Hindrance to Exclusive Breastfeeding Among Lactating Mothers

Hindrance to Exclusive Breastfeeding Among Lactating Mothers, A Case Study of Ezza South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

ABSTRACT

This study investigates the hindrance to exclusive breastfeeding, a case study of Ezza South LGA of Ebonyi state. The objectives of the study are to assess the social factors that influence exclusive breastfeeding practice among lactating mothers, assess the cultural factors that influence exclusive breastfeeding practice among lactating mothers, and to ascertain the extent to which ignorance hinders exclusive breastfeeding among lactating mothers in Ezza South. A stratified sampling and a systematic sampling techniques were adopted for the study. The study population comprises of 300 lactating mothers. 171 respondents were selected through systematic sampling technique. Questionnaire was the instrument use for data collection. The data were analyzed using frequency distribution tables and charts. The major findings wherel that a greater percentage (99.4%) of mothers do not practice EBF due to the fear that baby would not get satisfied with breast milk alone, majority (76.6%) do not practice EBF due to the belief that giving child water is a way of welcoming the child into the world and a greater percentage (53.2%) has not heard of EBF. Based on these findings, it was recommended that Nurses and members of public health concerned with child health should be more aggressive in implementing the existing policy on EBF.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of Study

A healthy nutrition is essential for normal growth and development during childhood and is central to establishing the foundation for healthy living (Sadhoh, Sadhoh & Oniyelu, 2011). It is generally agreed that breast milk is the ideal food for human infant and breastfeeding is a normal phenomena to all cultures. At the Innocenti Declaration in 1990, the WHO/UNICEF called for policies that would cultivate a breastfeeding culture to encourage women to breastfeed their children exclusively for the first six months of life and then up to two years of age and beyond (Egbuonu & Ojukwu, 2007).

Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant receives only breast milk, no other liquid or solid are given, not even water, with the exception of oral rehydration solution, drops/syrups of vitamin, mineral or medication (WHO 2014). World Health Organization (2011) recommends that mothers worldwide should exclusively breastfeed their children for the first six months to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Therefore they should be given nutritious complementary food and continue breastfeeding up the age of two years or beyond.

Exclusive breastfeeding is highly recommended because it lowers the risk of gastrointestinal infection for baby, it delays the return of menstrual period (a natural method of family planning). It provides infant with superior nutritional content that is capable of improving the baby’s immunity and possible reduction in future health care spending (Dermer 2006; WHO 2010). No adverse effect on growth has been documented with exclusive breastfeeding.

Despite the numerous benefit of exclusive breastfeeding, statistics shows that the incidence of exclusive breastfeeding is declining in all parts of the world. The factors affecting exclusive breastfeeding include personal, socio-cultural and environmental factors. Firstly, according Biancuzzo (2009), concern about body exposure and body comfort level is the hindrance to exclusive breastfeeding among some mothers. Some women are uncomfortable breastfeeding in front of other people. They may fear perceive indecency or they simply might feel embarrassed. Secondly cultural value and attitudes contributes to a woman’s choice of feeding type. A woman’s culture influences the initiation, frequency and duration of breastfeeding (Lawrence & Lawrence, 2010). Cultural believe e.g. proverb passed down from generation to generation advice mothers to give babies water. Some culture regards the act of offering water to a new born as a way of welcoming the child into the world, while others sees breastfeeding as old fashion, a little disgusting and practice by those who could not afford infant formula (Nathoo, Tasnim & Aleck 2010). Thirdly many women identify employment as a hindrance to exclusive breastfeeding. Exclusive breastfeeding following return of work can be successful, but It does require flexibility and additional effort on the part of the mother and significant others (Rojjanasirirat, 2007). In a study in infant feeding practice among nursing personnel in Australia, returning to work was one of the main reason women cease breastfeeding, when they return to work only 40% breast feed their babies exclusively (Daniel & Anneke, 2011). Maternal factors such as nipple injury, breast engorgement, nipple vasoconstriction, breast infection and inadequate milk production affects the duration and frequency of breastfeeding. Lastly Orshan (2008), says that women who choose not to breastfeeding their baby exclusively do so for various reasons such as breastfeeding contraindication, desire to maintain a sense of freedom, illness in newborn, time constrain, desire to avoid physical changes e.g. weight gain from extra calories, strong sense of modesty and fear of milk leaking at inappropriate time.

Statement of Problem

The hindrance to exclusive breastfeeding remains a thing concern to medical profession and has led to many questions. The researcher as a nursing student of Ebonyi State University observed during her clinical experience at Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki that mothers find it difficult to heed to instructions on exclusive breastfeeding despite explanations on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding. Many mothers were bringing their babies to the hospital for diarrrhoea and vomiting within the first six months. She wondered if these mothers were well informed of exclusive breastfeeding and what might be their difficulties in practicing it.

 Purpose of Study

The purpose of this study is to ascertain the hindrance to exclusive breastfeeding among lactating mothers in Ezza South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

Objective of Study

This study specifically seek to

  • Assess the social factors that influence exclusive breastfeeding practice among lactating mothers in Ezza South.
  • Assess the cultural factors that influence exclusive breastfeeding practice among lactating mothers in Ezza South.
  • Ascertain the extent to which ignorance hinders exclusive breastfeeding practice among lactating mothers in Ezza South.

Research Question

  • What are the social factors that influence exclusive breastfeeding practice among lactating mothers in Ezza South?
  • What are the cultural factors that influence exclusive breastfeeding practice among lactating mothers in Ezza South?
  • To what extent does ignorance hinders exclusive breastfeeding practice among lactating mothers in Ezza South?

Significance of Study

  • This study will help nursing mothers to be aware of the many benefit of exclusive breastfeeding, so that when they accept and practice it, their babies will be more nourished and healthy.
  • The result of the study will expose the variables that hinder Ezza mothers from practicing exclusive breastfeeding. The health workers, especially nurses will intensify action by means of health education to counteract some of the negative factors. By doing so mothers will feel free to breastfeed their babies exclusively, so that both mothers and babies will enjoy the numerous benefit of exclusive breastfeeding.
  • The outcome of the research is hoped to contribute to the growing body of scientific knowledge on infant feeding practice and how to design and stimulate health interventions in rural communities. Moreover this research will in no doubt serve as basis for future researches in nursing and other health related fields.

Scope of Study

This study is delimitated to ascertaining the hindrance to exclusive breastfeeding among lactating mothers (15 – 45 years) in Ezza South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

Operational Definitions of Terms

  • Hindrance to exclusive breastfeeding:- these are factors that obstruct the practice of breastfeeding a baby for the first six months with breast milk alone. In this research it includes social factors e.g. lack of family support, cultural factors e.g. the belief of giving child water as a way of welcoming the child into the world and ignorance.
  • Practice of exclusive breastfeeding:- this the ability to perform exclusive breastfeeding regularly for the first six months of birth.
  • Variables that influence exclusive breastfeeding:- these are factors that affects the practice of exclusive breastfeeding. For the purpose of this study they include social factors, cultural factors and ignorance.
  • Social factors:- these are facts and experiences that influence individuals’ personality, attitudes and life style. In this study, it includes advertisement, income and nipple injury.
  • Cultural factors:- these are established belief, values, traditions, laws and languages of a nation or society. For the purpose of this study it includes the belief that giving child water at birth is a way of welcoming the child into the world.

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