Original Research

Perceived enablers of exclusive breastfeeding by teenage mothers in Ghana

Angela K. Acheampong, Makombo Ganga-Limando, Lydia Aziato
South African Family Practice | Vol 62, No 1 : Part 3| a5108 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v62i1.5108 | © 2020 Angela K. Acheampong, Makombo Ganga-Limando, Lydia Aziato | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 March 2020 | Published: 21 September 2020

About the author(s)

Angela K. Acheampong, School of Nursing, Wisconsin International University College, Accra, Ghana
Makombo Ganga-Limando, Department of Health Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Lydia Aziato, Department of Adult Health, School of Nursing, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana

Abstract

Background: Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months can prevent diseases, boost immunity and improve quality of lives of infants. Ghana implemented programmes aimed at reaching the global target of increasing exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months to at least 50% by the year 2025. The country witnessed a decline in the overall rate of exclusive breastfeeding and an increase in the number of teenage mothers. Globally, teenage mothers are less likely to breastfeed than mothers of other age groups. Understanding enablers of exclusive breastfeeding by teenage mothers is important for any intervention aimed at improving exclusive breastfeeding rates and the quality of lives of infants.

Method: The study used a qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual design, with focus groups. A total of six group discussions were conducted with 30 pregnant teenagers recruited from six public hospitals.

Results: Seven enablers emerged from the analysis of data. These included positive beliefs about the benefits of breast milk, family history of positive exclusive breastfeeding outcomes, support of the intimate partner, approval of closed-family members, expert opinions of antenatal care staff, teenage-oriented breastfeeding education and community-based breastfeeding education.

Conclusion: Health professionals and policy makers could learn from these enablers and use them to promote exclusive breastfeeding practices amongst teenage mothers in Ghana.


Keywords

breastfeeding; exclusive breastfeeding enablers; qualitative approach; teenage mothers; breastfeeding education.

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