10.4  Classify feeding

When you have watched a breastfeed and classified any problems the infant is experiencing, you need to help the mother by giving her clear advice on how to improve feeding. You also need to give her information about caring for the infant if there are problems such as thrush, or if the baby is underweight.

You can compare an infant’s signs with those listed in Table 10.2. This sets out the appropriate classifications and the recommended advice that you should give to the mother.

Table 10.2  Classifying feeding in a young infant

Feeding problem


Recommended advice

If any one of the following signs:
  • Not well positioned
  • Not well attached to breast, or
  • Not suckling effectively, or
  • Less than eight breastfeeds in 24 hours, or
  • Switching the breast frequently, or
  • Not increasing frequency of breastfeeding during the infant’s illness, or
  • Receives other foods or drinks, or
  • The mother not breastfeeding at all, or
  • Low weight for age (underweight), or
  • Thrush (ulcers or white patches in mouth)


Advise the mother to breastfeed as often and for as long as the infant wants, day and night.
  • If the infant is not well attached or not suckling effectively, teach correct positioning and attachment
  • If breastfeeding less than eight times in 24 hours, advise to increase frequency of feeding
  • Empty one breast completely before switching to the other
  • Increase frequency of feeding during and after illness
  • If the infant is receiving other foods or drinks, counsel the mother about breastfeeding more, reducing other foods or drinks, and using a cup
  • If not breastfeeding at all:
  • Advise about correctly prepared breastmilk substitutes and using a cup
  • If the infant has thrush, teach the mother to treat the thrush at home
  • Follow up any feeding problems or thrush in two days
  • Follow up underweight (low weight for age) in 14 days.

Not low weight for age and no other signs of inadequate feeding


Advise the mother to give home care for the young infant.

Praise the mother for feeding the infant well.

10.3.3  Counselling about other feeding problems

10.4.1  Feeding problems or low weight (underweight)