Vol. 6, Issue 3 (2019)
Exclusive breastfeeding and intellectual functions of pre-school children in rivers state, Nigeria
Author(s): Amadi Ali, Beatrice Onyebuchi
Abstract: This paper investigated the influence of exclusive breastfeeding on intellectual functions of pre-school children in Rivers State, to recognize symbols, perform mathematical skills and arrange building blocks, as well as to fix missing parts of a puzzle. The ex-post facto design was employed for the study. Population of the study was 7,414 nursery three children found in 572 public early childhood care development centres in Rivers State. The sample size for the study was 741 children (534 non-exclusively breastfed and 207 exclusively breastfed), representing about 10% of the target population. Simple random sampling technique was used to obtain the sample size. A 15 items test for intellectual functions in nursery three school children (TIFNTSC) for data collection was developed by the researcher. Two experts validated the instrument for face and content adequacy. The instrument was scored based on the number of mark or marks awarded to each item of the research questions. Three research questions were posed and answered, using mean and standard deviation, while the null hypotheses were tested using independent t-test statistics. The results of the findings of the study showed that exclusive breastfeeding has significant influence on intellectual functions of pre-school children in Rivers State. The findings of the study further revealed that exclusive breastfeeding has a good number of benefits to the child, the mother, the family and the government. Based on these findings, recommendations were made, among which were that the government should encourage mothers through officials of hospital management board, clinics and traditional birth attendants to practice exclusive breastfeeding; and that school counsellors should intensify their counselling to parents on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding. This will help reduce infant mortality rate, dehydration, enhance management of diarrhea and promotion of recovery; as well as enhance children’s intellectual functions.