of the findings of this study revealed that the lactating mothers like to give their children exclusive breastfeeding, they have time to give their children exclusive breastfeeding and consider exclusive breastfeeding as a big task for lactating mothers. However, they viewed exclusive breastfeeding as a time wasting exercise. Also, the lactating mothers have the knowledge of how to breast feed their new born baby and the age of lactating mothers do not affect their attitudes towards exclusive 



Background to the Study

          Breastfeeding is the feeding of babies and young children with milk from a woman’s breast. Breastfeeding is one of oldest practices known to mankind. For almost all infants, breastfeeding remains the simplest, healthiest and least expensive feeding method that fulfils the infant’s needs. It is considered as the most complete nutritional source for infants because breast milk contains the essential fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and immunological factors needed for infants to thrive and resist infection in the formative first year of life. Breast milk is the natural first food for babies; it provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first month of life, and it continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the year and up to one-third during the second year of life (WHO, 2004). Breastfeeding promotes sensory and cognitive development and protects the infants against infection and chronic diseases. Health professionals recommend that breastfeedings begins within the first hour of a baby’s life and continues as often and as much as the first hour of a baby’s life and continues as often and as much as the baby wants(WHO, 2015).

          Breast milk is the ideal food for any baby for the best growth and development mentally, emotionally and physically. It is not only important for the body but has many benefits for the mother, namely: helping her lose the postpartum pounds easily after birth and it also helps prevent postpartum depression. Breast milk contains antibodies that strengthen baby’s immune system. The nutrients in breast milk are more easily absorbed into the body system than the milk in the formula and as well easily digest than formula.

          Colostrum’s, also known as the first milk, produced during the prenatal and lasting for two to four days after the initial phase of the lactation period is a source of all vitamins including vitamin K. all the nutrients in colostrum protect the neonates gut against gastro intestinal tract infection. Breastfeeding in the first hour of birth facilitates the expulsion of placenta, reduces postpartum hemorrhage and also expedites the recovery from the trauma of child birth and labour. Additionally, breastfeeding helps the mother uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy size. Breastfeeding has a number of benefits to both mother and baby, which infant formula lacks. Death of an estimated 820,000 children under the age of five could be prevented globally every year with increased breastfeeding (Victoria, et al, 2016). This calls for advocating for the exclusive breastfeeding.

          Exclusive breastfeeding is defined as “an infant’s consumption of human milk with no supplementation of any type (no water, no juice, no nonhuman milk and no foods). The risk of death due to diarrhea and other infections increases when babies are either partially breastfed at all. Breastfeeding contributes to the health and well-being of mothers, it helps to space children, reduces the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer, increases family and national resources. It is a secured way of feeding and is safe for the environment (WHO, 2004).

          While breastfeeding is a natural act, it is also a learned behavior. An extensive study has demonstrated that mothers and other caregivers require active support for establishing and sustaining appropriate breastfeeding practices. On this premise, WHO and UNICEF launched the Baby – friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in 1991. Following this declaration, the Baby – Friendly initiative was launched in Nigeria in 1991 by Late Professor Ransom Kuti in conjunction with the Chief Medical Director of Teaching hospitals who were expected to lead the way. Various levels of government implemented strategies to promote the baby-friendly initiative in Nigeria.

          Despite the fact that Breastfeeding initiative is on the increase at health facilities after delivery, it appears as if the sustained practice of exclusive breastfeeding has remained low when the lactating mothers return home. Support and awareness on breastfeeding practice would help to increase the attitude of lactating mothers towards exclusive feeding in both urban and rural communities. Even government should assist the lactating mothers by building them a house near their offices so that it will be of benefit to them by keeping their babies there for easy access to their work and babies. Perhaps, this will help the lactating mothers to have right attitude towards exclusive breastfeeding. Some ladies due to their education has decided not to breast feed their babies saying that their breast will be floppy.

          In spite of the enormous benefits of breastfeeding, the prevalence has remained low all over the world. Poor breastfeeding practices have been widely documented in the developing the countries. Only about 39% of infants in the developing countries (25% in Africa) are exclusively breastfed for the first six months. Additionally, 6% for infants and children aged 6-11 months and 12-23 months respectively (Lauer, et al, 2004). Poor breastfeeding practices, together with high rate of morbidity from infectious diseases are the prime proximate causes of malnutrition in the first two years of life (Oddy, et al, 2003). The proportion of children less than six months who received complementary foods increased from 18% to 35%.

          Various factors associated with sub-optimal breastfeeding practices have been identified in various settings. These includes material characteristics such as age,marital status,occupation and education level; antenatal and maternity health care. Others are health education and media exposure, socio-economic status and area of residence; and the child’s characteristics including birth weight, method of delivery, birth order and the use of pacifiers (KNBS, 2009, Patel, et al, 2006). Navaro, et al (1999) identified the material, work and health services factor related with short duration of breastfeeding among a cross-section of working mothers. The absence of breastfeeding facilities was the only work-related factor associated with short duration of breastfeeding. It was thus concluded that breastfeeding knowledge, previous experiences and availability of workfacility affected the maternal decision on breastfeeding duration (Lakati, Binus& Stevenson, 2002)

 Statement of the Problem

            The concept of exclusive breastfeeding was introduced by World Health Organization through the initiative of baby friendly in 1991 for the first six months of infant life. It was aimed at reducing infant mortality morbidity rates. However, the prevailing economic recession being embattled by individuals seems to prevent lactating mothers from adequate feeding. In such a situation, there may be deficient of essential food nutrients capable of generating enriched breast milk. Invariably, an underfed lactating mother may not be favourably disposed to feed the baby exclusive of other supplements.

Purpose of the Study

           The purpose of the study is to examine the attitudes of lactating mothers towards exclusive breastfeeding in Akure North Local Government area of Ondo State. It also investigated the level of awareness of mothers about exclusive breastfeeding. The attitudes of lactating mothers towards the exclusive breastfeeding with respect to mother’s age and ethnicity background were as well considered.

 Research Questions

 The following questions were raised to guide the study

1.     What is the attitude of lactating mothers towards exclusive breastfeeding?

2.     Do lactating mothers have the knowledge of how to breast feed their new born baby?

3.     Will the age of lactating mothers affect their attitudes towards exclusive breastfeeding?

4.     Is there any difference between literate and illiterate lactating mothers in their attitude towards exclusive breastfeeding?

5.     Will the nature of job of lactating mothers affect their attitudes towards exclusive breastfeeding?

6.     To what extent do the lactating mothers practice exclusive breastfeeding?

 Significance of the study

This study would be beneficiary to lactating mothers, health educators, policy makers and other stakeholders in detecting possible areas for intervention in order to improve the breastfeeding practices among mothers and reduce child morbidity and mortality. The lactating mothers would be aware of the importance of exclusive breastfeeding both to their babies and themselves. Exclusive breastfeeding would avail the babies of enriched feeding leading to well-developed brains and thereby become intelligent, the society would be free of high mortality rate. The study would unveil the attitudes of lactating mothers to exclusive breastfeeding thereby be a pointer to the government whether its campaign for exclusive breastfeeding has been effective or not. It is hoped that the findings of the study will provide a current perceptual  database that will inform the government and more importantly the policy makers on the feedings and views of the mothers about exclusive breastfeeding so that appropriate alternatives to motivate the indulgence of exclusive breastfeeding and its support, would be developed by breastfeeding mothers.



Delimitation of the Study

         The study was delimited to the attitudes of lactating mothers to exclusive breastfeeding. It covered only breastfeeding mothers in Akure North Local Government area of Ondo State. The attitudes towards exclusive breastfeeding with respect to the lactating mothers’ age, residence, educational status and nature of job were studied.

Definition of Terms

Lactating Mothers: A breastfeeding mother

Exclusive: Giving food substance to the baby without mixing with other supplement

Breastfeeding: Feeding the baby with breast milk during infant

Exclusive Breastfeeding: Feeding the baby with only breast milk without any additional food or drink, not even water for the first six months of life.

Mortality: This is the death rate of people in a given community in a given period.

Neonate: New born Baby

Postpartum: A period after giving birth.




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