Men’s involvement in Early Exclusive Breastfeeding (EEBF) - “a qualitative study of the causes of low men’s involvement in early exclusive breast feeding in Nigeria”
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Datahub360, Abuja - Nigeria, Nigeria
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1195
It is believed that breast milk alone is all an infant need to survive. Out of the 6.9 million children under the age of five who were reported dead globally in 2011, a million lives would have been saved by efforts like exclusive breastfeeding. Although the rates of exclusive breastfeeding for the past two decades have been increasing, it is still a long road to achieving the 100% global target coverage recommended by UNICEF. In Nigeria, mens participation in exclusive breastfeeding is perceived to be lower than in other countries. This situation is assumed to hinder men’s support for exclusive breastfeeding. Thus, this study aims to explore the factors responsible for low mens involvement in exclusive breastfeeding.

A qualitative research approach was adopted to properly explore the attitudes, practices, and factors responsible for men’s low participation in Early Exclusive Breastfeeding (EEBF). Four (4) focus group discussions (FGDs) were carried out with thirty-two (n=32) men who were recent fathers aged 20 - 40 in four (4) states with each group comprised of 8 men using a purposive sampling method. The data was analyzed using thematic analysis. NVIVO software was used for coding and data management.

Findings showed that attitudes and cultural practices/beliefs influence Men’s decision to support or not support exclusive breastfeeding, limited men’s knowledge and lack of access to exclusive breastfeeding information impede men’s readiness to support their wives/partners in exclusive breastfeeding, and men’s perception of exclusive breastfeeding as women’s role (gender role) hinders men from contributing in exclusive breastfeeding.

This study revealed that men’s low involvement in exclusive breastfeeding is linked to attitudes and practices, knowledge limitation and lack of access to exclusive breastfeeding information, and gender perception of exclusive breastfeeding. Hence, this study recommends that exclusive breastfeeding interventions should target both men and women.

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