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For Mothers and Children

An infant needs only a mother’s milk for the first 6 months

Breastmilk alone is the best food and drink for an infant for the first six months of life. No other food or drink, not even water, is usually needed during this period.

The bond between mother and child should begin immediately

Newborn babies should be given to the mother to hold immediately after delivery. They should have skin-to-skin contact with the mother and begin breastfeeding within one hour of birth.

Don’t worry, you’re a natural

Almost every mother can breastfeed successfully. Breastfeeding the baby frequently causes production of more milk. The baby should breastfeed at least eight times daily, day and night, and on demand.

Breastfeeding protects your baby from illness

Breastfeeding helps protect babies and young children against dangerous illnesses. It also creates a special bond between mother and child.

Bottle feeding and giving a baby breastmilk substitutes such as infant formula or animal milk can threaten the baby's health and survival. If a woman cannot breastfeed her infant, the baby can be fed expressed breastmilk or, if necessary, a quality breastmilk substitute from an ordinary clean cup.

After 6 months of age, when babies begin to eat foods, breastfeeding should continue for up to two years and beyond because it is an important source of nutrition, energy and protection from illness.

A healthy baby should grow and gain weight rapidly

A young child should grow and gain weight rapidly. From birth to age 2, children should be weighed regularly to assess growth. If regular weighing shows that the child is not gaining weight, or the parents or other caregivers see the child is not growing, something is wrong. The child needs to be seen by a trained health worker.

First six months = breast milk

Breastmilk alone is the only food and drink an infant needs in the first six months of life. After six months, a baby needs a variety of other foods in addition to breastmilk to ensure healthy growth and development.

6-8 months, 2-3 meals a day

From the age of 6–8 months a child needs to eat two to three times per day and three to four times per day starting at 9 months – in addition to breastfeeding. Depending on the child's appetite, one or two nutritious snacks, such as fruit or bread with nut paste, may be needed between meals. The baby should be fed small amounts of food that steadily increase in variety and quantity as he or she grows.

Vitamin A for an A+ baby

Children need vitamin A to help resist illness, protect their eyesight and reduce the risk of death. Vitamin A can be found in many fruits and vegetables, red palm oil, eggs, dairy products, liver, fish, meat, fortified foods and breastmilk. In areas where vitamin A deficiency is common, high-dose vitamin A supplements can also be given every four to six months to children aged 6 months to 5 years.

Children need iron to be healthy and strong

Children need iron-rich foods to protect their physical and mental abilities and to prevent anaemia. The best sources of iron are animal sources, such as liver, lean meats and fish. Other good sources are iron-fortified foods and iron supplements.

Iodine is vital

Iodine in a pregnant woman's and young child's diet is especially critical for the development of the child's brain. It is essential to help prevent learning disabilities and delayed development. Using iodized salt instead of ordinary salt provides pregnant women and their children with as much iodine as they need.

Make sure your child eats and drinks more when they are ill

During an illness, children need additional fluids and encouragement to eat regular meals, and breastfeeding infants need to breastfeed more often. After an illness, children need to be offered more food than usual to replenish the energy and nourishment lost due to the illness.

Immunization is urgent. Do it now.

Immunization is urgent. Every child should complete the recommended series of immunizations. Early protection is critical; the immunizations in the first year and into the second year are especially important. All parents or other caregivers should follow the advice of a trained health worker on when to complete the required immunizations.

Immunization protects you and your loved ones from dangerous diseases

Immunization protects against several dangerous diseases. A child who is not immunized is more likely to become sick, permanently disabled or undernourished, and could possibly die.

Immunization is safe for all children

It is safe to immunize a child who has a minor illness or a disability or is malnourished.

Get your tetanus shot immediately

All pregnant women and their newborns need to be protected against tetanus. Even if a woman was immunized earlier, she needs to check with a trained health worker for advice on tetanus toxoid immunization.

Always ask for a new syringe

A new syringe must be used for every person being immunized. People should demand a new syringe for every vaccination.

Disease spreads when people are crowded together

Disease can spread quickly when people are crowded together. All children living in congested conditions, particularly in refugee or disaster situations, should be immunized immediately, especially against measles.

Show your vaccination card

The vaccination card of a child (or an adult) should be presented to the health worker before every immunization.


For more information visit the Fact for Life global page: http://www.factsforlifeglobal.org/

 

 
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