Public Health Project Topics

Effectiveness of Exclusive Breastfeeding as a Tool for the Development of Children in Women of Childbearing Age at Akede Community, Osogbo, Osun State

Effectiveness of Exclusive Breastfeeding as a Tool for the Development of Children in Women of Childbearing Age at Akede Community, Osogbo, Osun State

Effectiveness of Exclusive Breastfeeding as a Tool for the Development of Children in Women of Childbearing Age at Akede Community, Osogbo, Osun State

Chapter One

Objectives of the Study

The study aimed to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To assess the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding among women of childbearing age in Akede community, Osogbo, Osun State.
  2. To examine the factors influencing the practice of exclusive breastfeeding in the community.
  3. To evaluate the impact of exclusive breastfeeding on the developmental outcomes of children in the community.



Conceptual Review

Exclusive Breastfeeding Practices

Exclusive breastfeeding practices, encompassing the act of feeding infants solely with breast milk and excluding any other liquids or solids, form a cornerstone in infant health and development. In the Akede community, understanding the intricacies of exclusive breastfeeding practices is paramount for promoting optimal child well-being and aligning with global health standards (Dukuzumuremyi et al., 2020; Hossain et al., 2018).

The definition and components of exclusive breastfeeding are critical aspects to consider. Exclusive breastfeeding involves providing infants with breast milk without the introduction of water, formula, or complementary foods. It is a comprehensive approach that relies solely on the nutritional content and immunological benefits of breast milk (Gertosio et al., 2021). The components of breast milk are multifaceted, including essential nutrients, antibodies, and enzymes crucial for infant growth, cognitive development, and overall health (Ogbo et al., 2018). This underscores the significance of understanding the depth of exclusive breastfeeding practices, as it directly influences the holistic well-being of infants in their formative months.

Global health recommendations strongly advocate for exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of an infant’s life (Victora et al., 2021). The World Health Organization (WHO) and other international health bodies emphasize exclusive breastfeeding as a gold standard for infant nutrition, promoting optimal growth, and reducing the risk of various illnesses (Neves et al., 2021). These recommendations are rooted in extensive research that underscores the short-term and long-term benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, making it imperative for communities like Akede to align their practices with these global standards (Agho et al., 2021).

Socio-cultural factors play a pivotal role in influencing exclusive breastfeeding practices in Akede. Local beliefs, traditions, and societal norms contribute significantly to shaping maternal attitudes and behaviours regarding breastfeeding (Idris et al., 2021). Understanding these socio-cultural dynamics is essential for developing effective interventions tailored to the specific context of Akede. It is crucial to identify and address potential barriers such as cultural misconceptions or stigmas surrounding breastfeeding that might hinder the adoption of exclusive breastfeeding practices (Salami, 2022).

In Akede, where cultural diversity and traditional practices hold sway, the interplay between these factors and exclusive breastfeeding practices becomes nuanced. A holistic approach that integrates cultural sensitivity into health promotion initiatives can foster a supportive environment for exclusive breastfeeding. By acknowledging and addressing these sociocultural factors, interventions can be designed to resonate with the community’s values, thus enhancing the adoption and sustenance of exclusive breastfeeding practices (Cascone et al., 2019). In doing so, the community can better align with global health recommendations and optimize the health outcomes of its youngest members.

Child Development and Well-being

Child development and well-being are intricately linked to exclusive breastfeeding practices, with profound implications for various facets of a child’s health. Understanding key indicators of child health, the long-term impact of exclusive breastfeeding, and the nutritional and immunological aspects involved is crucial for shaping comprehensive healthcare strategies in communities like Akede (Victora et al., 2021; Al-Safar et al., 2020).

Key indicators of child health serve as benchmarks to assess the overall well-being of infants. Exclusive breastfeeding contributes significantly to these indicators by ensuring that infants receive optimal nutrition during the critical first six months of life (Victora et al., 2021). In Akede, where access to healthcare resources may vary, understanding these key indicators becomes vital for identifying potential areas of intervention and providing targeted support to mothers and infants (Idris et al., 2021). Monitoring indicators such as growth patterns, cognitive development, and overall health status enables healthcare professionals to tailor interventions to the specific needs of the community.





The methodology employed in this research aimed to rigorously address the objectives set forth, focusing on understanding exclusive breastfeeding practices in the Akede community. Drawing from various research philosophies and approaches (Saunders et al., 2019), this chapter outlines the research design, population, sampling techniques, sources and methods of data collection, data analysis methods, validity, reliability, and ethical considerations.

 Research Design

A quantitative survey research design was deemed most appropriate for this study, facilitating the collection of numerical data to be subjected to statistical analysis. This choice aligns seamlessly with the primary objective of the research, which revolves around evaluating the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding in Akede and identifying the various factors influencing this practice. As emphasized by Bell (2022), quantitative methods excel in offering a structured understanding of practices, attitudes, and knowledge within a given population.

The decision to employ a quantitative design is particularly justified by the nature of the study’s objectives and the need for comprehensive insights into exclusive breastfeeding practices. Quantitative methods allow for the systematic collection of data from a large sample, offering a broader perspective on the prevalence and associated factors within the community (Saunders et al., 2019). This aligns intending to assess the prevalence and delve into the multifaceted aspects influencing exclusive breastfeeding in Akede.

Moreover, the quantitative survey design is well-suited for large-scale studies, making it an ideal choice for research endeavours seeking to generalize findings to a broader population. This design’s capacity to generate generalizable findings adds a layer of robustness to the study outcomes, enhancing the credibility and applicability of the research findings beyond the immediate context of Akede (Saunders et al., 2019). The broad reach of quantitative methods ensures that the insights derived from the study can be extrapolated to inform similar communities or contexts, contributing to the broader discourse on exclusive breastfeeding practices.

Population of the Study

The target population for this study comprised women of childbearing age in the Akede community, Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria. The decision to focus on this demographic was informed by the relevance of their experiences in shaping exclusive breastfeeding practices. A target population of 171 respondents was identified based on the approximate number of women of childbearing age in Akede.



Data Presentation




Summary of Findings

The comprehensive study conducted in the Akede community, Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria, aimed to explore and understand the dynamics of exclusive breastfeeding practices among women of childbearing age. The findings, derived from a quantitative survey and supported by statistical analyses, provide a detailed overview of the prevailing attitudes, behaviours, and perceptions related to exclusive breastfeeding in the community.

One of the key findings from the study is the overwhelmingly positive perception of exclusive breastfeeding within Akede. Tables 4.6 to 4.8 reveal that a substantial majority of respondents hold favourable views regarding the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding, the consistency of mothers in adhering to it, and the active support and promotion of exclusive breastfeeding within the community. These positive perceptions are vital for creating a conducive environment that fosters exclusive breastfeeding practices, aligning with global health recommendations and contributing to improved child health and well-being.

Cultural beliefs play a significant role in shaping breastfeeding practices in Akede, as evidenced by Table 4.10. A considerable proportion of respondents strongly agreed or agreed that cultural beliefs significantly impact the decision to practice exclusive breastfeeding. Understanding and respecting these cultural dynamics is crucial for developing culturally sensitive interventions that can effectively promote and support exclusive breastfeeding practices.

Socio-economic factors emerged as influential determinants of exclusive breastfeeding practices, as highlighted in Table 4.11. A majority of respondents acknowledged that factors such as income and education influence the practice of exclusive breastfeeding. This finding underscores the need for targeted interventions and support systems that consider the socio-economic context of the community. Addressing these factors can contribute to the promotion of equitable and accessible breastfeeding practices.

Healthcare services, as indicated in Table 4.12, were recognized as playing a crucial role in promoting exclusive breastfeeding. The acknowledgement of the role of healthcare services in supporting breastfeeding practices emphasizes the importance of strengthening healthcare infrastructure and ensuring that healthcare professionals actively promote and support exclusive breastfeeding.

Maternal employment emerged as a potential barrier to exclusive breastfeeding, as suggested by Table 4.13. A significant proportion of respondents agreed that maternal employment poses a challenge to exclusive breastfeeding. This finding highlights the need for workplace policies and support mechanisms that enable working mothers to sustain exclusive breastfeeding practices.

The perceived impact of exclusive breastfeeding on child health was overwhelmingly positive. Tables 4.14 to 4.17 demonstrate that a substantial majority of respondents agreed that exclusive breastfeeding enhances overall health, cognitive development, and emotional well-being, and has long-term benefits for child development. These positive perceptions align with the extensive body of research supporting the health benefits of exclusive breastfeeding and indicate a well-informed community.

The One-Sample Statistics in Table 4.18 provided mean scores for the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding, factors influencing its practice, and its impact on child development. The mean scores, coupled with the associated t-tests, revealed statistically significant associations. This statistical validation strengthens the credibility of the findings and underscores the importance of factors such as maternal education and socio-economic conditions in exclusive breastfeeding practices and their perceived impact on child development.

In summary, the study’s findings suggest a positive environment for exclusive breastfeeding practices in the Akede community, marked by favourable perceptions, cultural considerations, and awareness of the health benefits. However, the influence of socio-economic factors and the potential challenges posed by maternal employment highlight areas for targeted interventions and community-based initiatives. Strengthening healthcare services and workplace support can further contribute to the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding. Overall, the study provides valuable insights that can inform evidence-based interventions, policies, and educational programs tailored to the unique context of the Akede community, ultimately contributing to the enhancement of child health and well-being.


In conclusion, the statistical analyses conducted to test the hypotheses in this study have provided valuable insights into the association between maternal education, socioeconomic factors, exclusive breastfeeding practices, and developmental outcomes in the Akede community. The results reject the null hypotheses, indicating that there are significant associations between these variables.

The first hypothesis, asserting no significant association between maternal education and the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding, was contradicted by the findings. Maternal education emerged as a notable factor influencing exclusive breastfeeding practices in the community. This underscores the importance of educational interventions aimed at improving breastfeeding knowledge and practices among mothers in Akede.

Similarly, the second hypothesis suggesting no significant influence of socio-economic factors on the practice of exclusive breastfeeding was refuted by the data. Socio-economic factors, including income and education, were identified as influential determinants. Addressing socio-economic disparities is crucial for fostering more equitable breastfeeding practices.

Lastly, the third hypothesis proposing no difference in developmental outcomes between children exclusively breastfed and those who are not was also rejected. The study found that exclusive breastfeeding is associated with perceived positive developmental outcomes. This underscores the significance of promoting exclusive breastfeeding for the holistic development of children in Akede.

These findings collectively emphasize the need for targeted interventions and community-specific programs that consider educational and socio-economic contexts to promote and support exclusive breastfeeding practices, ultimately contributing to the overall well-being of children in the Akede community.


The following recommendations were proposed for this study:

  1. Community-Based Educational Programs: Develop and implement community-based educational programs targeting women of childbearing age in Akede. These programs should focus on raising awareness about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, addressing myths, and providing practical information on proper breastfeeding techniques.
  2. Maternal Education Initiatives: Collaborate with local educational institutions to implement initiatives that enhance maternal education in the community. By empowering women through education, they can make informed decisions about exclusive breastfeeding, leading to improved practices.
  3. Socio-Economic Support Programs: Establish support programs that address socio-economic factors influencing exclusive breastfeeding. These programs could include initiatives to improve access to healthcare services, provide financial assistance to families with low income, and create breastfeeding-friendly workplaces.
  4. Cultural Sensitivity Training: Conduct cultural sensitivity training for healthcare professionals, community leaders, and educators. Understanding and respecting local cultural beliefs and practices regarding breastfeeding is crucial for developing effective interventions that align with community values.
  5. Enhanced Healthcare Services: Strengthen healthcare services in Akede by improving the availability and accessibility of breastfeeding-friendly facilities. This can include establishing lactation rooms in healthcare centres and ensuring that health practitioners receive training on supporting exclusive breastfeeding.
  6. Peer Support Networks: Establish peer support networks for mothers in Akede. Connecting experienced mothers with those who are newly entering motherhood can provide a valuable platform for sharing experiences, advice, and encouragement related to exclusive breastfeeding.
  7. Policy Advocacy: Advocate for the integration of breastfeeding-friendly policies at the community and institutional levels. Encourage the development and enforcement of policies that support breastfeeding in public spaces and workplaces, fostering a conducive environment for nursing mothers.

Limitations of the Study

While the study aimed to provide comprehensive insights into exclusive breastfeeding practices in Akede, it is essential to acknowledge certain limitations. Firstly, the reliance on self-reported data through structured questionnaires may introduce social desirability bias, as participants might provide responses they perceive as socially acceptable. This could potentially affect the accuracy of information regarding exclusive breastfeeding practices, as participants may overstate their adherence to recommended behaviours.

Secondly, the cross-sectional nature of the study design limits the ability to establish causal relationships. The data collected at a single point in time provides a snapshot of exclusive breastfeeding practices and associated factors, but it doesn’t allow for the identification of temporal sequences or changes over time. Longitudinal studies could provide a more nuanced understanding of how exclusive breastfeeding practices evolve within the community. Additionally, the study’s focus on a specific community, Akede, may limit the generalizability of findings to broader populations. Cultural and contextual factors unique to Akede might not be representative of other communities, necessitating caution in extrapolating the results to different settings. Despite these limitations, the study offers valuable insights that can inform targeted interventions and future research endeavours in the field of maternal and child health in Akede and similar communities.


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