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RO9 EnrichContinued breastfeeding for two years or longer helps a child to develop and grow strong and healthy. However, when the child reached 6 months breast milk alone is no longer sufficient to meet the child’s nutritional needs and therefore complementary foods are needed for a growing child in addition to breastmilk. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines complementary feeding as giving of additional foods or liquid starting at 6 months because breast milk alone is no longer sufficient to meet the nutritional requirements of infants.

As the child gets older, they need more food to have more energy to grow and be active. According to WHO, six months of age is a good time to start giving complementary foods. This is the age where babies are more attracted to complementary foods because they already show interest when they see other people eating and reach for food, put things in their mouth and can already control their tongue better to move food around their mouth. Before preparing complementary foods for babies, mothers and their family members must know the ways to enrich the baby’s foods. Here are some ways to enrich the baby’s food:

1. For porridge or other staples such as corn, oats, cassava and potato

Prepare the porridge with less water and make it thicker. Foods that are thick in consistency give more energy to the child.

2. For soup or stew

Take out a mixture of the solid pieces in the soup or stew such as meat and vegetables. Mash this to a thick puree and feed to the child instead of the liquid part of the soup.

3. Add energy or nutrient rich food to the porridge, soup or stew to enrich it.

Replace some (or all) of the cooking water with fresh milk, coconut cream, or milk. One may opt to add a spoonful of margarine or oil to the porridge, soup or stew.

By 12 months, most children can already eat the food in the family pot with other members of the family. But mothers should also keep in mind the need for nutrient-dense foods, including animal-source foods like meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and dairy products. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended from 0-6 months but as the child grows older starting 6 months and beyond, he or she needs more nutrients which can be taken from additional foods given. With these tips and ways to enrich your baby’s food, your child will surely grow into a smart and healthy baby that will make the family happy.

 

AA VI Cielo Katrina M. Mabalot

 

References:

1. Appropriate Complementary Feeding from https://www.who.int/elena/titles/complementary_feeding/en/#:~:text=Complementary%20feeding%20is%20defined%20as,needed%2C%20along%20with%20breast%20milk.

2. Infant and Young Child Feeding Counselling: An Integrated Course Trainer’s Guide