The Effects Of Maternal Nutrition On The Exclusive Breastfeeding Of Infants

Project and Seminar Material for Public Health

The Effects Of Maternal Nutrition On The Exclusive Breastfeeding Of Infants


Abstract


The researcher investigated the effects of maternal nutrition on the exclusive breastfeeding of infants in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State. The purpose of the study was to find out the effects of maternal nutrition, socio-economic status, occupation, and perception on the exclusive breastfeeding of infants in Egor Local Government Area. To guide the study, four research questions were asked namely; what are the effects of maternal nutrition on the exclusive breastfeeding of infants? What are the relationship between maternal socio-economic status and the practice of exclusive breastfeeding? What are the effects of maternal occupation on the actualization of exclusive breastfeeding? What is the influence of maternal perception on the exclusive breastfeeding of infants? The findings revealed that maternal nutrition had insignificant effect on exclusive breastfeeding. That maternal health status was a huge socio-economic hindrance to the practice of exclusive breast feeding. That provision of baby friendly facilities at place of work for mothers to breastfeed their baby was an important occupational factor


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Through the course of human history, the feeding of the new born has puzzled man. A lot has been written about what is more beneficial for the growth and wellbeing of the child, mostly outlining breastfeeding’s pivotal role (Papastavrou, 2014). The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of life, from six months onwards, continued breastfeeding combined with complementary foods of good quality and in the right quantity for two years is recommended. Exclusive breastfeeding means that the child only receives breast milk, and if necessary the addition of vitamins, minerals and medicine for the first six months of life. The (WHO) recommendation applies to all countries and populations regardless of economic status or developmental level. Breastfeeding has many health benefits for both the mother and the infant. Breast milk is not only a source of food but contains immune related components and various biologically active substances that contribute to efficient nutrient utilization and gives the child active and passive protection against infections. Breast milk provides all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals an infant needs for growth for the first six months of life. Optimal breastfeeding practices in the first two years of life can have the single largest impact on child survival of all preventive interventions. Breast feeding provides many health benefits for the mother. These benefits includes more rapid recovery from childbirth, decreased postpartum bleeding, delayed return to fertility, reduced risk for breast and ovarian cancers, and less bladder and other infections. In developing countries, and in Nigeria for instance, breastfeeding can be the difference between life and death for several reasons, including poor hygiene, prevalence of malaria and lack of safe drinking water. An exclusively breastfed child is less likely to die in the first six months than a non-exclusively breastfed child. Adequate nutrition during early life is critical for cognitive, mental and physical development. This period ensures proper development and plays a significant role in lifelong health outcomes. Inadequate nutrition during pregnancy and the first two years of life can lead to irreversible limitation in the ability of a child to achieve his or her full potential. These outcomes may include delays mental development, reduced mental capacity, reduced school performance and working capacity and overall increased susceptibility to diseases and infections. An undernourished child has an increased risk of dying from diarrhea, measles, malaria and pneumonia.

The first 1000 days of life from conception through the first two years of life is often referred to as “window of opportunity” because of the profound positive effect optional nutrition can have on the developing child and due to the fact that damage during this period is often permanent and irreversible. Human breast milk provides energy, nutrients and trace elements that are required by infants until weaning. During lactation, bone is mobilized and exerts influence on the availability of these macro-elements to the mineral poll that supply the mammary gland. Kinsara 2006, posited that human breast milk composition is dependent on many maternal and gestational factors ranging from stage of lactation, maternal age, maternal nutritional status, diet, parity and gestational age. A woman’s appetite increases during pregnancy and lactation, these results in increase in food intake. This occurs because the energy, protein and other nutrients in breast milk comes from the mothers’ diet or from her own body stores, so there is need for increased food intake to compensate for the demand of lactation. In sub-Sahara Africa, many women suffer from chronic under-nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies and fail to gain enough weight during pregnancy. This could be traced to the low standard of living, unemployment and global economic recession and failure of government at all levels to provide for its citizens basic amenities. This has a great impact on the rate at which the young infant is breastfed. In the present study, we will be looking at the effects of maternal nutrition on the actualization of exclusive breastfeeding. This research work will also be looking at other constraints that can cause the discontinuation of exclusive breastfeeding and also make recommendations on how to improve mothers’ adherence to the campaign on exclusive breastfeeding


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The importance of exclusive breastfeeding cannot be overemphasized. Government at all levels and health practitioners have embarked on various health outreaches to encourage exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of the infant’s life. However, this intervention seems not to be yielding the desired results as there are several maternal factors that could hinder the continuation of exclusive breastfeeding which could range from maternal occupation, perception, socio-economic status etc. Therefore the present study aims at investigating the relationship between maternal nutrition, quality of life and exclusive breastfeeding in a sample of mothers from Egor Local Government Area of Edo State.

Based on the problems, the following research questions are asked.

  1. What are the effects of maternal nutrition on exclusive breastfeeding of infants?
  2. What is the influence of maternal socio-economic status on the practice of exclusive breastfeeding?
  3. What are the effects of maternal occupation on the actualization of exclusive breastfeeding?
  4. What is the influence of maternal perception on exclusive breastfeeding?

1.3 Objective of the Study

The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of maternal nutrition on exclusive breastfeeding.

  1. To ascertain the influence of maternal socio-economic status, occupation and perception on the attainment of exclusive breastfeeding
  2. To ascertain the relationship between material nutrition and breastfeeding of infant
  3. To ascertain the impact of breastfeeding on a child health

1.4 Research Hypotheses

For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

  1. H0: there is no influence of maternal socio-economic status, occupation and perception on the attainment of exclusive breastfeeding
    H1: there is influence of maternal socio-economic status, occupation and perception on the attainment of exclusive breastfeeding
  2. H02: there is no relationship between material nutrition and breastfeeding of infant
    H2: there is relationship between material nutrition and breastfeeding of infant

1.5 Significance of the Study

Inspite of government, Health practitioners and non-governmental organizations effort over the years, to sensitize the people of Egor Local Government Area through seminars, lectures, workshops and door to door campaign on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding to both mother and child, little has been done in the area of research to ascertain if this outreach is yielding desired result in terms of attitudinal change of the people of the local government. Data are not readily available to show progress made or otherwise. This prompted the need for this research work. This study will also serves as a basis for more research work on the field of study.


1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The present study only deals with nursing mothers in Egor Local Government Area and also the use of questionnaire for data collection. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Organizational Privacy:

Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities


1.7 Definition of Terms

Maternal Nutrition:

Maternal nutrition during pregnancy and health of the offspring. Author information: The ability of mother to provide nutrients and oxygen for her baby is a critical factor for fetal health and its survival. Failure in supplying the adequate amount of nutrients to meet fetal demand can lead to fetal malnutrition.

Breastfeeding:

Breastfeeding, also known as nursing, is the feeding of babies and young children with milk from a woman’s breast. Health professionals recommend that breastfeeding begin within the first hour of a baby’s life and continue as often and as much as the baby wants. During the first few weeks of life babies may nurse roughly

Infant:

An infant is the more formal or specialized synonym for “baby”, the very young offspring of a human. The term may also be used to refer to juveniles of other organisms.


1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain the effect of maternal nutrition on the exclusive breastfeeding of infant

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of maternal nutrition on the exclusive breastfeeding of infant


5.2 Summary

This study was the effect of maternal nutrition on the exclusive breastfeeding of infant. Three objectives were raised which included:1. To ascertain the influence of maternal socio-economic status, occupation and perception on the attainment of exclusive breastfeeding, to ascertain the relationship between material nutrition and breastfeeding of infant, to ascertain the impact of breastfeeding on a child health. In line with these objectives, two research hypotheses were formulated and two null hypotheses were posited. The total population for the study is 200 nursing mothers from Egor local government of Edo state. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made up one month nursing mothers, two months nursing mothers, four months nursing mothers and five months nursing mothers were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies


5.3 Conclusion

Results of the study shows minimal practice on exclusive breastfeeding. Almost all infants received additional foods before the age of one month. High adherence to practice was established in the aspects like the time of initiation of breastfeeding and breastfeeding on demand where the modem recommendations acknowledged the traditional practices. This was clear indication that traditional knowledge was still playing a major role in the choice o f breast feeding practices. Complementary foods were introduced very early after birth. Infact majority o f the infants were given prelacteal foods in accordance with the traditional practice. Modern knowledge had therefore not succeeded in influencing or even replacing the traditional practices on the introduction of complementary foods. The main reason given for early introduction of complementary foods was that the baby was not getting enough milk, because the mother did not have enough to eat due to poor socio-economic status of households.


5.4 Recommendation

The study findings suggest there is need for a paradigm shift in looking at infant feeding practices. Nutrition education does not seem to alter the entrenched cultural practices on infant feeding practices especially with regards to exclusive breastfeeding and the initiation of complementary foods because o f underlying factors such as poor maternal nutrition and low socio-economics status of households. This coupled with the fact that the nutritional status of the infants was apparently normal may suggest a multifaceted approach which puts all factors into consideration is required in order to improve infant feeding practices and hence improved growth and development o f the infants. TBAs should be recognized as making an important contribution, especially in the marginal areas where health facilities are very far from the community and therefore the health workers cannot reach the community with nutrition education and other health services. Also mothers cannot be able to cover the long distances under labour without risking the lives of the baby and may be the mother or both.

The TBAs should be well trained in order to practice hygiene and safety measures in deliveries and disseminate accurate and consistent nutrition information. Nutrition education should be incorporated with other Community development programmes in the study area in order to reach the majority of the community who had a great influence on the mother’s choice on infant feeding practices. The government should ensure food security throughout the year especially in marginal areas by introducing drought resistant crop varieties and water harvesting technologies so that mothers may have adequate food in order to produce enough breast milk for the baby. This will enhance appropriate infant feeding practices. In times o f severe food shortages pregnant and lactating mothers should be targeted with nutrition interventions. Women empowerment should also be incorporated into nutrition programmes. This could include income generating activities and also linking the mothers with micro-finance institutions. Family planning should be enhanced to help reduce the household sizes. It should also be included in the nutrition education messages.


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