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01.05.2014 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

International Breastfeeding Journal 1/2014

Infant feeding practices and maternal socio-demographic factors that influence practice of exclusive breastfeeding among mothers in Nnewi South-East Nigeria: a cross-sectional and analytical study

International Breastfeeding Journal > Ausgabe 1/2014
Stanley Onah, Donatus Ignatius Chidiebere Osuorah, Joy Ebenebe, Clement Ezechukwu, Uchenna Ekwochi, Ifeyinwa Ndukwu
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1746-4358-9-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests. This study was completely sponsored by the authors.

Authors’ contribution

SO, JE, and CE conceived and designed the study. SO, UE and IN were responsible for supervision of data collection and quality control. DICO analyzed the data, wrote the result and the first draft of the manuscript. SO, DICO and UE contributed to discussion, editing, and approved the text. JE and CE reviewed the final manuscript and supervised the work. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Malnutrition is an underlying factor in more than 50% of the major cause of infant mortality-Pneumonia, diarrhoeal disease and measles which account for 70% of infant mortality. Therefore, programs to promote adequate nutrition for age can help reduce mortality from these disease conditions and indispensible to achievement of MDG 4.


To describe the feeding practices of infants below six months of age and determine maternal socio-demographic factors that influences the practice of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) among mothers in Nnewi, south-east Nigeria.


Four hundred mother-infant pairs attending the infant welfare clinic of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University teaching hospital (NAUTH) during 2012 were consecutively recruited after meeting the study inclusion criteria. Data on breastfeeding were based on infant feeding practice in the previous 24 hours. Exclusive breastfeeding was defined as infant feeding with only breast milk.


Awareness (95.3%) and knowledge (82.0%) of EBF was high among surveyed mother but the practice of EBF (33.5%) was very low. Positive attitude towards EBF practice was shown by many (71.0%) of surveyed mothers. EBF practice decreased with increasing infant age, OR 0.72 (95% CI 0.34, 1.51) for 1–2 months, OR 0.58 (95% CI 0.23, 1.44) for 3–4 months and OR 0.20 (95% CI 0.06, 0.73) for 5–6 months compared to infants < 1 month old. Maternal education, socioeconomic class, mode of delivery and infants first feed were retained as important maternal predictors of EBF practice after adjustment for confounders. Decreased likelihood of EBF practice was found among mothers of lower educational attainment, OR 0.33 (95% CI 0.13, 0.81), mothers who delivered through caesarean section, OR 0.38 (95% CI 0.18, 0.84), mothers of higher socio-economic status [(middle class, OR 0.46 (95% CI 0.22, 0.99) and upper class, OR 0.32 (95% CI 0.14, 0.74)] while increased likelihood of EBF practice was seen in mothers who gave their infants breast milk as their first feed, OR 3.36 (95% CI 1.75, 6.66).


Knowledge and awareness does not translate to practice of EBF. More effort by health workers and policy makers should be directed to mothers along the fault lines to encourage the practice of EBF.
Authors’ original file for figure 1
Authors’ original file for figure 2
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