EFFECTIVENESS OF EXCLUSIVE BREASTFEEDING IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF UNDER 5 CHILDREN
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Adequate nutrition during infancy and early childhood is essential to ensure the growth, health and development of children to their full potential (WHO, 2009). To ensure adequate nutrition, feeding is important. Among infant feeding methods, breastfeeding is of a particular importance. It has been recognized worldwide that breastfeeding is beneficial for both the mother and child, as breast is considered the best source of nutrition for an infant (Ku C.M. et al., 2009), Breastfeeding is the process by which human breast milk is fed to an infant. (Wikipedia). Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) can be defined as a practice whereby infants receive only breast milk without mixing it with water other liquids, tea, herbal preparations or food in the first six months of life, with the exceptions of vitamins, mineral supplements or medicines. (Nkala T.E. et al., 2011). Exclusive breastfeeding is a cornerstone of child survival and child health because it provides essential, irreplaceable nutrition for a child’s growth and development. It serves as a child’s first immunization providing protection from respiratory infections, diarrhoel disease, and other potentially life-threatening ailments (Horta B.L. and Victoria CG. 2013). Exclusive breastfeeding is an important public health strategy for improving children’s and mother’s health by reducing child morbidity and mortality and helping to control healthcare costs in society (Al-Binali A.M, 2012). Additionally, exclusive breastfeeding is one of the major strategies which help the most widely known and effective intervention for preventing early childhood deaths. Every year, optimal breastfeeding practices can prevent about 1.4 million deaths worldwide among children under five (Sinshaw Y, et al., 2015). Also, EBF supports healthy brain development and it is associated with higher intelligence tests among children (UNICEF. 2018). Early child development encompasses a wide range of processes that takes place from conception till the age of five (UNICEF, 2018, Victoria CG, Horta BL, et al., 2015). Hoefer and Breastfeeding had traditionally been associated with the development of strong immune system for babies, the single most reason pediatrics always recommend six months exclusive breastfeeding period to mothers. Studies currently have tried to address other reasons breastfeeding should be treated with importance. One of these reasons that has received renowned attention is the connection between breastfeeding and cognitive development (Ellen Garcia, 2012). Hoefer and Hardy in 1929 described that breastfed babies have better cognitive outcomes in childhood than artificially fed ones, when they conducted a study on later development of breast fed and artificially fed babies.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Generally, breastfeeding is been practiced all over the world, with variation in duration, though it has also undergone different medical, cultural and sometimes religious challenges and debate, especially when it has to do with child development, and the topic has survived this challenges and debate. However, very few studies have emerged on the effectiveness of exclusive breastfeeding in relation to child’s development. Therefore this research focuses on examining the effectiveness of exclusive breastfeeding in the development of under five children.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This study sought to provide answers to the following questions:
i)How effective is exclusive breastfeeding for under five children?
ii) What benefits do exclusively fed children enjoy?
iii) What developments occur in under five children as a result of exclusive breastfeeding?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings of this research will supply adequate understanding of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) and it’s effectiveness in child development, especially in a child under the age of five. Furthermore it will serve as reorientation to nursing mothers who have been practicing exclusive breastfeeding.
The findings of this research will help maternal healthcare providers, nutritionists, and curriculum planners to develop informed programs for pregnant women and nursing mothers. In addition. It will bring to knowledge the benefits and roles of exclusive breastfeeding in the developmental stage of under five children. Also, it will foster health education campaigns in required areas thereby leading to the promotion and adoption of EBF by pregnant women and nursing mothers.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research project is focused on examining the effectiveness of exclusive breastfeeding in the development of under five children.
1.8 LIMITATIONS OF STUDY
The researcher experienced the following limitations:
This research did not observe the difference between infants raised by their biological mothers and those raised by their foster mothers, and this could involve some bias or partiality in the decision of breastfeeding the infants, either exclusively or non-exclusively. Based on this, the researcher urged and convinced the nursing mother to provide accurate information on the on the feeding method they adopted for their infants.
Time was also a limiting factor, notwithstanding the researcher was able to complete the work successfully.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
1. Effectiveness: according to Oxford Dictionary is defined as the degree to which something is successful in producing a desired result; success.
2. Exclusive Breastfeeding (EBF) can be defined as a practice whereby infants receive only breast milk without mixing it with water other liquids, tea, herbal preparations or food in the first six months of life, with the exceptions of vitamins, mineral supplements or medicines. (Nkala T.E. et. al. 2011).
3. Development: according to Oxford Advance Dictionary, it is defined as the gradual growth of something so that it becomes more advanced and stronger.
4. Under five children: this refers to children or infants under the age of five.
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