Exclusive Breastfeeding – Attitude of Teenage Mothers towards the Practice
Exclusive Breastfeeding – This chapter deals with review of related literature. It considered the following issues: history of breastfeeding, definition of exclusive breastfeeding, the breast milk, its component and benefits of breastfeeding. It also deals with empirical review, theoretical model and conceptual frame work.
History of Breastfeeding
In the early years of human species, breastfeeding was common as it was for other mammals feeding their young. There were no alternative foods for the infants and the mother along with other lactating females had no choice but to breast feed the children (Fray and Kathy, 2005).
The Egyptian, Greek and Roman empires saw women feeding only their own children but later, the royalty considered breastfeeding as something to be done by the lower cadre of the society as such wet nurses were employed to breastfeed their children.
In the late 15th century formula feeding first became popular as such many mothers substituted cow or goat milk for their own breast milk which was helpful especially to working mothers who did not have the time to breastfeed their child. This practice was later stopped when the problems associated with formula milk became noticeable.
A study by Penny (2001) revealed that in the early 1900s babies were breastfed quite alright but at the same time solid food were offered as early as the first week of life. This practice, according to him, was because of the popular belief at the time that solid food would not only improve infant’s nutrition but would also help babies sleep through the night sooner.
According to the same author change was in place in the late 1900s. Breast feeding was becoming increasingly popular, partly because it reflected the “back to nature” movement of the time and partly because it was discovered to have unrecognized emotional and health benefits for baby and mother.
Exclusive Breastfeeding according to World Health Organization (WHO, 2008) is the practice of feeding an infant only with breast milk (including expressed breast milk) and allowing the baby to receive vitamins, mineral supplement or medicine with the exception of other liquids and solid food. That is exclusive breastfeeding means that no water, milk or solid food should be offered to the baby.
Exclusive breastfeeding is now a widely accepted from of nutrition for infants to ensure a good start of life. (www.healtcare.a2z.org) . This is because breast milk provides all the nutrients a baby needs for the first six months of life.
The World Health Organization 2008 also states that only breast milk is the best possible food or drink for a baby and that no other food or drink is needed for the first six months of life.
The human breast milk is produced by the mammary glands. The breast milk is an alkaline fluid, bluish white in colour, with a specific gravity of 1031. The breast milk is produced by the action of Oxytocin and prolactin which is stimulated by sucking reflexes.
Types of Breast Milk
Colostrum: This is the milk produced in first few days after delivery, it is thick and yellowish in colour. It contains more protein, more antibodies more white blood and anti-infective proteins than mature milk. (Azubuike et al., 2007).
Transitional milk: It is milk with a yellowish tint higher in fat and calories and lower in protein. (Penny, 2001).
Mature Milk: Is produced usually by the end of the first week of breast feeding. It is bluish white and contains more calories.
There are two types milk that are produced when a baby is feeding. They are:
Fore milk: It is a greyish milk that is produced early in a feed, it is produced in large amount and contains more water.
Hind Milk: It is yellowish in colour that is produced at end the feed and contains more fat for satiety. (Azubuike et al., 2007).
Components of Breast Milk
The components of breast milk include;
Water: Is the largest constituent of breast milk (about 87.6%).
Fats: accounts for about half of the calories in breast milk that 50%. Carbohydrates: Lactose (Milk sugar) is the primary form of carbohydrate in breast milk. Breast contain 5.3% of carbohydrate.
Proteins: The primary protein is whey and it is 40% in breast milk.
Vitamins and Minerals: Examples include vitamin D, Iron, fluoride etc breast milk contain about 10.1% of vitamins and more minerals.
Other component includes; Antibodies, enzymes, growth factor and hormones. (Azubuike et al., 2007).
Benefits of Breastfeeding
The benefits of breastfeeding are both to the baby, mother, family and community.
Azubuike, (2007). States that breast milk is beneficial for the baby because it contains just right balance of nutrients, it is readily available, it provide antibodies that help to boost the baby immunity against infection, it is easily digested, enhances the development of brains, reduces the incidences of some chronic conditions that may occur late in life, like ulcerative colitis, crohn’s disease and aid proper developments of both teeth and speech organs.
Additionally, breastfeeding reduces the incidence and severity of diseases and infections such as ear infection, respiratory infection, urinary tracts infection. It also reduce symptoms such as diarrhoea and vomiting. (Penny, 2001).
For the mother, Penny, (2001) believes that breastfeeding helps child spacing, saves time, help the mother return to her previous weight as the fat accumulated during pregnancy is used in milk production and it frequency delays the return of menstruation. It aids involution (the return of uterus to its normal size), reduces postpartum bleeding and reduces the risk pre-menopausal breast cancer and ovarian cancer. It also promotes attachment and a close, nurturing relationship between mother and baby.
For the family and community, Azubuike (2007) states breastfeeding is less expensive and more convenient, it saves family and national resources, it is safe for the environment that is no litters in terms of cans and other wastes.
A study conducted by Dykes, Morm, Burt and Edward (2003) in Northwest England evaluated the experience and support needs of adolescent mothers who had commenced breastfeeding. This study revealed that breastfeeding experiences included feeling watched and judged, lack of confidence, tiredness, discomfort and sharing accountability. Quinn et al., (2005) reported that in 2003 breastfeeding rate in Ghana jumped from 32 to 62% and dropped to 40% by the last survey when the programme shifted emphasis to support for pre-service review and capacity building in other areas.
According to Barber et al, (2007) in a study conducted in America reported that breastfeeding rates rapidly decline in the initial 4 to 8 weeks postpartum with less than 35% of mothers exclusively breastfeeding at 4 months.
In a study carried to evaluate the attitude and behaviour of 55 teenage mothers in relation to older mothers in America it was revealed that 50% of teenage mothers chose not to breastfeed while 20% of teenage mothers had given up before the day three after birth before the flow of milk has been established. (Ineichen et al., 2007).
- In this project the theoretical study issued is Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of human needs. Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs theory views human needs as beings in hierarchical order, with the most basic needs at the base of the pyramid and the higher ones at the apex.
Nwonu (2002) described it as a basic human need which provides a theoretical framework that nurses can use in the assessment and planning phase of the nursing process in order to understand the relationship among basic needs when care is provided.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of basic human needs provides a theoretical framework that mothers can used to understand the relationship among human needs when care is provided.
Malsow further explained that it is only when the lower needs are met before the higher ones emerge but is only under normal circumstance. In an abnormal circumstance it is the focal need that is gratified before any other need.
If the sequence is impossible to climb to the highest need, human satisfaction becomes stagnant.
i. Physiologic Needs
These needs are very important the teenage mother satisfies these needs by given breast milk to the child whenever the baby is in demand. Breast milk provides food for the baby in right quantity and quality for the growth and development of the child.
ii. Safety and Security
This need arises during the process of feeding, both parties are happy and this is shown by a simile seen on the baby’s face and feeding is done in a conducive environment.
iii. Need for love and Belonging
Exclusive breastfeeding brings about a satisfaction of this need because it initiates bonding between the mother and child. By breast feeding a baby, she feels loved and care for which in turn gives her a feeling of belonging.
Iv. Self Esteem
The need for self esteem arises when the above mentioned needs have been met. Breast feeding enhances the growth of the child both in his intellectual; this brings about respect to the individual.
v. Self Actualization
The need for self actualization arises and it is met in the later part of life.
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This article was extracted from a Project Research Work/Material Topic “ATTITUDE OF TEENAGE MOTHERS TOWARD THE PRACTICE OF EXCLUSIVE BREASTFEEDING IN NTEZI ABA COMMUNITY OF EBONYI STATE.”
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