Breastfeeding practices of mothers of young children in Lagos, Nigeria

  • IP Okafor
  • FA Olatona
  • OA Olufemi
Keywords: Breastfeeding, healthseeking behavior, infant nutrition, maternal education, Nigeria


Objective: To determine the breastfeeding practices (prevalence, initiation and exclusivity) of mothers of young children in Lagos.
Methods: This was a communitybased, cross-sectional study carried out in 2010 in two Local Government Areas of Lagos State. Structured, intervieweradministered questionnaires were administered on 600 mothers whom were selected by multistage sampling technique. Data was analyzed with Epi-info 2008.
Results: The majority, (91.8%) of respondents breastfed their babies and 59.2% of them initiated breastfeeding within 1 hour of delivery. Eighty-two percent practiced exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) and 52.9% did for 6 months. Formal antenatal care (ANC) (OR 3.27, 95%CI 2.03- 5.29) and institutional delivery (OR 3.63, 95%CI 2.38-5.53) significantly increased early initiation of breastfeeding. These factors also significantly increased practice of EBF for 6 months; ANC- OR 2.54, 95%CI 1.49-4.35 and institutional delivery- OR 1.81, 95%CI 1.15-2.86. EBF for 6 months was significantly associated with lower parity (p=0.020) and higher maternal educational level. Those who had more than secondary education were 8 times more likely to practice EBF for 6 months than those with no formal education (OR 7.65, 95%CI 2.58- 24.28).
Conclusion: Breastfeeding initiation and exclusivity for 6 months were inadequate. Promotion of good health-seeking behavior, maternal education and family planning are recommended in order to improve mothers’ breastfeeding practices and infant nutrition.

Key words: Breastfeeding, healthseeking behavior, infant nutrition, maternal education, Nigeria


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eISSN: 0302-4660