The study was on determinants of mothers’ breastfeeding practices in Kaduna state. Four
(4) objectives and four (4) research questions were formulated with three (3) null hypotheses. Survey research design was adopted for the study. The population for the study was drawn from 30 different hospitals in Zaria metropolis. A total population of all nursing mothers who attended ante-natal clinics was, three thousand, two hundred and five (3,205). Simple random sampling was used to draw a sample size of three hundred and twenty one (321) nursing mothers. Structured questionnaire was used in collecting data. Data collected were analyzed using frequencies, mean and percentages. Independent t-test of significant differences was used to analyzed hypotheses one (1), while chi-square of significant relationship was used to analyze hypothesis three (2) and three (3). Findings revealed that exclusive breastfeeding practices was the most frequently used method by nursing mothers in breastfeeding their children. It was also discovered that socio-economic status and levels of nursing mothers’ education, was a positive determinants on the mother and child breastfeeding practices. It was concluded that, uneducated mothers find it difficult to adapt to positive changes in breastfeeding patterns and rarely breastfed their children hygienically. Among the recommendations made was the need for health inspectors to visit rural places where nursing mothers are not educated to ensure healthy hygiene practices of exclusive breastfeeding.
1.1 Background of the Study
The relationship between a mother and child is extremely important, especially with regard to breastfeeding habits. These affect the lives of children and mothers at an early stage and have become a source of concern for health workers and non-professionals alike (Agostoni, 2003). According to Bamsaye (1999) breastfeeding is the feeding of an infant or young child with milk from the mothers‟ breast. Babies have a sucking reflex that enables them to suck and swallow milk. With some exceptions human breast milk is the best source of nourishment for infants. Milk from mothers provides all the nutrients that a baby needs as well as that substance that promotes growth and help to fight infection.
The Federal Ministry of Health and International Organization, such as World Health Organization (WHO) promote breastfeeding as the best method of feeding infants especially during their first year. Breastfeeding benefits mother and child physically, emotionally and psychologically. Garters (2005), was of the opinion that early breastfeeding of the child helps to combat the invasion of certain diseases and promotes the physical well being and sound brain development of the child. Mother‟s breast milk is the healthiest form of milk for the babies.
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