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ARTICLE
Year : 2009  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 403-406

Exclusive breastfeeding--the relationship between maternal perception and practice


Department of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
U O Uchendu
Department of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


PMID: 20329681

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BACKGROUND: The behaviour adopted by individuals is moulded by their perception of various issues. In spite of well established benefits of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) to babies, mothers and society, the EBF practice rate (EBFPr) in our environment has remained low. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate mother's perception of exclusive breastfeeding and determine the relationship between such view and their practices. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Two hundred mothers were interviewed to elicit their perception of the merit and demerits of exclusive breastfeeding. The pattern of perception was related to actual practice in order to seek for possible associations. RESULTS: Of the 184 respondents, 39 (21.2%) practiced EBF for all their babies, while 95 (51.6%) never did so for any of their babies. Knowledge of EBF was excellent (94.0% and 90.8%) of the study group gave accurate definition and duration respectively. Most mothers felt that EBF babies look healthier (85.1%), have less disease (84.5%), are more intelligent (59.1%) but their mothers eat a lot (79.3%). Those who agree to the positive benefits of EBF generally had higher overall complete EBFPr than those who disagreed, as they looked healthier (p = 0.0001), had less disease (p = 0.041) and more intelligent (p= 0.0001). In addition to this, mothers who did EBF for all babies ( ie those with an EBFPr of 100%) had more positive perception on the benefits ofEBF. CONCLUSION: There is a fairly good relationship between pattern of maternal perception of the benefits of EBF and actual practice. Efforts need to be intensified to educate and encourage mothers to see the merits of EBF both for themselves and their babies.


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