Feeding Practices and Care-Seeking Behaviours among Mothers ofUnder-Two Children with Diarrhoeal Diseases in Bangladesh

Abstract: In Bangladesh, the prevalence of diarrhoea is the highest among children aged 6-23 months and the
outbreaks are common among slum-dwellers of Dhaka city, Bangladesh. A qualitative explorative research was
undertaken among slum-dwellers to explore the feeding practices and care-seeking behaviours of mothers with children
with diarrhoeal diseases aged less than two years. Data were collected through in-depth interviews, focus-group
discussions and observation checklist with mothers and elder family members. Breastmilk was blamed for causing
diarrhoea among predominantly or exclusively breastfed children. The blameworthiness leads to withholding of
breastfeeding during diarrhoeal episodes especially with recurrent and persistent diarrhoea. Teething, eating protein diet
by children and eating leafy vegetables by mothers were believed to be responsible for diarrhoea among the older
children. Hand-washing before preparing foods and before feeding children was virtually not practised. Usual
complementary foods were not offered to the children with diarrhoea. Almost all of the children were offered oral
rehydration salt solution and other fluids at home. A common healthcare-seeking behaviour of the mothers was to give
medicines from local drug stores. Some mothers performed some rituals for the purification of their breastmilk. As the
mother’s diet was believed to be responsible for the child’s diarrhoea, some foods, especially leafy-vegetables, some
types of fish, and meat, were restricted to the mothers. The study concludes that perceptions of mothers regarding the
causes of children’s diarrhoea direct to inappropriate feeding practices and care-seeking behaviours of under-two
children with diarrhoeal diseases.
Keywords: Child survival, Diarrhoea, Mother’s perception, Qualitative research.