Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Assessment of Hindrances to Exclusive Breastfeeding among Mothers in Vungu

Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

Assessment of Hindrances to Exclusive Breastfeeding among Mothers in Vungu

Article excerpt

Abstract

Incidence of exclusive breastfeeding is declining in almost all parts of the world despite all its benefits. The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and this reduces child mortality rate by 13% which rose from 8.2% in 2009 to 8.6% currently in Zimbabwe. In Gweru rural district none of the mothers exclusively breastfed at six months in year 2010. These rates threaten the efforts to reduce child mortality. Hence the purpose of this study is to find the reasons why mothers are not exclusively breastfeeding. The results of this study are intended to assist Zimbabwe's Ministry of Health and Child Welfare in mapping up appropriate intervention strategies, to boost mothers' conformance to exclusive breastfeeding which will enhance the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) number 4 that aims to reduce infant mortality by 2/3 by 2015. This study present finding in which 100 mothers from ten clinics were selected using convenient proportional stratified sampling technique, structured questionnaires were used. Alpha coefficient of 0.872 showed that the instrument was fit. Traditional beliefs, cultural expectations, patriarch, working conditions, ignorance, religious beliefs, maternal negative attitude, maternal negative feelings, personal beliefs and mother in laws were found to be the hindrances to exclusive breastfeeding. However, mothers sometimes exclusively breastfeed and have never practised exclusive replacement feeding. Complementary and mixed feeding was rare. Eighty eight percent of mothers exclusively breastfeed at one month, twenty seven percent were still exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months. This implies that generally, there is a trend that exclusive breastfeeding rates declines as the age of the child increases. Basing on these results the recommendations made were that mothers should be educated on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding both to the mother and the child. The myth that infants are not satisfied with the mother's milk until 6 months of age should be demystified and the Ministry of health and child welfare should come up with programmes that will encourage mothers who are exclusively breastfeeding so that they continue. Mothers should be enlightened on why they are encouraged to exclusively breastfeed if they are found to be HIV positive and the male counterparts should also be educated on the benefits of Exclusive breastfeeding. However, limitations of the study were that Social and cultural beliefs have an influence on an individual's perception hence some mothers had challenges of opening up.

Keywords: exclusive- breastfeeding, infant, caregiver, mother.

INTRODUCTION

Together with adolescence, infancy is one of the periods of rapid human development (Murdock, 2002). Periods of rapid development in any organism often demand the support of good nutrition (Bronner, 2006). Unlike adolescence however, infancy is the most vulnerable period in childhood because the infant is fully dependent on the mother's milk for its nutrition (Barasi, 2003). Breast milk contains just the right balance of nutrients that provide the infant with antibodies to fight some common childhood illnesses, and it is unique in that it decreases the risk of food allergies (Murdock, 2002).

Breastfeeding is the feeding of an infant or young child with breast milk directly from the breast rather than from a feeding bottle or other container (Payne & Dale, 2009). Breast milk is rich in protein enzymes, hormones, growth factors, minerals, electrolytes, vitamins and water (Riordin & Aurbach, 1999). It also contains long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential for brain development and offers protection against a host of environmental insults to which the infant had not been previously exposed, hence allowing the immune system to develop naturally without undue premature stress (Ogundele & Coulter, 2003). These components again protect infants against malnutrition, which is rampant in Southern Africa (Palne, 2001). …

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