Breastfeeding and Complementary Feeding Practices of Mothers of Children (0 – 24 Months) Attending Infant Welfare Clinice (IWC) at the Institute of Child Health (ICH) University of Nigerian Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Ituku-Ozalla Enugu

Ndiokwelu C.I, Maduforo A.N, Amadi C. A, Okwy-Nweke C. P.


Background: The study investigated the breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices of mothers of children (0-24months) attending the Infant Welfare Clinic (IWC) at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu. The study aimed; to access the infant feeding knowledge of mothers, to ascertain the time of introduction of complementary feeds by mothers, to assess the quality of the complementary feeds used by mothers and to ascertain the period of breastfeeding cessation by the mothers.

Methodology: The research involved a cohort study of the breastfeeding and complementary feeding pattern of mothers of children (0-24months) attending the Infant Welfare Clinic (IWC) situated at the Institute of Child Health (ICH), University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu The study was carried out through the evaluation of the knowledge, and practices of the mothers. Structured interview schedule was used to collect information on the mothers' knowledge, and practices of breast feeding and complementary feeding recommendations.

Result: Analysis of data revealed that the breastfeeding practices of the mothers varied. Ninety mothers (45%) gave breastmilk alone, only 25 (12.5%) of these children were up to six months. Sixty five (32.5%) of these children who are receiving breastmilk alone were still under six months of age. Majority (26.7%) of the mothers who were no longer breastfeeding stopped between 6 and 8 months of age, while 139(74.4) among the breastfeeding mothers planned to stop breastfeeding between the ages of 12 and 23months. Thirty one mothers (16.7%) planned to breastfeed their children up to 24 months and beyond. Eighty (40%) mothers had introduced their children to complementary feeds and time of introduction of complementary feeds varied among the mothers. Corn gruel (pap) was a common complementary feed used by majority of the mothers 50(62.5%). Very few mothers 18(22.5%) enrich the complementary feeds with sugar and oil and only 14 (17.5%) mothers used feeding bottles to feed their children. Fifty eight mothers (72.5%) had introduced their children to the family foods. A consistent positive relationship existed between mother's education and frequency of breastfeeding; type of birth and exclusive breastfeeding and birth order; mother's educational background and exclusive breastfeeding; frequency of breastfeeding with age of introducing complementary feeding and when to stop breastfeeding with mother's occupation and educational background respectively.

Conclusion: Based on the findings of this study, the researchers concluded that although breastfeeding remains a universal practice by women, the Infant and young child feeding practices observed in this study are far from optimal. The finding showed that although breastfeeding is common amongst the mothers, it is rarely optimal. The mothers use mainly pap made from cereals as complementary feeds instead of using different varieties of our locally available foods, as was the practice prior to the rampant use of the maize gruels. The mothers had insufficient knowledge of use of sugar and oil to enrich the complementary feeds.

Keywords: Breastfeeding, Complementary feeding, Practices, Mothers, Children

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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