Thursday, 19 June 2014

Nutrition for Babies

Adequate nutrition during infancy is essential for lifelong health and wellbeing. Infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods, while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or more.

Key facts

  • Every infant and child has the right to good nutrition according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Undernutrition is associated with 45% of child deaths.
  • Globally in 2012, 162 million children under 5 were estimated to be stunted and 51 million have low weight-for-height, mostly as a consequence of poor feeding and repeated infections; 44 million were overweight or obese.
  • About 38% of infants 0 to 6 months old are exclusively breastfed.
  • Few children receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods; in many countries only a third of breastfed infants 6–23 months of age meet the criteria of dietary diversity and feeding frequency that are appropriate for their age.
  • About 800 000 children's lives could be saved every year among children under 5, if all children 0–23 months were optimally breastfed.

Undernutrition is associated with more than one third of the global disease burden for children under 5. Infant and young child feeding is a key area to improve child survival and promote healthy growth and development. The first 2 years of a child’s life are particularly important, as optimal nutrition during this period lowers morbidity and mortality, reduces the risk of chronic disease, and fosters better development overall.

Optimal breastfeeding is so critical that it could save about 800 000 under 5 child lives every year. In countries where stunting is highly prevalent, promotion of breastfeeding and appropriate complementary feeding could prevent about 220 000 deaths among children under 5 years of age.

WHO and UNICEF recommend:

  • early initiation of breastfeeding with one hour of birth;
  • exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life; and
  • the introduction of nutritionally-adequate and safe complementary (solid) foods at 6 months together with continued breastfeeding up to two years of age or beyond.
Breast milk is also an important source of energy and nutrients in children aged 6 to 23 months. It can provide half or more of a child’s energy needs between the ages of 6 and 12 months, and one third of energy needs between 12 and 24 months. Breast milk is also a critical source of energy and nutrients during illness, and reduces mortality among children who are malnourished.

Adults who were breastfed as babies are less likely to be overweight/obese. Children and adolescents that have been breastfed perform better in intelligence tests. Breastfeeding also contributes to the health and well-being of mothers; it reduces the risk of ovarian and breast cancer and helps space pregnancies–exclusive breastfeeding of babies under 6 months has a hormonal effect which often induces a lack of menstruation. This is a natural (though not fail-safe) method of birth control known as the Lactation Amenorrhoea Method.

Information sourced from the World Health Organisation website. Please check back regularly for more posts and also check the offers posted around the site, loads to choose from. Thanks for reading. 


  1. You should get the right nutrients and vitamins for your baby’s brain development. It is important to note that growing baby should only take natural vitamin supplements on a health care provider’s direct recommendation.

  2. Love your post. Nutrition is very important issue for growing baby. we should feed them nutrient food.