Childhood Growth and Development


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.

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