Perceptions of mothers and use of breastmilk substitutes in Dhaka, Bangladesh
To explore the actual practices and perceptions of giving breastmilk and breastmilk substitutes (BMS), this cross-sectional study was conducted among 326 mothers of low (income/month n= 163)andmiddle(income/month>Tk 4,000, n= 163) socioeconomic status (SES) with infants aged 6-12 months in Dhaka city during February-April 2001.Qualitative data on perceptions of mothers on appropriate breast-feeding practices were also documented through focus-group discussions (FGDs).The prevalence of exclusive breast-feeding was low in both the socioeconomic groups but was comparatively higher among the mothers of middle SES (3.1% vs 12.3%, p<0.001), although predominant breast-feeding was high among the mothers of low SES. In addition, the use of BMS was higher among the mothers of middle SES than among the mothers of low SES (55.8% vs 43.5%, p<0.001).The majority (62.3%) of the mothers mentioned insufficiency of breastmilk as the main reason for introducing BMS. Perception on appropriate feeding practices was also significantly different between the two groups. Approximately, 90%of the mothers of low SES could not differentiate between infant formula and milk powder compared to 70% of the mothers of middle SES (p<0.001). The findings of FGDs revealed that some middle-class mothers thought that infant formula was the best food for their infants.Programmes to impart proper knowledge on breast-feeding practices should be strengthened.
J Health Popul Nutr 2002 Sep;20(3):264-270