The Nutritional Status of Mothers Practicing Breast Feeding In Ibadan, Nigeria
Exclusive breastfeeding is a globally recommended way of feeding and caring for young infants (0-6 months). Its benefits to both infants and mothers have been established. However, its impact on the maternal nutritional status is still a subject of contention. This study was therefore designed to evaluate the effect of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) practice on the nutritional status of lactating mothers. A total of 277 lactating mothers recruited from the well baby or immunization clinics at four selected health facilities participated in this descriptive and cross-sectional study. The data collected from the respondents included socioeconomic and demographic data using semi-structured questionnaires, 24-hour dietary recall and weight and height measurements. The nutritional status of lactating mothers practicing exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) and those practicing non-exclusive breastfeeding (NEBF) was compared. The data were analyzed using the Epi-Info 2000 to determine the nutritional status, adapted Total Diet Analysis (TDA) software to determine the mean nutrient intakes and the statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS version 10) to determine various proportions, means , standard deviations, and test the significance of differences (p<0.05). The mean (SD) age of the nursing mothers was 29.15(4.9) years, parity was 2.12(1.14) children, weight was 63.23(11.6) kg, height was 1.62(0.06) m, body mass index (BMI) was 24.09(3.94) kg/m2, daily protein and energy intakes were 124.28(47.08) g and 2827.16(839.34) kcal respectively. The results also showed that half (50.5%) of the respondents were practicing exclusive breastfeeding. The two groups had similar protein intake level, which was significantly higher than recommended intakes. There was no difference in the nutritional status (p>0.05) of mothers practicing exclusive and non-exclusive breastfeeding as measured by anthropometry. In conclusion, the practice of EBF had no observable consequences on the nutritional status of mothers practicing it when compared to mothers practicing non-exclusive breast feeding, except for the higher dietary energy intake. This finding can be used to encourage more mothers to embrace exclusive breast feeding since as of now the practice of EBF is still low, less than 25%.
Key words: Exclusive, Non-exclusive breastfeeding, Maternal Nutritional status