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ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 57-69

The roles of social networks and social support on breastfeeding practices in Nigeria


1 Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, USA
2 Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, USA

Correspondence Address:
Emeka P Agudile
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115,
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijmh.IJMH_44_19

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Background: The global prevalence of early breastfeeding initiation, exclusive breastfeeding, and avoidance of prelacteal feeding has remained below the recommendations by the World Health Organization. Nigeria has the lowest rates of exclusive breastfeeding and the highest rates of prelacteal feeding in sub-Saharan Africa. It has been shown that social support is positively associated with healthy breastfeeding practices. Materials and Methods: This study used data from the household interviews of the Pilot Study on the Quality of Care in Antenatal Care and Patterns of Maternal Health Behavior in Nigeria, a cross-sectional survey of women (n = 455) in Nigeria to investigate the association between social support and breastfeeding practices among women. We conducted multivariable logistic regression analyses to explore the association between sources and types of social supports and breastfeeding in Nigeria. Results: We found that supports from mothers and fathers were associated with a higher prevalence of early breastfeeding initiation (odds ratio [OR] = 1.91; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.03–3.53; P = 0.039) and avoidance of prelacteal feeding (OR = 2.20; 95% CI = 1.08–4.49; P = 0.030), respectively. On the other hand, supports from neighbors (OR = 0.40; 95% CI = 0.24–0.64; P < 0.001) and mothers-in-law (OR = 0.46; 95% CI = 0.22–0.96; P = 0.039) were negatively associated with early breastfeeding initiation. Other sources of support were not significantly associated with either breastfeeding initiation or prelacteal feeding. Also, high levels of physical support from all network members were associated with a higher likelihood of avoiding prelacteal feeding (OR = 2.94; 95% = CI 1.65–5.22; P < 0.001). In contrast, high levels of emotional support from all network members were associated with a higher risk of prelacteal feeding (OR = 0.61; 95% CI = 0.37–0.98; P = 0.045). Conclusion: Our findings suggest that there are significant dual roles of social support from older generations on breastfeeding. Physical support during the postpartum periods may discourage prelacteal feeding in Nigeria.


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