Six months is right time to give complementary food to a child

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 04 Juli 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The short and long term health benefits of breastfeeding for an infant are unmatched. The Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) guidelines and the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend exclusive breastfeeding for an infant up to the age of six months and to continue with breastfeeding thereafter in addition to complementary food.

At around six months, the energy and nutritional requirements of a child can no longer be met by mother's milk alone. Complementary foods are required at this age for nutritional and developmental reasons, and to enable the transition to family foods. But many mothers are unaware about the right time to start complementary feeding.

WHO recommends that when infants turn six months, they should be introduced to complementary foods in addition to mother's milk. The frequency of feeding should be 2-3 times a day between 6-8 months, before it is increased to 3-4 times daily from 9 months onwards.

According to the IYCF guidelines released in February 2013 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, almost 30% of children in the country start receiving complementary foods at the age of only 4-5 months. The ability to consume solid food requires proper development of the neuro-muscular, digestive, and renal systems of a child. Complementary feeding too early can lead to indigestion; increases risk of allergies, obesity and have other health implications in the long term, such as diabetes and celiac disease.

Dr Ravindra Chittal, Pediatrician & Neonatologist, Lilavati Hospital & Research Centre, Mumbai, said, "It is important to introduce complementary foods at six months of age for overall development of the child. Their untimely and inappropriate introduction may lead to under-nutrition or over-nutrition, both of which have health implications for the child."

Children who receive optimal complementary feeding from the age of six months along with mother's milk are less likely to suffer from diarrhea and infections and enjoy improved cognitive development. They are also less prone to stunting and have a reduced risk of anemia.

According to IYCF guidelines, 4 out of 10 children in India do not get complementary foods until they reach the age of 8 months. Unaware of the importance of timely introduction of complementary foods for growing children, many mothers bring them up exclusively on mother's milk far longer than advised by medical experts.

Complementary food should be adequate and provide sufficient energy, proteins and micronutrients to meet a growing child's nutritional needs. It should contain adequate amounts of immuno-nutrients such as zinc, iron and Vitamin A & C to strengthen the child's immunity; energy, protein, calcium and Vitamin D to fulfill the overall growth requirements; and nutrients such as essential fatty acids, iron and iodine to assist in the child's cognitive development. Complementary food should be safe and hygienically prepared and stored, and fed with clean hands using clean utensils to prevent contamination. It should also be smooth in texture and easy to digest.

The age during which transitional foods are introduced is a particularly sensitive time in the development cycle of a child. The diet undergoes its most radical change, from a single food (mother's milk) with fat as the major energy source to one in which a variety of foods are required to fulfill different nutritional needs. This transition is associated not only with increasing and changing nutrient requirements, but also with rapid growth.

Six months constitute a big milestone in a child's life. Children of this age need complementary food which is timely, appropriate, adequate and safe to enable them to reach their full growth potential, which is every mother's dream.

Anda sedang membaca artikel tentang

Six months is right time to give complementary food to a child

Dengan url

Anda boleh menyebar luaskannya atau mengcopy paste-nya

Six months is right time to give complementary food to a child

namun jangan lupa untuk meletakkan link

Six months is right time to give complementary food to a child

sebagai sumbernya

0 komentar:

Posting Komentar Techie Blogger Techie Blogger