A Review on Facilitators and Barriers to Exclusive Breastfeeding in West Africa

Paschal Awingura Apanga


Exclusive breastfeeding for six months continues to be the gold standard for optimal growth and development of the newborn. Despite the enormous benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, its practice remains low in West Africa. The aim of this review was to examine the facilitators and barriers to exclusive breastfeeding. Findings of this review is necessary as it will inform policy and decision making so as to promote exclusive breastfeeding practice within the West African sub-region and beyond. Relevant papers were selected after a detailed literature search using CINAHL, MEDLINE and EMBASE databases where relevant papers were selected. This paper revealed that mothers who were aware that exclusive breastfeeding could make their children grow well and mothers who were educated were more likely to practice exclusive breastfeeding. Additionally, mothers who benefited from antenatal care services, supervised delivery at health facility and lactation counselling were also more likely to practice exclusive breastfeeding. However, breast sagging of mothers, socio-cultural beliefs, lack of education among mothers, mothers delivering at homes, cracked nipples and breast engorgement of mothers were found to be major barriers to exclusive breastfeeding practice.  In conclusion, this paper revealed that exclusive breastfeeding for six months is the best practice for optimal growth and development of the newborn, although it's acceptor rate still remains low. Strenuous efforts needs to be done to scale up the practice of exclusive breastfeeding especially at the community context. Interventions should therefore be focused on creating awareness on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding  as well as correct misconceptions about its practice.

Keywords: Exclusive breastfeeding, mothers, facilitators, barriers, benefits

Full Text: PDF
Download the IISTE publication guideline!

To list your conference here. Please contact the administrator of this platform.

Paper submission email: JBAH@iiste.org

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

Please add our address "contact@iiste.org" into your email contact list.

This journal follows ISO 9001 management standard and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Copyright © www.iiste.org