Maternal education, breastfeeding behaviours and lactational amenorrhoea: studies among two ethnic communities in Ile Ife, Nigeria.Nutr Health 1996; 11(2):115-26NH
Breastfeeding is an important child survival strategy. This report aims to describe the unique contributions of education, ethnicity, and other variables to breastfeeding outcomes. The study was conducted among two groups of lactating mothers in Ile Ife, southwestern Nigeria, using structured questionnaires focusing on their breastfeeding history and current practice. Breastfeeding initiation was delayed in both groups, and primary education is the most significant predictor of initiation of breastfeeding within 6 hours of delivery (OR = 3.92, p = 0.0117). Breastfeeding duration (SD) was 13.7 (4.3) months for the Yorubas and 17.5 (3.4) for the Hausas. Its only significant predictors are education (p < = 0.0001), with an average decrease in breastfeeding duration of 3.2 and 6.6 months with mother's education to the primary and post-primary levels respectively, compared with mothers with no education. In turn, breastfeeding duration is the most significant predictor of the duration of lactational amenorrhoea (p = 0.0000). Mothers with some formal education are also more likely to start feeding human milk substitutes at 2 weeks (OR = 3.83, p = 0.024). The most important variable determining breastfeeding in this study is education. The educated mother is more likely to be involved in economic activity away from the home. To protect breastfeeding in these communities, there is a need for programmes to support the breastfeeding mother who works.