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Child‐care and feeding practices of urban middle class working and non‐working Indonesian mothers: a qualitative study of the socio‐economic and cultural environment

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The double‐burden problem of malnutrition in many developing countries is occurring against a backdrop of complex changes in the socio‐economic and cultural environment. One such change is the increasing rate of female employment, a change that has attracted researchers to explore the possible relationships between maternal employment and child nutritional status. The present study employs a qualitative approach to explore the socio‐economic and cultural environments that may influence child‐care practices in families of working and non‐working mothers with children of different nutritional status and types of domestic caregiver. It was conducted in Depok, a satellite city of Jakarta, Indonesia, and was designed as a case study involving 26 middle class families. The children were categorized as underweight, normal weight and obese, and caregivers were grouped as family and domestic paid caregivers. Twenty‐six mothers and 18 caregivers were interviewed. Data were analysed by the constant comparative approach. The study identified five emerging themes, consisting of reason for working and not working, support for mother and caregivers, decision maker on child food, maternal self‐confidence and access to resources. It confirmed that mothers and caregivers need support and adequate resources to perform child‐care practices regardless of the child nutritional and maternal working status. Further research is required into how Indonesian mothers across a range of socio‐economic strata can have increased options for quality child‐care arrangements and support with child feeding. Additionally, this paper discussed the importance of enhanced dissemination of health information addressing both child underweight and obesity problems.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Herston, Brisbane, Queensland 4006, Australia

Publication date: July 1, 2012


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