11.2  Recommendations for infants up to six months old

Table 11.1 sets out the feeding recommendations for infants from birth to six months old. It will remind you of some of the important points you covered in the last study session.

Table 11.1  Recommendations for feeding infants up to six months.
Up to six months of age

A woman breastfeeding.

  • Initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  • Breastfeed as often as the child wants, day and night, at least eight times in 24 hours.
  • Feed the child only breastmilk for the first six months, not even giving water.
  • Empty one breast before switching to the other for the baby to get the most nutritious hind milk.
  • During illness and for at least up to two weeks after the illness increase the frequency of breastfeeding to help the child to recover faster.
  • Do not give other foods or fluids, including water, to the child.
  • Expose the child to sunshine for 20 to 30 minutes daily.
The best way to feed a child from birth to at least six months of age is to breastfeed exclusively. Exclusive breastfeeding means that the child takes only breastmilk and no additional food, water, or other fluids (with the exception of medicines and vitamins, if needed). Advise the mother to empty one breast first before switching to the second to ensure the baby gets the nutrient-rich hind milk.

11.1  Feeding recommendations

11.2.1  Advantages of breastmilk