Breastfeeding and Emotions of Infants of Working Mothers in Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba - Akoko in Ondo State

Article excerpt

The study examined breast feeding and emotions of infants of working mothers in Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko in Ondo State. A total number of 150 mothers randomly selected from different unit of the University were used as research subjects. The subjects were exposed to Maternal Employment Questionnaire (MEQ) consisting of fifteen items. Three hypotheses were postulated. The data were analyzed using chi-square statistics. Results showed that breastfeeding, emotional development and the quality of the day care were significantly related to maternal employment.

Keywords: Breastfeeding, infants, emotional development, maternal employment.

Introduction

The composition of families differs from one family to the other. The uniqueness of families depends on their type and sizes. Every member of the family contributes directly or indirectly to the healthy well being of the family. The roles of a mother in a family cannot be overemphasized. This is because she serves as the link between the father and the child or the children. The attitude of a mother to an infant in a family is very important in sustaining the family. The healthy development of an infant depends on a loving supportive family. (Samour, Helm and Lang, 2000). A growing baby depends completely on its mother for nutrition especially the first six months of birth (Matthew, Youngman and Neil, 2004). In a developing country, breastfeeding in particular may be the only way a mother can feed her infants adequately (Kramer, 2003).

It is obvious in the Nigerian society today that the standard of living has greatly increased and there is need for family's economy to be augmented and this had prompted mothers to look for employment in order for the family's financial life to be improved. The movement of women into work force has created new family challenges. Balancing work and family is now a problem for mothers (Lamanna and Riedmann, 2003). The time squeeze felt by mothers trying to juggle the demand of work and family is increasingly being transferred to their children's lives. Mothers rush every morning to get to their places of work in good time.

Sometimes, the baby is denied of breast milk before the mother goes to work, in order to meet up with time. As a result of this, some emotional attitude like shouting and creaming are transferred to the child. It has been observed that babies of working mothers cry a lot in the day care centres. And this sometimes forces the caregiver to give such babies drugs to calm them down and eventually makes them sleep. Apart from this, food like pap is forcefully given to them to make them keep quiet.

Women who work full time outside the home are least likely to breastfeed their babies (Kramer, 2003) .There had been many researches done on the benefit of breastfeeding. A review of some studies shows that breasting reduces the risk of childhood obesity to a moderate extent (Dewey, 2003). Home, Parslow, Ferens, Waits and Adamson (2004) observed that breastfeeding reduces incidence of Sudden Infants TDeath Syndrome (SIDs).

Breast feeding reduces childhood cancer and incidence of breast cancer in mothers and their female off springs (Eisinger and Burke, 2003). Studies carried out by Noguera-Obenza, Ochoa and Gomez (2003) revealed that breastfeeding prevents and reduces diarrhea, respiratory infection (such as Pneumonia bronchitis), bacterial and urinary tract infections and otitis media (a middle ear infection). Rescott (2003) observed that breastfeeding reduces fewer allergies.

The infant stage of a child is the early period of his life from birth to 2years. It is this stage that most children are exposed to daycare centres because mothers must go back to work after their maternity leaves. The detachment from mother is not always easy for the child. It is at this stage that the emotional development of the child is either improved upon or disrupted. Though breastfeeding is very important, mothers who are employed have to go back to work. …