Perceived Impacts Of Exclusive Breastfeeding Among Nursing Mothers Attending Infant Welfare Clinic At Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos State


Breastfeeding is generally considered by health practitioners as the ideal feeding practice for infants. It is the first communication pathway between the mother and her infant. Breast milk provides the essential nutrients for infants less than six months of age and in addition to complementary foods, meets their nutritional needs in early childhood. Even though breastfeeding has been promoted severally, its practice has remained poor in many sub-Saharan African countries including Nigeria.This study was a descriptive one carried out to assess the perceived impacts of exclusive breastfeeding among 100 nursing mothers attending the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos State. Questionnaires were administered to gather information and the data was subsequently collated and analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 20. The modal age group of respondents was 26-30 years; 44% of them were Yoruba, 79% were Christians, 70% were graduates and 44% were civil servants. It was discovered during the course of this study that majority of the respondents did not have the correct definition of what breastfeeding is as they believed that exclusive breastfeeding was also feeding the baby with water before the expiration of six months. 93% of them believed that breastfeeding should be started immediately after birth. Factors affecting exclusive breastfeeding included women’s belief that breastfeeding is too rigorous and time consuming, babies do not get satisfied and breast pain. It was discovered that the mothers’ educational status had a direct influence on the practice of breastfeeding, with a ρ-value of 0.013. Benefits of breastfeeding as outlined by the respondents were prevention of illnesses, development of child’s brain, a form of family planning as well as increasing the bond between mother and child.


Appropriate feeding practices have fundamental importance in the survival, growth and development of an infant and children everywhere. Breast feeding is generally accepted as the best form of infant feeding as it contributes 100% of daily nutritional requirement of children 0- 6months, and it continues to provide up to half of more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one-third during the second year of life (Mohsw 2007).It is promoted worldwide because of its many benefits to infants and mother (Kruger et all 2004).

Breast feeding practice can save as many as 1 .5million infants lives every year as it provides the significant protection against diseases (WHO 2003).The evaluation of the millennium Development Goals (MDG’ S) shows that exclusive breastfeeding for the first six month is the most effective interventions to achieve MDG number four (Bryce et all 2006).

According to WHO/UNICEF (2015) stated that exclusive breastfeeding: the infant has received only breast milk from the mother or expressed breast milk, and no other liquid or solid with the exception of drops or syrups, ORS consisting of vitamins, mineral supplementary, or medicines. Failure of exclusive breastfeeding practice is a risk of factor for malnutrition.

According to WHO (2016) opined that malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalance in person’s intake of energy and or/ nutrients. The term malnutrition covers 2 broad group of conditions. One is “Under nutrition” which includes stunting (Low weight for height) under weight (low weight for age) and micronutrient deficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals). The other one is over nutrition which includes overweight, obesity. Globally, An estimated 41 million children under the age of 5years are stunted and 50million are wasted, submitted by WHO (2016)

Incidence of malnutrition among under 5years old children, In Nigeria, 37percent of children or 6million children are stunted (chronically malnourished or low height for age) more than half of them severely. In addition, 18pecent of children suffers from wasting (acutely malnourished or low weight for height), half of them severely. 29percent of children are underweight (both acutely and chronically malnourished or low weight for age), almost half of them severely. Stunting prevalence remained relatively stable between 2007-2013, whereas wasting has increased significantly from 10percent in 2011 to 18 percent in 2013. Although underweight rate were stable between 2007 and 2011 at around 25percent, the rate increased slightly to 29percent. UNICEF state of the world’s children report (2015).

Malnutrition among under five children is a major public health problem in India. The prevalence of underweight children in India is among the highest in the world, and is nearly double that of sub- Saharan Africa. Each year approximately 2.3million death among 6-16months aged children in developing countries associated with malnutrition, which is about 41 percent the total deaths in this age group. It was reported that underweight among under-five children range from 39percent to 75percent, stunting from 15-4percent to 74percent, and wasting from 10.6 percent to 42.3 percent in different part of the country. (Google Search Engine, medline and others). National family health survey-3 data showed over-weight prevalence as 1.6% while another study revealed 4.5percent.
In south Asia 46 percent of children under 5 are wasted, 44percent of children are stunted and 15percent of children are wasted (progress for children: a report card on nutrition, UNICEF, 2006). In India 48percent of children under 5years of age are stunted and 43percent are underweight, almost 8 million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition.

In the United States of America, one out of every six children is at risk.  The study based on 2005 – 2007 data from United States Census Bureau and the Agriculture Department, shows than estimated 3.5 million children under the age of five are at risk of hunger in the United States.
The United States Department of Agriculture reported that in (2003) only 1 out of 200 United States households with children became so severely food insecure that any of the children went hungry even once during the year.

Health personnel should be involved in the practice of Exclusive Breastfeeding for improved mental growth of children by encouraging the nursing mothers to practice it. This is very important to reduce and prevent malnutrition and other diseases. The focus of this study is on perceived impacts of Exclusive Breastfeeding among nursing mothers in LASUTH Ikeja, Lagos.   

Despite the fact that exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of age, and generally known to be the best way to feed an infant, it helps to reduce child mortality/morbidity rate and also promote both psychological and the well-being of the mother and infant (WHO 2008).
In a recent research made, there are some factors that influence and also hinder the practice of exclusive breastfeeding among which are Age, Education, Work, Husband/family support, Level of knowledge, socio-cultural factors and poor lactation. As a result of these, infants are prone to childhood diseases such as diarrhea, malnutrition etc.
The researcher finds it necessary to carry out a research on the perceived impact of exclusive breastfeeding among nursing mothers attending infant welfare clinic at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja.

  • To determine the knowledge of mothers on exclusive breastfeeding
  • To determine mothers’ attitude and practice towards exclusive breastfeeding
  • To find out socio-economic factors that hinders the practice of exclusive breastfeeding among nursing mothers.
  • To determine the educational status of mothers on exclusive breastfeeding

Exclusive breastfeeding is of great importance to the baby, mother and society at large. The outcome of this study will address the issues that hinder the practice of exclusive breastfeeding and thus enhance the mothers’ knowledge and attitude towards breastfeeding. The study will help to reduce infant morbidity and mortality rate. The study will help to design health related policy that would guide children feeding.

  • Do nursing mothers have adequate knowledge on exclusive breastfeeding?
  • Does nursing mothers have right attitude in practicing exclusive breastfeeding?
  • What are the factors that hinder exclusive breastfeeding practice among nursing mothers?
  • Do educational statuses of mothers affect exclusive breastfeeding?
  • What are the importance of exclusive breastfeeding?

This study is focused on the perceived impact of exclusive breastfeeding among nursing mothers attending infant welfare clinic at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja. The study will also look into the practices knowledge and attitude of nursing mothers towards exclusive breastfeeding.

PERCEIVED: To become aware or knowledgeable of something.

IMPACTS: The powerful effect that something has on somebody or something.

EXCLUSIVE:   This is the act of practice that involves not easily or readily mixing with or allowing other things.  

BREAST: Is one of the female reproductive organs that is concerned with the production and let-down of milk

FEEDING: This is the process of giving food        

MILK: A white liquid produced by the mammary glands of
female mammals to nourish their young.

EXCLUSIVE BREASTFEEDING: It is a natural feeding of an infant with only human breast milk without adding any milk substitute and water for 6 months of life, that is, the infant only receives breast milk  without any additional food or drink not even water.  
NURSING:This is a process that is involved in giving care to others.

MOTHER:A female parent.

NURSING MOTHERS: This is a person who feeds a baby with milk from her breast or a person who takes care of young ones.

RESPONDENT:    The subject used in research.      

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