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Mother├ó┬?┬?s knowledge and practice of breastfeeding and complementary feeding in Enugu State, Nigeria

Abstract

Sanusi R.A, Leshi O.O, Agada U.N

This study assessed the breastfeeding knowledge and complementary feeding knowledge as well as their practices among mothers in Enugu state, Nigeria. A multi-stage sampling technique was used to select 419 mothers with children between 6-24months from 9 randomly selected communities. A semistructured interviewer administered questionnaire which included socio-demographic characteristics, 8-point knowledge scale and 5-point practice scale of both breastfeeding and complementary feeding. The data collected was analyzed using SPSS version 20.0 and presented using descriptive and inferential statistics. The mean age of the respondents was 28.4±6 years and 67% had secondary school education. The knowledge of the respondents indicated that 66.6% were aware of breastfeeding initiation within one hour of birth, 44.5% reported the introduction of water and herbal drinks while 62.8% agreed that breastfeeding should be continued until the child is 24months. Seven out of every 10 agreed with the commencement of complementary feeding at 6 month and also agreed that local foods should be used as the main complementary foods for the infants. Nearly all the responded were in agreement with the inclusion of foods such as staples, legumes as well as eggs and other animal protein as the main complementary diet to the infants from 6 months up until 24months. The feeding practice revealed that only 14.5% of the mothers introduced breastmilk within 1 hour of birth and 75% had introduced prelacteal feeds. Exclusive breastfeeding was practiced by 24.3% and a quarter of the respondents reported to have been discouraged on the practice of EBF. In all, 68.7% of the respondents had good knowledge towards infant feeding while the eventual practice of the mothers revealed that only 22.4% had adequate practice of infant feeding. No significant association was found between knowledge of mothers and infant feeding practice. This study found suboptimal breastfeeding and complementary feeding despite their high level of adequate knowledge. There is the need to further explore the factors responsible for suboptimum feeding practice of mothers.

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