19 June 2024

Nutrition, for every child

The UNICEF Nutrition Strategy 2020–2030: Nutrition, for Every Child outlines UNICEF’s strategic intent to support national governments and partners in upholding children’s right to nutrition, and ending malnutrition in all its forms over the next decade. Today, at least one in three children is not growing well because of malnutrition. New forces are driving the nutrition situation of children – globalization, urbanization, inequities, environmental crises, health epidemics and humanitarian emergencies – posing critical challenges to feeding children sustainably today and for generations to come. Yet there is reason to be optimistic. Since 2000, the proportion of children under 5 suffering from stunting has declined by one third and the number of children with stunting has dropped by 55 million. While there are important challenges ahead, this achievement makes clear that a future without malnutrition is within our grasp. To drive progress over the next decade, the Nutrition Strategy recommits to rights-based and context-specific programmes that are informed by evidence and innovation. We expand our traditional focus on early childhood to middle childhood and adolescence. We renew our focus on preventing stunting, wasting and micronutrient deficiencies, while increasingly responding to the challenge of childhood overweight and obesity. And we propose a systems approach to nutrition that strengthens the ability of five key systems – food, health, water and sanitation, education, and social protection – to deliver diets, services and practices that support adequate maternal and child nutrition. The strategy builds on UNICEF’s past strategic guidance and programme experience, while embracing six strategic shifts to respond to the evolving face of child malnutrition: An explicit focus on addressing child malnutrition in all its forms A comprehensive life cycle approach to nutrition programming A deliberate emphasis on improving diets, services and practices A systems approach to maternal and child nutrition A greater attention to private sector engagement A universal vision and agenda relevant to all countries   We stand ready to support national governments and their partners in upholding the right to nutrition for every child and securing a more just and equitable future for children and their families – today, and on the path to 2030.
19 June 2024

Playtime, anytime!

In the first 1,000 days of life (first 3 years), your child’s brain develops faster than at any other time. Even more incredible is that before young children can even talk, you can help with that brain building. How? Through serve and return! >>Watch Building babies’ brains through play: Mini Parenting Master Class   With help from our…, What is serve and return?, Serve and return is a series of back and forth interactions between a child and parent or primary caregiver, where an adult responds lovingly and appropriately to a baby or toddler’s noises and gestures. Think of it as a game of ping-pong: it’s all about the back and forth — and having fun! The most important part is showing your child that you…, How do I practice serve and return with my child?, Building your baby’s brain does not need to be complicated and better yet, it can be built into every day routines and moments. Any moment with your baby can turn into a playful opportunity to learn! Here are some easy ways you can start incorporating serve and return into your everyday interactions with your little one.  , The 'name game', Mother playing with her child Add some fun to your morning routine! Dressing your child is a great opportunity to help them make important language connections. As you observe their interest in each article of clothing you put on, give them names. For example, as you hold up their shirt, say “yes, this is your shirt!” You can take it a step…, Food time fun!, Child eating Explore your kitchen with your child – it’s full of exciting sights, colours, shapes and smells for your baby to explore. Support and encourage your child’s curiosity by paying close attention to what your child is looking at, interested in and reacting to. For example, if you notice your baby staring at a banana, pick it up and bring…, Bath time play, Infant in her mother's hand Grab some bath toys or a ball and get ready to play! Let your baby pick the toy that grabs their interest first. Play with them back and forth, and when they're ready to move to the next toy make a point to acknowledge the end of their time with the first toy by saying “all finished!” Toddlers may be readier than…, Point and learn, Father playing his child Whether it’s in the car or around the neighbourhood, there are lots of things to see when walking outside. Pay attention to what your baby seems interested in through their gestures, gaze or sounds and point to it while telling your baby what it is: “Oh do you see the bird? That’s a beautiful bird!” This will show your…, Food swap, Mother feeding her child When feeding your baby a snack, take turns in who does the feeding. Feed them one piece and let them pick up the next piece themselves. Even if it takes some time, wait for your child to respond. Taking turns helps build their confidence and social skills. This would be a great game for babies 6 months and older. By taking…
08 April 2024

Heat wave safety tips

Heat waves are anything but fun in the sun. Extreme heat and humidity can be extremely uncomfortable and pose serious health risks, especially for infants, children, pregnant women and the elderly. Without taking the proper precautions, extreme heat can lead to heat stroke and even worse, fatality. As a result of climate change, heat waves are…, Heat wave facts, Heatwave facts: A girl stands under the hot sun What is a heat wave?  Heat waves happen when the temperature is higher than normal for several days in a row. Humidity can cause it to feel much hotter. What causes a heat wave?  Heat waves result from warm air being trapped in the atmosphere and are a natural weather phenomenon. Heat waves are…, What to do in a heat wave, How to prepare for a heatwave: A girl stands next to a fan Be prepared Know how hot and humid it is going to get today, this week and this month to help plan outside activities. Keep an emergency kit at home that contains oral rehydration salt (ORS) packets, a thermometer, water bottles, towels or cloths to wet for cooling, a handheld fan or…, Signs and symptoms of heat-related illness, How to recognize symptoms of heatstroke: A girl looks confused as a caregiver supports her Severe symptoms of heat stress require urgent care.  If a family member is presenting any of the severe symptoms below you should call for an ambulance or arrange for another form of transport to a health facility immediately. Trust your instincts and don’t…, Symptoms of heat-related illness, Milder symptoms - treat at home Severe symptoms – take to hospital immediately General Dry lips/sticky mouth Excessive thirst Excessive sweating Weakness /dizziness Nausea/vomiting Small blisters/rashes Heat rashes Mild fever Nosebleeds Cramps, usually in arms and legs Confusion/not responding clearly /seizures/coma/not waking up (MOST SEVERE)…, How to treat heatstroke and heat-related illnesses, How to treat heat related illness: A girl lies on the floor while a caregiver provides water Take the following steps to help your loved one cool, rehydrate and recover:, 1. Cool and rush to health facility if severe, If a family member is experiencing severe symptoms of heat-related illnesses, it is important to cool first and transport second.   Help the person sit or lie down in a cool shaded area with good ventilation. Close curtains to create more shade. Turn on a fan or air conditioner if available. Apply wet towels to the skin at head, neck, armpits and…, 2. Reduce temperature, Move the person into a cool area if not done so already. Close curtains to create more shade. Turn on a fan or air conditioner if available.    Apply wet towels or cool water to the body, particularly at head, neck, armpits and groin. Keep changing the towels or dipping them in cool water every few minutes to provide cool water for the body. If…, 3. Rehydrate, Infants under six months: Breastfeed to rehydrate the infant. Encourage mother to also drink more water, especially if breastfeeding.  Older infants and children: Given your infant or child water in small amounts to help them become used to it.  If the child has sweated a lot or is sweating a lot, add some Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) to the water…
02 January 2024

Feeding your baby: 1–2 years

At 1 year old, your child is learning to eat on their own. They can chew food as well as you can, so they can eat the same foods as the rest of the family., In brief: Feeding your child at 1–2 years, plate with food icon At 1 year, solid foods – including healthy snacks – are now your child’s main source of energy and nutrition. Jar icon Your child can take between three quarters to one cup of food three to four times a day, plus one to two snacks between meals. Breastfeeding icon Continue breastfeeding as much as your child wants, until at…, What to feed your child, Your child can eat anything, so you can give them some of all the food your family eats and make every bite count. Each meal needs to be packed with nutritious food. Be sure your child has a portion of animal foods (milk, dairy, eggs, meat, fish and poultry) each day, plus legumes (like chickpeas, lentils or peas) – or nuts, and orange or green…, How much food and how often, Your child can take between three quarters to one cup of food three to four times a day, plus one to two snacks between meals. If you’re not breastfeeding, then your child will need to eat more often. At 1 year, about the time children start to walk, your child's feeding schedule should include four to five meals a day, plus two healthy snacks.…, Foods to avoid, Avoid junk food and soft drinks. Factory-made snacks like crisps, cookies, cakes, soda and candy are unhealthy. They have high amounts of sugar, salt, fat and chemicals, and take up space in your child’s stomach that should be filled with nutritious foods., Mealtime tips, Having their own bowl of food will help your child learn to feed themselves. Start as soon as your child wants. Give them all the food they need and plenty of time to eat.  At first, your child will be slow and messy. Help them to get most of the food in their mouth (instead of on themself or the floor!). Encourage your child to finish it and make…, What to do when your child refuses to eat solid foods, Make sure your child is hungry at mealtimes and has not just had a snack. Although breastfeeding continues to be healthy for your child, breastfeed them only after their meal. At this age, they should eat solid food first.  Give your child healthy food that they like or mix the food they like with food they don't like as much. Try different food…
02 January 2024

Feeding your baby: 6–12 months

Young children need enough nutritious food every day to grow healthy, strong and smart. At around 6 months old, your baby is growing quickly and needs more energy and nutrients than at any other time in their life., In brief: Feeding your baby at 6–12 months, plate and food icon After 6 months, breastmilk is still your baby’s main source of energy and nutrients, but solid foods should now be added. Jar icon Your baby has a small stomach and needs to be eating small amounts of soft nutritious food frequently throughout the day.  fruits icon In addition to grains and tubers, feed your baby a variety of…, Your baby's first foods, When your baby is 6 months old, they are just learning to chew. The first foods need to be soft so they’re very easy to swallow, such as porridge or well mashed fruits and vegetables. Did you know that when porridge is too watery, it doesn't have as many nutrients? To make it more nutritious, cook it until it’s thick enough not to run off the…, Feeding your baby: 6–8 months old, From 6–8 months old, feed your baby half a cup of soft food two to three times a day. Your baby can eat anything except honey, which they shouldn't eat until they reach 12 months old. You can start to add a healthy snack, like mashed fruit, between meals. As your baby gets increasing amounts of solid foods, they should continue to get the same…, Feeding your baby: 9–11 months old, From 9–11 months old, your baby can take half a cup of food three to four times a day, plus a healthy snack. Now you can start to chop up soft food into small pieces instead of mashing it. Your baby may even start to eat food with their fingers. Continue to breastfeed whenever your baby is hungry. Each meal needs to be both easy for your baby to…, Feeding non-breastfed babies, If you're not breastfeeding, your baby will need to eat more often. They'll also need to rely on other foods, including milk products, to get all the nutrition their body needs. Start to give your baby solid foods at 6 months of age, just as a breastfed baby would need. Begin with two to three spoonfuls of soft and mashed food four times a day,…