The role of men in promoting breastfeeding in Nigeria

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Caroline Okumdi Muoghalu
Friday Asiazobor Eboiyehi

Abstract

Globally, breast milk has been recognized as the best nutrient for newborns and infants. It is also known to be very nutritious in providing all the necessary elements needed for infants’ health during the first six months of their lives and thereafter, essentially for their growth and survival. Recently, the high morbidity and mortality rates of babies and infants in Nigeria have re-awakened this interest of scholars; health practitioners as well as the general public who started the agitation for exclusive breastfeeding for babies at least for six months. While mothers play their part in providing breast milk to their babies, the role of men (fathers) role as one of the strongest influences on the success of breastfeeding among mothers has been overlooked. In Nigeria, it is still believed that breastfeeding is an exclusive responsibility of the nursing mothers alone. It has been found that father’s support has a strong influence on a mother’s decision to initiate and continue breast feeding in the developed countries. Though mothers recognize fathers as a primary source of support for the continuance of breast feeding in Nigeria; little is known about the nature of this support. This is because fathers are poorly informed and educated about the role they should play in successful breastfeeding of their children. There is need therefore; to document the extent their role can affect successful breastfeeding in their women in Nigeria. This paper describes the role men (fathers) should play in promoting successful breastfeeding in Nigeria. It suggests that men (fathers) should support their wives by providing assistance during pregnancy and after the baby is born. It also proposes that men (fathers) should encourage their pregnant wives to feed well, help in carrying babies while the mother is resting, look after the older children as well as providing assistance in domestic chores. The paper concludes that playing such supportive roles will go a long way in making breast-feeding campaign successful.

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How to Cite
Muoghalu, C. O., & Eboiyehi, F. A. (2019). The role of men in promoting breastfeeding in Nigeria. Journal of Gender and Power, 12(2), 57-76. https://doi.org/10.14746/jgp.2019.12.004
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ARTICLES

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