Introduction: The promotion and support of breastfeeding is a global priority with benefits for maternal and infant health, especially in low-income and middle-income countries where the relevance for child survival is undisputed. Timely initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth, exclusive breast feeding for six months with continued breastfeeding till 2 years and beyond are important aspects of breast feeding for child survival. The objective of the study was to describe the practice and perception of breast feeding amongst mothers at the post natal wards of the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki. Materials and Methods: This study was a questionnaire based cross sectional view of breastfeeding practices of moth ers who received perinatal care at the Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi, South Eastern Nigeria. Results: 16.1% initiated breast feeding within one hour, while others initiated later for reasons like poor lactation (19.6%); too tired (15.4%); felt dirty after delivery (5.3%) and caesarean section. Exclusive breastfeeding was not the intention of 30.8% for reasons like, too demanding (15.4%); cannot satisfy baby (38.6%); spouse and relations would not accept (26.5%); Work/School schedule would not permit (13.6%). Mode of delivery and socioeconomic class were significantly associated with time of initiation. Neither maternal age nor parity significantly influenced the overall practice of breastfeeding. Conclusion: Few mothers practice correct breastfeeding in this tertiary health institution suggesting that more work to improve the knowledge and attitudes of mothers is required starting from the antenatal period.
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