Exclusive breastfeeding is an infant consumption of human milk with no supplementation of any type (water, juice, nonhuman milk, and food) except for minerals and medications. Breast milk is the most important, fast and save food for infants. Breastfeeding provides babies with superior nutrient which are capable of improving the immunity and possibly reduce health care spending. Avoiding colostrum which reinforces immune system and gives some pre-lacteal feed and bottle feeding are contributory factors for preventable diseases which ultimately lead to high infant mortality. The main objective of this study is to assess knowledge, attitude and factors that influence exclusive breastfeeding. This study will be carried out in Molyko health area involving 110 mothers who will be recruited through a convenient sampling technique and data will be collected using a pre-tested questionnaire which will be designed with respect to the specific objectives of the study. This data will be analyzed using Microsoft excel 2013, inferential and comparative statistical approach which include organization, presentation, and summarization of data using frequency, bar chart, pie chart and standard deviation to distribute scores among subset categories.
1.1 Background of the study
Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) is consumption of human milk with no supplementation of any type (water, juice, nonhuman milk, and no food) except for vitamins, minerals and medications by an infant. Breast milk is the most important and safe food for infants (kramar and Mananga 2014).it provides babies with superior nutrient that are capable of improving the immunity and possibly reduces health care spending (WHO, 2001, Jones et al2003). Avoiding colostrums which reinforces immune system and giving some pre-lacteal feed and bottle feeding are contributory factors for preventable diseases which ultimately lead to high infant mortality (Igbal et al, 2010). Over 85% of mothers globally do not implement WHO breastfeeding recommendation with only 42% (57 million) initiating breastfeeding within the first hour after birth. About 35-36% of babies less than four months are exclusively breastfed and 58% continue breastfeeding up to two years (WHO, 2003, Mangasaryan et al 2012). Studies reveals that most mothers started to exclusively breastfeed their infants at birth and the rate decreased significantly about two or more months later (UNICEF, 2007, Qasem et al, 2015). Approximately half of the 10 million deaths of infants under five years old yearly are due to direct or indirect consequences of malnutrition and a greater proportion of these deaths are linked with improper breastfeeding practices (WHO, 2003, UNICEF, 2007)
Breastfeeding rates vary both between and within countries. In Cameroon a study conducted in Efoulan health District in Yaoundé, central region of Cameroon shows that between 18-20% of infants are exclusively breastfed for the first six months after birth (WHO 2013). Breastfeeding was practiced by 99.48% of mothers knew that they had to exclusively breastfeed up to 6 months, and 20% effectively breastfed up to 6 months. The mean duration of breastfeeding was 5.06 months and negatively correlated with the number of children and the profession of the mother. In 69.74% of the women, nothing was given to the baby before the first breastfeed. Discontinuation of breastfeeding was done averagely around 15.24 months and earlier in married women and those with a higher educational level
The benefits of breastfeeding are numerous ranging from providing the infants with antibodies to helping ward off risks of illnesses and providing the baby with hisher nutritional needs (Mundi 2008). According to(WHO,2004), breast milk provides all the energy and nutrients that the infants needs for six months of life, and it provides about half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, up to one third during the second year of life. Furthermore, breast milk not only protects the infants against infectious and chronic disease, but also promotes sensory and cognitive development, in addition to contributing to the health and wellbeing of mothers, helping in birth spacing, reducing the risks of ovarian and breast cancer as well as increasing family and nutritional resources (WHO, 2004)
According to WHO 2013 health outcomes in developed countries differ substantially for mothers and infants who formulary feed compared with those who breastfed. For infants, not being breastfed is associated with an increased incidence of infectious morbidity, as well as elevated risks of childhood obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, leukemia, sudden infant death syndrome, otitis media, gastroenteritis, and pneumonia. For mothers, failure to breastfeed is associated with increased incidence of premenopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer retained gestational weight gain, type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome (WHO, 2004, UNICEF, 2006)
The importance of breastfeeding is well recognized and applies to mothers and children. Breast milk is uniquely suited to the human infant nutritional needs and is a live substance with unparalleled immunological and anti-inflammatory properties that protect against a host of illnesses and diseases for both mothers and children (Lawrence, 2010). Breastfeeding and longer duration of breastfeeding are associated with better maternal health outcomes such as reduction of uterine, ovarian and breast cancer (Chung, et al., 2007). Another importance of breastfeeding is the desire to experience a sense of bonding or closeness with their babies (Baiyk et al., 2009; Neifert et al., 2009). Some women indicate that the psychological benefit of breastfeeding include bonding closely with their babies, the most important influence on their decision to breastfeed (Bai YK et al 2009). Also breastfeeding reduces the cost of buying formula feeding which help family save money (Ball and Wright, 1999). Increasing rates of breastfeeding can help reduce the prevalence of various illnesses and health conditions which in turn results in lower health care costs. Also breastfeeding reduces the risks of infants having illnesses such as sudden infant death syndrome, hospitalization for lower respiratory tract infection in infancy, atopic dermatitis, childhood leukemia, childhood obesity, childhood asthma type 1 diabetes and episodes of diarrhea.
1.2 Statement of The Problem
Breastfeeding practices have undergone tremendous medical, cultural and sometimes religious challenges and debate. In an attempt to successfully achieve exclusive breastfeeding globally by the year 2000, WHO and UNICEF (1993) launched the baby friendly hospital initiative (BFHI) in 1991. The baby friendly hospital initiative is a global effort involving 160 countries, of 95 which are in developing world and it was to support, protect and promote the practice of exclusive breastfeeding for six months and thereafter 24 months of age. Several studies establish the superiority of breast milk over other types of milk for the nourishment of infant by offering better health benefits. The decisions to exclusively breastfeed a child are very often influenced more by other factor than health considerations alone. According to sirka-Bright (2010) the factors which influence the decisions to exclusively or non-exclusively breastfeed include mother’s marital status, employment status, friends methods of feeding their babies, social support and baby’s age. Similar factors also include mother’s level of education; occupation and income level influence the mother’s choice of exclusive breastfeeding. The principal focus of attention has been demographic factors and the practice of exclusive breastfeeding. Buea is a cosmopolitan city with people actively involved in activities that might cause them not to have exclusive breastfeeding knowledge. This study necessitated to be curved out to determine the effectiveness of exclusive breastfeeding in the development of under five children in the Molyko Health Area
1.3 Research objectives
1.3.1 Main objective
Assess knowledge, importance and reasons for not practicing exclusive breastfeeding for the development of under five children in the Molyko Health Area
1.3.2 Specific Objectives
To determine mothers knowledge on the benefits and role that exclusive breastfeeding plays in the development of a childTo determine the importance of exclusive breastfeeding in the development of under –five childrenTo determine the reasons for not practicing exclusive breastfeeding and its effects.
1.4 Research questions
1.4.1 Main Research Question
To assess knowledge, importance and reasons for not practicing exclusive breastfeeding for the development of under five children.
1.4.2 Specific Questions
What knowledge do mothers have on the benefits and role exclusive breastfeeding plays in the development of a child?What are the importance of exclusive breastfeeding in the development of an under five child?What reasons do mother have for not practicing exclusive breastfeeding and its effects?
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