About Essential Nutrition Actions at Critical Stages in the Life Cycle of Women and Children
Infants from six months to one year
When your baby is weaned from a breast milk-only diet at six months, his/her nutritional requirements will change dramatically. You will have to plan their nutritional intake carefully to ensure that they get enough of the necessary
vitamins and minerals, as well as proteins,
The risk of Iron Deficiency anaemia is very high between 6-12 months as the baby runs out of iron from birth stores and needs to fill the gap with
breast milk and additional complementary foods.
- Start to give complementary food at six months of age in addition to breast milk and continue breastfeeding until two years.
- First foods are intended to be tasters. You should introduce one new food at a time for three-four days to allow your baby to get accustomed and to give yourself an opportunity to pinpoint any adverse reaction to certain foods.
- Give small feeds frequently throughout the day because young children have small stomachs.
- Increase the frequency and amount of food as the child gets older and use a separate bowl.
- Increase the density of food as the child gets older. Porridge that is too thin and watery to stay on a spoon fills the stomach without providing enough energy or nutrients for your child to grow and develop (consistency of porridge). Make sure you enrich the porridge with a little amount of fats/oils to provide additional energy.
- Increase the variety of food as the child gets older.
- Interact with the child during feeding.
- Your baby should get Iron-Folic Acid supplementation from six months up to at least twelve months. It is recommended to continue with the supplementation up to twenty-four months in areas where anaemia is widespread. You should be able to get the syrup from any primary health care facility. Otherwise an iron powder or crushable iron tablets can be mixed with an infant food.
- Cow's milk does not contain sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals and should not be regarded as an appropriate breast milk substitute when the child is young. In addition, it is a common allergen and the later you leave it the less likely your baby will experience problems.
- Ensure good hygiene and safe food preparation.
- Follow the growth of your child by going for monthly Growth Monitoring and Promotion. Visit the health centre immediately if you see your child is not growing or losing weight.
9 October, 2013