The goal of this study was to see how successful exclusive breastfeeding is for children under the age of five in Benue State, Nigeria. To do this, ten hospitals were chosen at random using a multi-stage sampling process (simple random, stratified, and purposive sampling techniques). The information was gathered through a closed-ended questionnaire. Nursing moms who visited antenatal clinics in the randomly selected hospitals were given 500 questionnaires, of which 455 were completed and returned. To address study questions, percentage frequencies and cross tabulation statistics were used. To test the hypotheses, Chi-square statistics were used to examine associations between demographic factors and breastfeeding behaviors at an alpha level of 0.05. According to the study’s findings, nursing women have a high (99.8%) prevalence of breastfeeding, with 83.5 percent exclusively breastfeeding for up to 4-6 months. However, just 16.5 percent of women supplemented their nursing. The study’s findings revealed that a mother’s age had a substantial impact on whether or not she breastfed her baby exclusively or non-exclusively, with high exclusive breastfeeding among mothers aged 25 and up and low exclusive breastfeeding among younger moms aged 19 and under. The findings also revealed that the mother’s degree of education had a significant impact on the practice of exclusive and non-exclusive breastfeeding of babies, showing that literate moms with at least a secondary education have a high rate of exclusive breastfeeding. Those with low educational level practiced exclusive breastfeeding infrequently or not at all. The following conclusions can be derived from the findings of this study: In Benue State, the age of the mother has an impact on the practice of exclusive and non-exclusive nursing of babies. In Benue State, the practice of exclusive and non-exclusive nursing of babies was influenced by the mother’s level of education. The following suggestions are given based on the findings: Health care personnel should make special interventions for young moms with poor nursing patterns, who are usually between the ages of 15 and 19.




Infant feeding practices are a significant driver of infant nutritional status, which has an impact on infant morbidity and death. Breastfeeding is one of the most important feeding strategies because it is essential for an infant’s growth, development, health, and survival. According to Diallo, Bell, Moutquine, and Garrant (2005), around 5.6 million newborns die each year due to inadequate nutrition. As a result, scientists and health professionals consider breastfeeding to be the best natural nourishment for babies, as breast milk provides all of the nutrients required for a child’s healthy development. Breastfeeding has various advantages, including supplying antibodies to the infant, reducing the risk of illness, and meeting all of the baby’s nutritional demands (Mundi, 2008).

Breast milk provides all of an infant’s energy and nutrients for the first six months of life, and roughly half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, up to one third during the second year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) (2004). In addition, breast milk not only protects the infant from infectious and chronic diseases, but also promotes sensory and cognitive development, as well as contributing to the health and well-being of mothers, assisting in birth spacing, reducing the risk of ovarian and breast cancers, and increasing family and national resources (WHO, 2004).

Breastfeeding is generally done all around the world, though the length varies. In light of this, Because of the numerous benefits that breastfeeding provides for women and newborns, governments have set goals and rates for breastfeeding habits. The Nigerian government has designated six University Teaching Hospitals in Benin, Enugu, Maiduguri, Lagos, Jos, and Port-Harcourt as Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) centers, with the goal of reducing newborn malnutrition, illness, and death, as well as enhancing maternal health. BFHI has hosted a number of programs, seminars, workshops, and conferences targeted at promoting breastfeeding practices since its foundation in 1991. The BFHI has shown to be a successful tool for improving breastfeeding practices around the world (Salami, 2006). In 1998, the government approved a breastfeeding policy to further strengthen the practice of exclusive breastfeeding.

However, only 38% of newborns (38%) were breastfed within one hour after delivery, and only 68 percent started breastfeeding during the first day. In Benue State, 97.8 percent of children born in the five years before to the study ever nursed. Within an hour of birth, 64.1 percent of mothers began breastfeeding. 90.2 percent started nursing within one day, and 38.7% started pre-lacteal feeding. Only 0.5 percent of children were nursed entirely. These proportions show a slight decrease from the 1990, 1991, 1999, 2003, and 2008 surveys (NDHS, 2008).

These changing attitudes on exclusive and non-exclusive breastfeeding have been related to a variety of socio-economic, cultural, and socio-demographic factors that influence children’s development.


Breastfeeding practices have been subjected to a great deal of medical, cultural, and religious scrutiny and discussion. The World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (1993) launched the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in 1991 in an attempt to promote successful breastfeeding globally by the year 2000. The BFHI is a global initiative encompassing 160 countries, 95 of which are in the developing world, including Nigeria (Salami, 2006). The goal of this project is to encourage, defend, and promote exclusive breastfeeding for six months and thereafter until the child reaches the age of 24 months. Breast milk is superior to other types of milk in terms of nourishing human infants and providing higher health advantages, according to several medical literatures.  Despite the fact that nursing is mandatory in the country, the trend is to supplement breast milk with other foods. In general, the practices are more varied, with late commencement of nursing, the administration of substances other than maternal milk, and the introduction of weaning meals within one month of the infant’s birth being the most common. Early commencement of baby breastfeeding was identified as a critical need in the Nigerian Integrated Child Health Cluster Survey (ICHCS, 2003). According to the poll, there was a drop from 56 percent in 2000 to 34 percent in 2002. The Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS, 2008) reported a 13 percent exclusive breastfeeding rate, down from 17 percent in the previous study from 2003.  Given the low number of moms who breastfeed their children, it is unsurprising that Nigeria continues to have a high rate of malnutrition and infant death. Many reasons have been suggested as having an impact on these practices. Other variables, rather than health considerations alone, frequently impact decisions. According to Sika-Bright (2010), the mother’s marital situation, job position, friends’ way of feeding their babies, social support, and the baby’s age are all factors that influence the decision to exclusively or non-exclusively breastfeed. Several more demographic surveys (such as the National Demographic Sample Survey) have been done over the years (NDSS), The previous surveys’ primary focus, while significantly expanded in content, was on emerging issues such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, poverty, gender inequality, fertility, mortality, nuptiality, awareness and use of family planning methods, sexual activity, nutritional status of mothers and infants, early childhood mortality and maternal mortality, maternal and child health, and, of course, breastfeeding. These characteristics, however, are evident in investigations undertaken over time. In the studies, the existence of a large number of moms who practice exclusive and non-exclusive breastfeeding, as well as the associated factors, remained perplexing. It is unclear if demographic factors influence the practice of exclusive and non-exclusive breastfeeding in a substantial or small way. It’s worth noting that, until recently, demographic factors and the practice of exclusive breastfeeding were the main focus of research. In Benue State, none of the research undertaken over the years have focused on demographic characteristics or the efficiency of exclusive breastfeeding in the development of children under the age of five. As a result, the study’s goal was to see how successful exclusive breastfeeding is in the development of children under the age of five in Benue State.


The major goal of this study was to see how successful exclusive breastfeeding is in the development of children under the age of five in Benue State, Nigeria. The study’s particular goals are as follows:

To see if a mother’s age, level of education, or career has an impact on whether or not she exclusively breastfeeds her child.
To determine the efficacy of exclusive breastfeeding for children under the age of five.
To determine if women are aware of the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding and the role it plays in the development of their children (under-fives).
To see if a mother’s decision to exclusively breastfeed is influenced by her family’s opinions on nursing.


The purpose of this investigation was to find answers to the following specific research questions:

Does a mother’s age, level of education, or employment have an impact on whether or not she breastfeeds exclusively?
For children under the age of five, how effective is exclusive breastfeeding?
Do moms understand the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding and the function it plays in the development of children under the age of five?
Does a mother’s decision to exclusively breastfeed be influenced by her family’s opinions on breastfeeding?


This study’s findings will provide insight into regions where health education programs are needed to encourage and support exclusive breastfeeding adoption. Specifically:

It would also help to collect demographic information on exclusive breastfeeding among nursing women who frequent prenatal clinics in Benue State. This can also help nutritionists and health planners in Benue State establish policies and strategies aimed at promoting exclusive breastfeeding among certain groups of mothers and in areas where it is not widely practiced.

The outcomes of the study could help health workers develop unique intervention methods for women in various age groups who don’t exclusively breastfeed.

The outcomes of this study will aid health educators, nurses, nutritionists, and curriculum planners in developing educated breastfeeding programs for nursing moms. In addition, this would modernize the curriculum to prepare students in higher education institutions for future motherhood by teaching them how to nurse their children effectively.


The goal of this study is to see how successful exclusive breastfeeding is in the development of under-five children in Benue State.


The following restrictions were encountered by the researcher. First, some mothers may have underestimated the link between forms of breastfeeding and infant mortality and morbidity because they did not seek post-natal care for further assessment and possibly counseling from health care specialists. These breastfeeding women were not included in the study’s sample. Only breastfeeding women who went to postnatal clinics were included in the study.

The disparities between infants raised by their biological mothers and those raised by significant others were not taken into consideration in the study, which may have resulted in some bias in the decision to exclusively or non-exclusively breastfeed the infant.


Exclusive Nursing: When a newborn obtains exclusively breast milk, this is referred to as exclusive breastfeeding. Except for oral rehydration solution or drops/syrups of vitamins, minerals, or medicines, no other liquids or solids – not even water – are administered.

Under-fives: children under the age of five, particularly those who are not in full-time education.

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