Comparative Study of Infant Feeding Practices in an Urban and a Rural Community of Abuja Municipal Area Council
The study was conducted to compare infant feeding practices in two communities of Garki and Karshi of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with a view to determining the prevalence of exclusive breast feeding among mothers, identifying determinants of breast feeding practices and comparing the pattern of complementary feeding among urban and rural dwellers. A total of 550 mothers of infants (0 - 12 months) were selected by cluster sampling technique from the two communities (280 urban, 270 rural). A pre-tested, semi-structured, interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to elicit information on socio-economic characteristics, antenatal attendance and infant feeding practices. Data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Statistical significance was accepted at F < 0.05. The results showed that rural mothers compared with urban ones were younger (p < 0.0001); less educated (X2 = 106.23, p <0.05) and less Iikely to be engaged in formal employment (X2 = 676.82, p = 0.001). Urban mothers, however, did not differ substantially from rural mothers in their infant feeding practices. Similar proportions of urban mothers compared with rural ones initiated breastfeeding within the first 12 Hours of delivery (X2 = 2.92, p = 0.23); breastfed the chide on demand (Fisher's Exact p = 0.15); believed that the child should be exclusively breastfed for at least 6 months (X2 = 2.99, p = 0.08), and introduced complementary, feeds to the child after the age of 6 months (X2 = 2.15, p = 0.34). However, a higher proportion of rural mothers compared with urban ones believed that the child should be breastfed for longer than 1S months (X2 = 7.26, p = 0.02). The only factor that significantly influenced the practice of exclusive breast feeding among the respondents was their age distribution. A higher proportion of mothers aged less than 40 years compared with those aged 40 years or more practiced exclusive breastfeeding (X2 = 18.13, p < 0.0001). Other variables of the respondents such as employment status, ante-natal clinic attendance and place of delivery (home or hospital) did not significantly influence the practice of exclusive breast feeding. The study concluded that infant feeding practices of rural and urban communities of the FCT did not differ substantially. Furthermore younger mothers were more likely to practice exclusive breastfeeding compared with older ones.