Women's health: Brestmilk
Post by on Monday, August 16, 2021
Breastmilk is the ideal food for infants. It is safe, clean and contains antibodies which help protect against many common childhood illnesses.
Breastmilk provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life, and it continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one third during the second year of life.
No other food or drink, not even water, is usually needed during this period. But allow infant to receive ORS, drops, syrups of vitamins, minerals and medicines when required for medical reasons. After 6 months of age, babies should be introduced to semi-solid, soft food (complementary feeding) but breastfeeding should continue for up to two years and beyond, because it is an important source of nutrition, energy and protection from illness.
From the age of 6–8 months a child needs to eat two to three times per day and thereafter, three to four times per day starting at 9 months – in addition to breastfeeding. Depending on the child’s appetite, one or two nutritious snacks, such as fruit, home-made energy dense food, may be needed between meals.
The baby should be fed small amounts of food that steadily increase in variety and quantity as he or she grows. During an illness, children need additional fluids and encouragement to eat regular meals, and breastfeeding infants need to breastfeed more often.
After an illness, children need to be offered more food than usual, to replenish the energy and nourishment lost due to the illness.