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Factors influencing the practice of exclusive breastfeeding among nursing mothers in a peri-urban district of Ghana.

BMC Res Notes; 10(1): 466, 2017 Sep 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28882162


Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) is one of the optimal infant and young child feeding practices. Globally, <40% of infants under 6 months of age are exclusively breastfed. In Ghana, 63% of children <6 months are exclusively breastfed which is far less than the 100% recommended by the United Nation Children Emergency Fund. This study was carried out to find out the factors that influence the practice of exclusive breastfeeding in the district.


A cross-sectional quantitative study was conducted using structured questionnaires. A convenience sampling technique was employed to select 380 nursing mothers who attended postnatal care at the postnatal clinic in all the 13 health facilities with child welfare clinics (both public and private) and were available on the day of data collection. Data were analysed using frequency and CHISQ tables.


There was a significant association between socio-demographic characteristics of mothers such as age (p = 0.129), religion (p = 0.035) type of employment (p = 0.005) and the practice of exclusive breastfeeding. Again, there was significant relationship between mothers' knowledge on EBF in terms of sources of information about EBF (p = 0.000), steps taken by mothers who perceived not to have breast milk (p = 0.000), some medical conditions of nursing mothers (p = 0.000) and the practice of EBF.


Most nursing mothers use infant formula feeds as either supplement or substitute for breast milk based on their perception that breast milk may not be sufficient for the babies despite the high cost of these artificial milk. This puts the babies at a higher risk of compromised health and malnutrition which has the potential of increasing infant mortality. Most mothers are not practicing exclusive breastfeeding because their spouses and family members do not allow them.