To describe the extent to which Sri Lankan caregivers follow current national responsive feeding recommendations and the factors limiting and enabling those behaviours. Study design. This ethnographic substudy was conducted using a four-phase, mixed methods formative research design across rural, estate and urban sectors of Sri Lanka. Data collection methods. Data were collected using direct meal observations and semistructured interviews. Participants including infants and young children aged 6–23 months (n = 72), community leaders (n = 10), caregivers (n = 58) and community members (n = 37) were purposefully sampled to participate in this study. Data analysis. Observational data were summarized using descriptive statistics while textual data were analysed thematically using Dedoose. Findings were then interpreted vis-à-vis six national responsive feeding recommendations. During observed feeding episodes, caregivers were responsive to nearly all food requests (87.2% [34/39]) made by infants and young children. Many caregivers (61.1% [44/72]) also positively encouraged their infant and young child during feeding. Despite some responsive feeding practices being observed, 36.1% (22/61) of caregivers across sectors used forceful feeding practices if their infant or young child refused to eat. Interviews data indicated that force-feeding practices were used because caregivers wanted their infants and young children to maintain adequate weight gain for fear of reprimand from Public Health Midwives. Despite overall high caregiver knowledge of national responsive feeding recommendations in Sri Lanka, direct observations revealed suboptimal responsive feeding practices, suggesting that other factors in the knowledge-behaviour gap may need to be addressed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health