Effect of Maternal Employment on Infant Feeding Practices in Southwestern Nigeria


The study investigated the effect of maternal employment on breastfeeding and child care practices of mothers in Southwestern Nigeria. Information was collected on maternal socio economic characteristics, care and feeding practices of 450 mothers selected by multi stage random sampling procedure from both urban and rural communities. Results revealed that 46.9% mothers spent more than 8 hours at work, 62.7% worked outside their homes and 73.1% spent about 17 - 24 hours with their children per day. Children received prelacteal feeds such as water (61.1%), concoction (34%), glucose (32%) and infant formula (54.7%). Mean number of breastfeeding per day was 9.7 ± 3.9; only 24% were exclusively breastfed, 37.3% introduced complementary foods at 6 months and 68.6% terminated breastfeeding between 13 - 18 months. Mothers that were engaged in work outside their home in offices and factories practiced exclusive breastfeeding. Mothers below 30 years of age used prelacteal feeds, did not practice exclusive breastfeeding (58.3%), terminated breastfeeding earlier and combined the use of feeding bottles, plates and cups for feeding (50.3%) when compared with mothers between 40 - 50 years. Mothers in the rural areas used water as prelacteal feeds (85.3%) mothers in urban communities used infant formula (65.4%). A significant association was found between maternal places of employment. It is strongly associated with the timing of introduction of complementary foods (p < 0.02) and the number of snack consumed/day (p < 0.03). Conclusively, maternal place of work positively influences the adoption of appropriate infant feeding practice. Working mothers should receive more support in the work place for them to practice appropriate feeding practices.

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Ogunba, B. (2015) Effect of Maternal Employment on Infant Feeding Practices in Southwestern Nigeria. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 6, 597-604. doi: 10.4236/fns.2015.67063.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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