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Determinants of trends in breast-feeding indicators in Nigeria, 1999–2013

  • Felix Akpojene Ogbo (a1), Andrew Page (a1), Kingsley E Agho (a1) and Fernanda Claudio (a2)

The present study aimed to examine the trends and differentials in key breast-feeding indicators in Nigeria for the period 1999–2013.


Longitudinal study of trends (1999–2013) in optimal feeding practices using a series of population-based Nigerian Demographic and Health Surveys. Trends in socio-economic, health service and individual characteristics associated with key breast-feeding indicators were examined using multilevel regression analyses.




Children (n 88 152) aged under 24 months (n 8199 in 1999; n 7620 in 2003; n 33 385 in 2008; n 38 948 in 2013).


Among educated mothers, there was an increase in prevalence of exclusive breast-feeding (26 % in 1999 to 30 % in 2013) and predominant breast-feeding (27 % in 1999 to 39 % in 2013) compared with mothers with no schooling. A similar increasing trend was evident for mothers from wealthier households and mothers who had a higher frequency of health service access compared with mothers from poorer households and women who reported no health service access, respectively. Mothers with no schooling predominantly breast-fed, but the odds for bottle-feeding were higher among educated mothers and women from wealthier households. The odds for early initiation of breast-feeding were lower for mothers who reported no health service contacts and mothers of lower socio-economic status.


Significant increasing trends in key breast-feeding indicators were evident among mothers with higher socio-economic status and mothers who had more health service access in Nigeria. Broader national and sub-national policies that underpin nursing mothers in work environments and a comprehensive community-based approach are proposed to improve feeding practices in Nigeria.

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