Infant Feeding Practice

Breast Feeding is essential up to first 6 months of age group. Initiate breastfeeding within one hour of normal delivery birth, within four hours of caesarean delivery. No food or drink other than breast milk should be given. Practice rooming in and allow mothers and infants to remain together 24  hours a day. Encourage breastfeeding on demand. No artificial teats or pacifiers for breastfeeding infants.

Complementary Feeding:

The systemic process of introduction of suitable food substances in the right time in addition to mother’s milk in order to provide needed nutrients to the baby. Baby become biologically fit to accept semi-solids after 4 months of age.

Breastfeeding should continue for as long as feasible preferably, till two years of age. This is important for first two years because it is a period of rapid brain growth and breast milk contains taurine amino acid factors which are essential for brain growth and development.

What are Complementary Feeds?

It can be homemade. It is better to start with mono cereals followed by multi cereals. Cereal like rice is the best choice to start weaning as it is gluten-free and easily digestible. Tubers, Fruits, Biscuits and Banana powder are also popular weaning foods. The addition of oil for calories can make homemade food more nutrient dense.

Family Pot Feeding:

Around 6 months:

  1. Cereals based porridge (ragi, suji, rice).
  2. Cereals can be enriched with jaggery, sugar, oil, and ghee.
  3. Start with the 1-2 spoon and gradually increase to 1 cup per day in 1-2 servings in addition to breastfeeding.
  4. Fruit Juice also can also be added.

Around 6-9 months:

  1. Mashed rice with pulses.
  2. Mashed tubers.
  3. Vegetable soups mashed fruits.
  4. Biscuits and egg yolk can be given.

Around 9-12 months:

  1. Introduce soft food that can be chewed, avoiding hot spices.
  2. Chappathi and other hard items can be made soft by adding a little milk.
  3. It can be given 4-6 times a day gradually increasing the quantity.
  4. By one year of age, the baby should be taking everything cooked at home.

Infant Feeding Practices

Food Items Enhancing Calories:

Oil, Ghee, Sugar, Egg, Fish, Meat, Green leafy vegetables, Curd, and Sprouting pulses enhance the calories.

Texture, Preparation, and Storage of Weaning Food:

It is essential to advise the mother to differentiate the texture through preparation and cooking methods. A soft to coarser to bigger bite texture will be a positive approach towards developing the baby for acceptance.

Careful hygiene preparation such as hand washing with soap and water should be practiced before cooking and also during feeding is essential. Food stuff should be freshly prepared. Cooked food should be stored in airtight container.

Complementary Bridge and Safety Net to Prevent Malnutrition:

Most of the children fall into the pit of malnutrition during weaning and postweaning phase. Some even succumb to it. Mothers are expected to make the weaning bridge to carry children across the pits.

The three Planks include

  1. Continuous breastfeeding.
  2. Introducing Vegetable protein.
  3. Animal Protein.