INFANT FEEDING PRACTICES OF WOMEN ATTENDING INFANT WELFARE CLINICS IN NSUKKA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF ENUGU STATE

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ABSTRACT


This study examined the infant feeding practices of women attending infant welfare clinics in Nsukka Local Government Area. To achieve the purpose of the study eleven research questions and six corresponding hypotheses were posed to guide the study. The research questions and hypotheses sort to identify the relationships and the significance of the relationship between six independent variables of age, parity, level of education, occupation, location and marital status. Quantitative data were collected using a researcher-made questionnaire with twenty three items. The questionnaire was used to collect data on the mother’s socio-demographic variables and their infant feeding practices. The questionnaire was distributed to 630 mothers drawn from the area of study. The descriptive survey research design was used for the study. The population for the study consist of all the mothers that brought their children to infant welfare clinics. The sample for the study was 630 mothers that brought their children to infant welfare clinics in Nsukka Local Government Area. The collected data were analysed using percentages, chi-square and Anova. The result showed that there was no significant relationship between age, parity and feeding practices at .05 level of significance while there was significant relationship between level of education, occupation, location, marital status and infant feeding practices all at .05 level of significance. It was recommended among others that nurses, doctors, health workers should intensify health education teaching to mothers to change their negative attitude towards infant feeding and imbibe positive attitude.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page
Table of Contents
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: Introduction
Background to the Study
Statement of the Problem
Purpose of the Study
Research Questions
Hypotheses
Significance
Scope of the Study

CHAPTER TWO: Review of Related Literature
Conceptual Framework
Concept of infant feeding practices
Demographic factors associated with infant feeding practice
Measurement of infant feeding practices
Theoretical Framework
The “socialist feminism theory”
Symbolic Interaction Theory
Empirical Studies on Infant feeding Practices
Summary of Literature Review

CHAPTER THREE: Methods
Research Design
Area of the Study
Population for the Study
Sample and Sampling Technique
Instrument for Data Collection
Validity of instrument
Reliability of the instrument
Method of Data Collection
Method of Data Analysis

CHAPTER FOUR: Results and Discussion
Data Presentation and Analyses
Summary of Results
Discussion of Findings

CHAPTER FIVE: Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
Summary
Conclusions
Implications of the Study
Recommendations
Limitations of the Study
Suggestions for Further Research
References
Appendices

CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

Background to the Study
Human beings are essentially the products of what they eat. This suggests that eating right leads to wellness while malnutrition leads to impaired health, and for children, impaired growth as well. Malnutrition which means taking less nourishing foods and drinks than the body needs (Kibel and Wagstaff, 1995) has been linked with serious health problems across populations worldwide.

Earlier Huffman and Martin, (1994) stated that infants and toddlers have been identified as the most common victims of malnutrition because of their vulnerability during the growth phase. Nel and Lodzani (1993) had also earlier stated that inadequate qualities of breast milk or inappropriate weaning practices leads to malnutrition that could cause stunted growth at a later stage.

Black and Brown (1996) stated that several researchers have found that breast feeding is supplemented from as early age even in the first month with either milk or water, fruit juice, tea, gruel, cereal, fruit and vegetables, and this affect the child’s growth and development. Steyn (1993), earlier stated that infant feeding practices clearly affect a child’s nutritional status, health and growth hence the need arises for an increased focus on feeding practices of infants to help reduce chronic malnutrition and mortality, and this could be achieved if infants are adequately fed.


Adequate nutrition as was defined by Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN, 2005) is the intake and utilization of enough energy and nutrient to maintain well being health and productivity of an individual; in this case the infant, stating that the provision of adequate nutrition during infancy and early childhood is a basic requirement for the development and promotion of optimum growth, health and good behavior of an infant. Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN, 2005) defined infancy period as the period from birth to one year of age, and noted that it is recognized as a critical period for which adequate nutrition should be provided for the infant to achieve optimum development and full potential. Earlier Ene-Obong (2001) had stated that the first months of life outside the womb is crucial. It is a period of intensive growth in the life of an individual. An infant doubles its weight from 3kg to 6kg in four months, then shows down, reaching about 9kg at one year. The length of the infant also increases rapidly within the first three months and by the end of the first year the total length is about 1½ times the birth length. The nutrient requirements of the child are high per unit body weight because of the rapid growth rate during this period, and this stresses the need for an increase focus on the infant feeding practices in order to ensure adequate nutrition for the proper growth and development of an infant.

American Heritage (2009) defined practice as to do something or perform habitually or customarily polish a skill. Kernerman (2010) defined practice as the usual way of doing things, a habit or idea. Based on the definition, infant feeding practice is a way in which mothers feed their infants base on the knowledge acquired because of their custom. It is recommended that children are breastfed for the first six months of life before other foods are introduced. For some mothers, this breastfeeding continues along side other foods for up to eighteen (18) months.
Breastfeeding is the feeding of babies with breast milk and according to WHO/UNICEF (1990), it is a natural way of providing idea food for the healthy growth and development of the infant and has unique biological and emotional influences on the health of both mother and child. Smith (2006) noted that breast milk meet infant nutrient need for the first 6 months of life. He also noted that breastfeeding reduces the infants overall risk of developing infections, this is partially because an infant can use the antibodies in human milk.

Wardlaw, 2006 in supporting the view reported that breastfeeding has a lot of advantages, which includes fewer intestinal infections, respiratory and ear infections and fewer allergies also food intolerances. Breastfeeding is also less expensive and more convenient for the mother. According to Encyclopedia of Health and Education (2006) no laboratory has been able to create a product which has all the nutritional properties of breast milk, stating that breast milk is the natural food for a baby and is the only food which is perfectly adapted to baby’s needs, because it contains protective components which come from the mothers blood, stressing that mothers should breast feed their babies exclusively for 6 months for the healthy growth of the child.

W.H.O (2001) defined exclusive breast feeding as the feeding of an infant on breast milk alone for six months of life, without the addition of water, food or drinks. The baby however receives vitamins, minerals and medicines in the form of drops and syrup as need arises, noting that lack of exclusive breastfeeding is a major cause of infection in early infancy and precipitate malnutrition. Mothers should breast feed babies for the first six months of life to avoid infection which might be introduced while using dirty feeding utensils in feeding babies. Urban dwellers should be encouraged to breast feed for six months irrespective of their nature of work.

A mother is described as a female parent. Data from WHO (2000) showed that mothers in rural areas breastfed for longer periods of time between 18-24 months. Uwaegbute and Nnanyelugo (1987) had earlier reported that while majority of mothers breastfeed for at least six months, there was a great variations in duration of breastfeeding with non-educated mothers breastfeeding for longer periods of time and the duration decreasing with increasing in educational achievement.

Okoli (2009) stated that the influence of western culture through education and mass media led to decline in breastfeeding. She noted other reasons for the decline included mothers going back to work, and inadequate breast milk. This induced the mothers to introduce artificial feeding early in the baby’s life. The artificial feeding is adopted alongside breastfeeding. She defined artificial feeding as the feeding of an infant with infant milk formular......

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