Normal growth and development of the child are dependent on four cornerstones: nutrition, protection from environment, essential health care and love.
Key messages to promote childhood growth
- Good nutrition is very important for growth.
- All mothers should breastfeed exclusively until the baby is 6 months old. For a mother with HIV, exclusive breastfeeding or no breastfeeding is a choice she has to make.
- Mothers should continue breastfeeding until the baby is 24 months old.
- Mothers or caregivers should introduce solids at 6 months only if the baby appears hungry after breastfeeding or is not gaining weight adequately.
- When introducing solids, start with 1 to 2 teaspoon per day after breastfeeding, then increase frequency.
- Once feeding is established, mothers should give 5 meals per day.
- At 9 months the baby should be eating family foods four to five times daily.
- Mothers who are ill should continue breastfeeding during illness.