The knowledge, attitude, and practices regarding breastfeeding of 310 mothers in five rural communities in Toto Local Government in Nassarawa State, Nigeria were investigated using a questionnaire. One hundred and sixty-two (52.3 per cent) mothers were illiterate while 148 (47.7 per cent) had either primary or secondary school education. Apart from giving babies colostrum, which was seen more amongst mothers with higher levels of education (p < 0.001), other practices investigated such as exclusive breastfeeding, demand feeding, 'rooming-in', and time of first breastfeed were not influenced by the mother's level of education. Fifty-four per cent of mothers did not give their babies colostrum. All mothers attended the antenatal clinic but only 103 (33.3 per cent) received instructions from the health worker on breastfeeding and 46.8 per cent delivered at home. Only 28.6 per cent of babies were breastfed within 24 hours of birth. The mean time after birth for the first breastfeed was 47.7 hours. Although breastfeeding is widely practiced, none of the babies was exclusively breastfed, and prelacteal feeds ranging from water, formula, or herbal tea were given by all the mothers. The practice of discarding colostrum and replacing it with a wide range of prelacteal feeds and late initiation of breastfeeding has implications for health education programmes and neonatal feeding strategies.