Barriers to Exclusive Breastfeeding Practice among Rural and Urban Mothers in Nigeria: A Systematic Review

Document Type : Systematic Review


1 Independent Researcher, Opposite Light House Academy, Makutu, Isanlu Makutu

2 Independent Researcher, Opposite Light House Academy, Makutu, Isanlu Makutu.


 Introduction: There have been several policies backed up by improved national legislations designed to promote exclusive breastfeeding in the country, however the practice is still low and is actually declining. Therefore, there is a need to synthesize the barriers to this practice in order to serve as a resource for reviewing and strengthening the existing policies. The aim of this study was to review and synthesize the barriers to exclusive breastfeeding practice among rural and urban mothers in Nigeria.
Methods: Databases such as PubMed and African Journal Online were searched with keywords and synonyms related to the topic. Similar concepts were thereafter organized into themes through reciprocal translations followed by reading and interpretations.
Results: The key barriers to exclusive breastfeeding reported in the study include wrong perceptions and practices, low parental socio-economic status and poor spousal support. The identified gaps in the existing knowledge were inadequate support for less reported breastfeeding problems such as sore nipples, inadequate lactation rooms and creches in public and private workplaces, and inadequate enlightenment campaigns about exclusive breastfeeding practice in the country.
Conclusion: This study has reviewed and synthesized the barriers to exclusive breastfeeding among rural and urban mothers across the six geopolitical zones of the country. Consequently, it advocates, among other recommendations, for the full implementation of the National Policy on Food and Nutrition and improvement in the quality of services rendered in the antenatal and postnatal clinics across the country through regular training of health workers. Finally, it encourages the funding of studies into complaints of fatigue in the course of adopting exclusive breastfeeding.