Mother's Day

Healthy Mother, Healthy Baby

Mother's Day 2012


Good nutrition

Good nutrition in the first two years of life is crucial. Inadequate nutrition during this period can slow a child's physical and mental development for the rest of his or her life.

During pregnancy and breastfeeding

§ Pregnant women and new mothers need the best foods available: milk, fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, grains, peas and beans. All of these foods are safe to eat during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

§ Nutritious foods rich in iron, vitamin A and folic acid include meat, fish, eggs, green leafy vegetables, and orange or yellow fruits and vegetables.

§ Iodine in a pregnant woman's and young child's diet is especially critical for the healthy development of the child's brain. Women also need enough iodine in their diet to protect their infant from physical or mental disability.

0-6 months

§ All a baby needs in the first six months is mother's milk, to get to a good start in life

§ The baby does not need water or other drinks or foods (such as tea, juice, sugar water, gripe water, rice water, other milks, formula or porridge) during the first six months. Even in hot, dry climates, breastmilk fully meets a baby's need for fluids.

6–8 months

§ Children should breastfeed frequently and receive other foods two to three times a day. Parents should start with soft or mushy foods (such as porridge) and gradually increase the consistency (thickness) of food.

§ Animal foods such as meat, eggs and fish can be given as early as possible, but they should be mashed, minced or cut into very small pieces. Start with 2–3 spoonfuls per feeding, increasing gradually to 1/2 of a 250-millilitre cup.

9–24 months

§ Children should receive other foods three to four times a day in addition to breastfeeding.

§ Give infants aged 9–11 months 1/2 of a 250-millilitre cup per feeding.

§ Provide children aged 12–23 months 3/4 to 1 whole 250-millilitre cup per feeding.

§ Give children 2 years and older at least 1 whole 250-millilitre cup per feeding. Foods from animals, such as meat, fish and eggs, should be included as much as possible.

By 12 months

§ Most children are able to consume 'family foods' of a solid consistency. They can still be offered semi-solid foods, which are easier for young children to eat.

§ Additional nutritious snacks (such as fruit, bread or bread with nut paste) can be offered once or twice per day, as desired, starting at six months.

§ If the quality or amount of food per meal is low, or the child is no longer breastfeeding, give 1–2 cups of milk plus one or two extra meals each day.






Improving Child Nutrition

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