11.3  Recommendations for infants from six to 12 months

You are now going to look at feeding and the range of foods appropriate for infants aged six‒12 months (see Table 11.2). As you will see, by six months, all children should have additional, nutritious food introduced into their diet, known as complementary foods.

Table 11.2  Recommendations for feeding infants from 6‒12 months old.
Six months up to 12 months

A woman breastfeeding.

A woman feeding her child.

A healthy meal.

  • Breastfeed as often as the child wants.
  • Start complementary foods at six months.
  • Give adequate servings of freshly prepared and enriched foods e.g. porridge made of cereal and legume mixes, Shiro fit-fit, Merek fit-fit, mashed potatoes and carrot, mashed gommen, undiluted milk, egg and fruits.
  • Enrich the food by adding some oil or butter every time; also give animal foods (meat, liver, fish, eggs), legumes, vegetables (green leafy, carrots) and yellow fruits (orange, papaya, mangos).
  • Give these foods three times per day if breastfeeding; five times per day (three main meals and two snacks) if not breastfeeding.
  • Babies who stopped breastfeeding at six months should also get adequate replacement milk besides semi-solid complementary feeds.
  • Increase intake of food and fluids during illness, and give one additional meal of solid food for about two weeks after illness to help the child recover quickly.
  • Give vitamin A supplements from the age of six months, every six months.
  • Expose the child to sunshine.

By six months of age, all children should be receiving a soft, nutritious complementary food.

It is important to actively feed the child. Active feeding means encouraging the child to eat. The child should not have to compete with older brothers and sisters for food from a common plate. He should have his own serving. Until the child can feed himself, the mother or another caregiver (such as an older sibling, father or grandmother) should sit with the child during meals and help get the spoon into his mouth.

An ‘adequate serving’ means that the child does not want any more food after active feeding.

A good daily diet should be adequate in quantity and include an energy-rich food (for example, soft cereal-based porridge with added oil); meat, fish, eggs, or pulses; and fruits and vegetables.

11.2.1  Advantages of breastmilk

11.3.1  Good complementary foods