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The goal of the study was to evaluate the variables impacting the feeding patterns of women of reproductive age in Sapele LGA, Delta state, Nigeria.

Methods: Data were gathered quantitatively using a descriptive cross-sectional study methodology. Interviews with 300 moms of infants aged six months or younger were conducted.

Results: The survey showed that 54.6% of the sample had little or no education, 78.3% were unemployed, and 24.7% were under the age of 18. Of the sample, 89.3% lived in urban informal settlements. The average household size was five people. A married 37.7%. 50.7% of newborns were given cow’s or formula milk, compared to 49.3% who were provided breast milk. It was common practice to combine feedings, typically using formula milk, gruel or oatmeal and herbal beverages. Some of the moms’ common habits included throwing away colostrum, providing pre-lacteal meals, and introducing other foods too early.

Conclusions: According to the study, not all newborns between the ages of 0 and 6 months are exclusively breastfed, social-demographic factors have a substantial impact on infant feeding practices, and culture is significantly related to infant feeding practices.




1.1  Background of study

Human infants are typically breastfed since it is essential to our survival in all cultures and eras. Contrarily, various methods of infant feeding have varied over time and space in terms of what is fed, when, how, and by whom (WHO, 2012).

The world health organization advises exclusively nursing infants for the first six months, starting within the first hour of delivery and adopting on-demand feeding. After six months, supplemental foods should be offered that are nutrient-dense, secure, and suitable. For up to two years, breastfeeding should be promoted (Ulak et al., 2012). For HIV-positive moms, it is advised to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of a child’s life before abruptly ceasing to nurse and starting to wean the child. These suggestions have been found to minimize morbidity and mortality and also provide more pronounced benefits to the mother when applied in both developed and resource-poor developing countries (Kruger and Gericke, 2001; Ulak et al, 2012).

It is well acknowledged that breastfeeding is the best and most natural way to nourish a baby and reduce morbidity and death. Breast milk is the best, and this has been proven to be the case (Kruger and Gericke, 2001). Feeding should begin within the first hour of delivery, and colostrum, the yellowish, sticky breast milk produced at the end of pregnancy, is advised by the WHO as the ideal diet for the infant (WHO, 2012).

Around 35% of newborns worldwide between the ages of 0 and 6 months are exclusively breastfed. The benefits of breastfeeding for health, immunity, and the economy are well known. In


61.7% of newborns were ever nursed, 27.0% were breastfed for at least 6 months, and 18.5% were breastfed for at least 12 months, according to the 2009 Paediatric Nutrition Surveillance System (PedNSS) (CDC, 2011). Only around 39% of newborns are nursed exclusively during the first six months of life, which is a widely known example of poor breastfeeding and supplemental feeding practices in underdeveloped nations.

In the USA, rates of exclusive breastfeeding were 33% at three months and 13.3% at six months according to the 2010 breastfeeding report card. According to a similar research from 2011, 35% of infants were exclusively breastfed at 3 months and 14.8% at 6 months.

According to a 2005–2006 survey, in India, 58% of infants under four months and 46% of those under six months were exclusively breastfed (WHO, 2012).

In Ghana, just 8% of infants younger than four months are breastfed, and by the time they are three months old, 45% are receiving supplemental nutrition (Awumbila, 2013).

According to the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) 2018-2009, an increase from 13% in 2013 to 32% of infants under six months are exclusively breastfed in Nigeria (Kimani-Murage et al, 2011).

Slums or urban impoverished settlements provide unique obstacles for children’s survival and health. Slum settlements are rapidly growing in sub-Saharan Africa, where the bulk of urban residents reside there. Contrary to the widely held idea that urban inhabitants have better health outcomes, urban slum dwellers typically have very low health indicators. This is because they are characterized by inadequate environmental sanitation and living circumstances (Kimani-Murage et al, 2011). Slum children in Nigeria are reportedly sicker and more likely to die than children in any other part of the country, including the countryside. As a result, children born to moms who live in urban slums could experience inadequate breastfeeding or complementary feeding methods.

Despite efforts by health service providers (HSPs) to increase the proportion of breastfed infants, little progress has been made because feeding habits are closely related to a range of economic, sociocultural, and religious factors in the community as well as to different dynamics present at the household level (Awumbila, 2013). The infant’s birth weight, birth order, and use of pacifiers are all related to inadequate breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices, as are the mother’s age, marital status, education, and occupation; antenatal and maternity health care; health education and media exposure; culture; and socioeconomic status and area of residence (Kimani-Murage et al, 2011).



1.2  Problem statement


For optimal infant feeding, mothers should have the freedom to start breastfeeding within an hour of giving birth, to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months, and to continue breastfeeding for two years or longer. Starting in the sixth month, mothers should also be able to start feeding their babies solid, semi-solid, and soft foods that are nutritionally adequate, safe, and age-appropriate.

According to studies, inadequate breastfeeding practices are thought to be the cause of 8400 baby deaths in Nigeria each year (GHAI, 2001). Only 32% of infants under six months are exclusively breastfed, according to NCDC 2018-09 data. Instead of exclusively nursing, the majority of Nigerian mothers prefer combination feeding. According to studies, Nigeria loses 76 billion dollars annually treating three serious, preventable diseases that are brought on by incorrect nursing. These include gastrointestinal disorders, lower respiratory tract infections, and Otitis media (Kibet, 2012). The nutrition, health, and growth of the newborn are all directly impacted by these disorders.


Due to this incompatibility, it is necessary to identify the most effective health education strategies that can encourage women to use the best feeding practices for their infants in order to decrease morbidity, mortality, and improve newborn health. The fulfillment of Millennium Development Goal 4, which is to reduce under-five mortality rates by two thirds between 1990 and 2015, may be hampered or delayed significantly if this issue is not resolved. The easiest way to do this is to breastfeed exclusively for six months.


1.3.  General Objectives


To assess the factors influencing the feeding practices of women of childbearing age in Sapele LGA attending Amukpe Community Sapele.

Specific Objectives


  1. To determine the feeding practices of mothers of infants zero to six months in Sapele LGA attending Amukpe Community Sapele.
  2. To establish the relationship between social-demographic factors and feeding practices of mothers of infants zero to six months in Sapele LGA attending Amukpe Community Sapele.
  3. To establish the effect of culture on feeding practices of mothers of infants zero to six months in Sapele LGA attending Amukpe Community Sapele.
  4. To establish the infant factors influencing feeding practices of mothers of infants zero to six months in Sapele LGA attending Amukpe Community Sapele.


1.5  Research questions


  1. What are the feeding practices of mothers of infants zero to six months in Sapele LGA attending Amukpe Community Sapele?
  2. How do social-demographic factors affect feeding practices of mothers of infants zero to six months in Sapele LGA attending Amukpe Community Sapele?
  3. How does culture affect feeding practices of mothers of infants zero to six months in Sapele LGA attending Amukpe Community Sapele?
  4. How do infant factors affect feeding practices of mothers of infants zero to six months in Sapele LGA attending Amukpe Community Sapele?


1.6  Significance of the study


Infant feeding methods play a significant role in determining a child’s nutrition and health status. Inadequate complementation and poor breastfeeding practices, particularly the failure to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of life, are significant risk factors for newborn and childhood illness and mortality.

The study’s objective was to evaluate mothers’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors about infant feeding techniques, their advantages, and the use of supplements. It will consequently raise awareness among moms and raise nutritional standards for babies and young children.


1.8 Scope of the Study

The study was only conducted in Sapele’s Amukpe Community. Nurses and women of childbearing age make up the study’s respondents. Infant factors, cultural factors, and social-demographic factors were the study’s main areas of attention. To gather information from the respondents, the study used questionnaires, an interview schedule, and an observation checklist. Without doing an identical study in regions with comparable features, it is impossible to generalize the study’s conclusions to other regions of the nation.


1.9 Operational definitions


Colostrum feeding– Feeding an infant on the first fluid secreted by the breast for the first three or four days after delivery until lactation begins.


Child Bearing Age: Age when women are normally able to give birth to children.


Exclusive breastfeeding– Feeding an infant on breast milk only continuously for six months without giving any other fluids even water with the exception of vitamins, minerals and medicines.


PrDeltaminant feeding- Feeding an infant on breast milk and other liquids such as water, water based drinks, fruit, juices, oral rehydration solution.


Mixed feeding- Breastfeeding a child while giving non-human milk or food-based fluids and solid foods.


Complementary feeding– Introducing semi-solid and soft solid foods for infants after 6 months in addition to breast milk.


Infant feeding- Exclusively breastfed, predominantly breastfed, mixed fed or not breastfed.


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