New mums are expected to practice exclusive breastfeeding from birth to 6 months of age, and introduce complementary foods at 6 months of age (180 days) while continuing to breastfeed. There must be continued, frequent, on-demand breast feeding till the child reaches 2 years of age or beyond this is WHO recommendation. Practice responsive feeding, applying the principles of psycho-social care. Mum should feed the infant directly and assist older children when they feed themselves.
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What is texture of baby food?
The right amount to feed baby?
How frequent baby should be feed with complimentary food?
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TEXTURE OF COMPLEMENTARY FOODS
• 6 months – Start with thick porridge (pap), soft, pureed and well mashed foods.
• 7 to 8 months – Mashed and semi-solid foods.
• 9 to 11 months – can eat fork-mashed foods, finely chopped/diced foods that baby can pick up.
• 12 to 24 months – family foods; either chopped or mashed if necessary.
AMOUNT OR VOLUME OF FEED
Children have little stomach capacity and are to feed accordingly.
Amount or volume of feed a child receives is also individualized depending on;
• Anthropometric measurement (Weight and/or height for age), i.e. is the child’s weight within the normal range, is he/she underweight or overweight?
• Age of the child (in months)
• Activity level / caloric need (is he/she crawling or walking?)
• Health status (is he/she healthy or sick?)
• Still breastfeeding or has stop breastfeeding?
FREQUENCY OF COMPLEMENTARY FEEDING
World Health Organization recommends that infants start receiving complementary foods in addition to breast milk as follows:
• 6 to 8 months of age – 2 to 3 times a day
• 9 to 11 months of age – 3 to 4 times a day
• 12 to 24 months of age – 3 to 4 times with additional nutritious snacks offered 1 to 2 times a day.
NOTE: frequency of complementary feeding also depends on the factors mentioned above (in amount or volume of feed). It also depends on the child’s eating habit; fussy or picky eaters are given small but frequent meals.
• Feed s lowly and patiently, and encourage children to eat but do not force them.
• Give variety of foods with different food combinations (foods come from at least 4 food groups e.g. cereals/tubers, legumes/nuts, fruits and vegetables, dairy /poultry etc.), tastes and textures.
• If a child refuses a food combination (e.g. maize pap and soybean flour), experiment with another food combination (millet pap and groundnut paste) but do not introduce different combinations the same day as to determine dislikes, intolerance and allergy.
• Minimize distractions while feeding the child.
• Remember that feeding times are period of learning and love – talk to the child during feedings with eye-to-eye contacts.
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