Socio-Cultural Factors Associated with Exclusive Breastfeeding Practice among Nursing Mothers in Enugu State, Nigeria

Filed in Articles by on September 15, 2020

Socio-Cultural Factors Associated with Exclusive Breastfeeding Practice among Nursing Mothers in Enugu State, Nigeria.


This study examined the socio-cultural factors associated with EBF practices in Enugu state. A cross-sectional survey of 1,734 nursing mothers who were breastfeeding their infants as at the time of the study was conducted in eight Local Government Areas (LGAs) in EnuguState.

Multi- stage sampling procedure was employed in selecting the above sample size for this study. The major instrument for data collection was a uniform set of structured questionnaire administered by trained research assistants.

This was supported by data from focus group discussion (FGD) conducted with the nursing mothers who did not participate in the questionnaire administration, grandmothers/mothers-in-law, and data from in-depth interviews with the husbands, health workers, women leaders and traditional/community leaders.

Data were analyzed using frequencies and percentages, chi square and logistic regressions. Qualitative data were analyzed with Atlas TI. The study established the prevalence  of EBF practice in Enugu  State.

The level  of awareness of EBF in the state was very high (96.2%). There were positive attitudes towards EBF practice in the state, butthe level of EBF practice was relatively low in the state.

The result also showed that all the socio-cultural factors studied were affecting EBF practice in their different ranking order. Example, influence of TBAs ranked highest (91%); followed by poor nutrition in family menu (82%);


Background of Study

Breastfeeding according to WHO (1987) is as old as society and it is a natural method of feeding infants in all human societies. Breastfeeding is central to many human rights issues addressed in different rights conventions.

The human rights system was a creation of the 20th century and a comprehensive international development within the United Nations (UN).

The creation was in response to the devastation and inhumanity inflicted by World War II, hence  there was consensus that rules and standards should be established which would uphold human dignity, protect all people from such harm.

Thus a treaty system was then introduced allowing any member state of the United Nations (Nigeria inclusive) to undertake legal obligations to respect, protect and fulfill the most important human rights (United Nations, 2007).

One of the human rights conventions is the convention on the rights of the child (CRC) which sets out basic human rights for children including the rights to survival, development to the fullest, protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation, full  participation  in family cultural and social lives (United Nations, 2007:4).

Other provisions on health, nutrition, education, information and gender discriminations also have implications for breastfeeding rights (Johnson, 1998;United Nations, 2007).

Breastfeeding is therefore far from being only a childrens’ issue, it is also about women and their world. The position and condition of women, including their nutrition, health and survival are major determinants of every child’s welfare.


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Administrative Committee on Co-ordination of Sub-Committee on Nutrition (2004). What  works? A review of the efficacy and effectiveness of nutrition interventions.United Nations: New York.

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