INFANT FEEDING IN THE FIRST 1000 DAYS

CHILDHOOD KILLER DISEASES – PNEUMONIA
13/09/2017
HEALTHY EATING FROM THE START – TIPS FOR PARENTS
14/09/2017
infant

Infant feeding especially, in the first 1000 days of a child is very essential!!

Our instincts as moms to nourish, nurture and protect our children from the moment we become aware of their existence actually has a scientific basis.

infant

The first 1,000 days of a child’s life—from pregnancy (270 days) through a child’s 2nd birthday (365 days x 2) serves as a critical window of time that sets the stage for a person’s intellectual development and lifelong health.

It is a period of enormous potential, but also of enormous vulnerability.

Ensuring every child has the right start to life during these precious 1,000 days begins first and foremost with nutrition. The nutrition that children get from the food they eat early in life is a critical building block for the growth of their bodies, the development of their brains, and good immune systems.

Quite simply, there is no other period of a person’s life when nutrition has as profound an impact as in the 1,000 days from a woman’s pregnancy until her child’s 2nd birthday.

Poor nutrition or malnutrition, which can be under-nutrition (hunger) or over-nutrition (obesity) early in life can have long-lasting negative consequence on the child some of which may be irreversible. This is the reason why ensuring good nutrition for the first 1000 days of life is a worthy investment in the well-being of a child.

What does good nutrition in the first 1000 days entails?

Pregnancy period : Maternal nutrition

The pregnant mom must eat healthy, adequate nutritious diet including taking prenatal vitamins especially folic acid which is very important for brain development of the baby in the first trimester of the pregnancy.

0 – 6 months : Exclusive breastfeeding  

  •  As soon as the baby is born and for the next six months of baby’s life, exclusive breastfeeding.

  • That is giving baby only breast milk in the first six months! No water, no formula, no herbal concoction, no medications except if prescribed by the doctor.

  • Breast milk is very good for growth of the baby and also for good brain development. It is the most powerful protection against infection and disease that a child could get not forgetting a host of other benefits for both mom and baby.

6 – 24 months : Complementary feeding

  • From 6 months, breast milk is no longer sufficient. The infant should be introduced to solid foods while continuing breastfeeding on demand.

  • The solid should not just be one class of food for example pap but a mix of all the various classes of food including proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. This is vital for growth and brain development.

  • To be sure that you are doing the complementary feeds right, the practice must fulfill this acronym: FADUA!

  • F – Frequency

    • The frequency of complimentary feeds given in a day increases with the age of the child. Usually about 2 – 3 times a day in 6 – 9 months, then 4 times per day after 9 months. Remember breastfeeding should still continue till age 2 years while infants are on complementary feeds

      My Plate Photo credit: Google Image

  • A – Adequate

    • This means adequacy of the food in quantity and quality. It should contain foods from at least four of the six food groups which includes a) grains, roots and tubers b) legumes and nuts c) dairy products (milk, yoghurt, cheese) d) Flesh foods (meat, fish, poultry and liver/organ meats) e) Eggs f) Fruits and vegetables

  • D – Density.

    • This has to do with the consistency and caloric density of the complimentary feed. The consistency should be appropriate for age in order to ensure easy digestion by the infant. Foods with high calorie content are preferred.

  • U – Use of food.

    • This entails use of a variety of foods so as to avoid monotony as infants often get bored with being given the same type of food all the time. It also involves use of hygienic methods of feeding, food preparation and storage. Always give variety and use of plates, cup and spoon! Do not use feeding bottles please.

  •  A –  Active feeding methods.

    • This is also known as responsive feeding and is defined as the process of recognizing baby’s cues for hunger and fullness and responding appropriately to them by either feeding or stopping. Force feeding should not be practiced.

By the end of age 2 years, the child should be on full family diet like the rest of the family. It is important that we get the nutrition in the first 1000 days of life right. Make that worthy investment today!

In subsequent series, we will look at the practical details of feeding and the nutritional disorders and their consequences. Keep reading.

44 Comments

  1. Mrs Am says:

    Thanks so much for this useful information, May God bless you abundantly. My 10 months +baby isn’t eating well. She usually takes pap with nan, introduced cerelac (mixed fruit) she took it whenever she likes. she took quaker oat so i decided to buy baby oat but didn’t accept. I have tried our usual local complimentary foods to no avail. Pls wt do i do, help a ftm. She weighs 9kg based on the adult scale. Thanks for the help.

  2. Mrs George says:

    Good job you are doing here doc. I want to know please if Quaker oat is OK for my 13 months old toddler and if there’s any such thing as baby oat.

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      Hi Mrs George. Yes your 13 months old can take Quaker oat. There is no special oats for babies.

  3. kemi says:

    Hello. Each time I try to switch my baby to baby food Like SMA gold she ends up vomiting and her poo becomes catarrh like. Is it something to be scared about ? She’s 3 month

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      There is no need to switch your baby to formula now. Kindly continue exclusive breastfeeding till age 6 months

  4. God’s blessings I pray, pls ma Iam a first time mum and don’t want to make mistakes. My son is 6months, he weighs 9.8 .takes millet and guinea corn in pap form with Nan 2 milk.pls are the things I should introduce to his feeding.

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      The weight is good. Kindly also add fruits and vegetables to his feed so that it will not just be cereals only. Kindly ensure that at every feed, there are present 4 out of the six classes of food described in the article. Great job Mum!

  5. Nancy Ndia says:

    Hello Dr. Gbemi. My 4 months old baby girl always spits out her formula anytime she eats. Is it normal? Thank you for the good work u and ur team are doing to help mothers.

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      I would recommend that your baby be on breastmilk only, that is the best for babies 0 – 6 months.

      As long as the baby is not actively vomiting but regurgitates a little of the milk, that is fine. We refer to it as reflux and it is a mild phenomenon that will resolve with time as long it is not severe or making the child lose weight. Should the latter be the case, then you should see your Paediatrician for further assessment and management.

  6. EBERE MERCY OKAFOR says:

    Good day ma, my baby of 11months two week loves breast milk he prefers taking breast milk like ten tyms and take solid like twice a day … am not comfortable with this pls what action should u take….. thanks

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      You should feed with complementary feeds first at least 4 times a day before giving the breast milk as top-up. Breast milk is no longer sufficient to meet the calories demand of an 11 months old!

  7. Good day ma. God bless you for the job well done.
    My baby girl is seven months, she doesn’t take any food except cerelac, pap and breastmilk. I tried giving her potato and banana puree, semovita, amala, egg etc but she always refuse.
    Is she okay with the food now till she’s able to take other food. Thanks ma’am.e

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      Your baby is just 7 months which means you just started complementary feeds 1 month ago. Those foods are okay. You should avoid introducing several food items at the same time. You need to be very patient and introduce one new meal at a time not more than one new food item per week. Please be very patient and persistent. Read more tips about healthy eating habits in children here

  8. Vicky says:

    Good afternoon Dr, I have a 7week old baby (he is my 3rd). I EBF my babies for 6 months, giving expressed breast milk at the end of maternity leave . I used feeding bottles to feed my 1st 2 expressed breastmilk. But now am told that I should use a cup and spoon.As I will not be home to feed him myself I guess am asking if there is any thing wrong with giving this baby the expressed milk same way I gave my previous 2?

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      The challenges with bottle feeding is ease of contamination of the bottle especially the teat with bacteria which can be source of infection to the baby. It is easier to clean and sterilize the cup and spoon compared to bottles. Generally, Paediatricians do not advise bottle feeding. You really need to make conscious efforts with sterilization if using bottles. It is better also not to reuse the bottles until it has been sterilized thoroughly again.

  9. Uwagbai Grace says:

    gud day dr,
    my 3yrs old daughter still likes to suck breast milk. I just gave birth to another baby. Is it right?

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      Well you are allowed to breastfeed for as long as you can…we usually say 2 years. Since you have a newborn, I think it is better to wean the 3 year old so the new baby can have enough breast milk. Please wean the 3 year old immediately not a very good thing for her to be struggling for breasts with a newborn. Let her learn to achieve some independence and by now she should be on full family diet …give her normal milk…no need for breast milk

  10. Grace shotayi says:

    Thanks doc in d house for d good work been done here.Pls I have a 6month plus baby,I did ebf for him and now just started introducing formula,can I give him hollandia full cream milk?

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      Hi Grace…well done on doing exclusive breastfeeding. You should continue to breastfeed while introducing complementary feeds. You can not give Hollandia full cream milk yet. Please give age appropriate formula for infants 6 – 12 months old. However, read the article again to know that it is not only milk or formula you are supposed to introduce but full complements of other food (at least 4 of the food groups) so the child can have all the food nutrients provided.

  11. Mrs Akinola says:

    God bless u ma. Ma, I need ur help, my baby of 9months doesn’t accept any food at all, I av tried pap, cerelac, friso gold (rice n wheat), egg. All she wants is breast milk. It is only Nanny in d creche DAT can feed her , if we don’t go to school feeding na wahala. Her birth weight was 3.85kg, at 9months her weight is 7.5kg. I bought VITANE as food supplement but I avnt seen any difference. Pls help mi ma

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      Hello Mrs Akinola…the solution is not food supplement but patience and persistence in feeding the baby. You also need to experiment with variety of food. Kindly get tips and read more about how to promote healthy eating in your infant here

  12. Goodday drs. My son is nine months
    He has food particles like eggs and veggis in his stool. He is on amoxiclave treatment for cold. Should i report to the hospital?

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      Not at all….it is not unusual to have such scenario referred to as toddlers diarrhoea. He does not need antibiotics for colds though as most colds are due to viruses and usually resolve on its own without need for antibiotics.

  13. Thank you very much drs. Sometimes what a first time mom needs is explaination.

  14. sarah okebugwu says:

    Wow Doc, you are indeed doing a great job here, I just discovered dis group and am in love with how u are handlng things here……the Almighty God wil reward u…..please I would like to ask my 4 months old baby still takes d drugs administered to her since I gave birth to her….i want to know if I can stop it now or still continue with it…..

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      Thank you Sarah.

      What drugs are those? That will help me to know how to advise you further.

      However babies do not need to take any drugs at all if they are not sick. Though some give multivitamins drops which is acceptable but not compulsory

  15. Beauty says:

    Thanks doctors in the house. I did ebf for 6 months and introduced pap and other foods like rice, yam, crackers, freshly squeezed orange etc which my baby eats well, but he hasn’t pooped for 4 days now. What can I do

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      Make sure you also give adequate amount of water and fruits and vegetables as well. This will help the child with the bowel movement.

  16. Pam says:

    Hello Ma, Pls I need your advice.. My 4mths 3wks baby goes to creche and so is on formula due to my work. But am getting pressure from mom n her caregivers at creche of the need to introduce pap to her as the formula is not filling her anymore. Pls what is your advice on that? Also I will like to know if pap with ginger is good for babies.. Thanks.

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      PLEASE DO NOT GIVE PAP….

      There is no truth in the statement that formula is not filling a child – express breast milk and give adequate formula quantity if you can not meet up with exclusive breastfeeding.

      Complementary feeds should be introduced at 6 months as that is the optimal time when the child’s digestive system is ready to handle such food. There is no gain rather challenges in the rush.

      We do not recommend Ginger as some babies are allergic to such flavours and it is not necessary for the child at that age.

  17. Aniyi ronke says:

    Pls Docs, my 1year and 9 months old son still doesn’t like to eat, he weighs 12kg. he is always being forced to eat. He likes any kind of fruits, boiled or fried egg with plantain. I have tried other foods but I will have to force him, what can I do. he also takes golden morn with peak 123

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      His weight is age-appropriate. Just let him eat more of what he likes and gradually and patiently introduce new foods to him in a non-threatening way…preferably what you are eating and at the time you are eating it – family eating together. He will like to eat what you are eating if you model to him you enjoy the food. Do not force feed children…it makes them want to actually reject the food the more. Get more tips on the article here Healthy eating -tips for parents

  18. Joy says:

    Doc keep up d good works
    My baby of 5 weeks sneezes often, pls is dis a sign of cold

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      If you are applying Silverbird oil, it makes babies to sneeze a lot…Just stop that. Keep breastfeeding exclusively and keep baby warm

  19. Opulent Vera says:

    Greetings Doc.Indeed you re doun a great job. Please my 6months (+) has bin stoolin for 4dayz nw like 6times a day and the popo is transparent watery and greenish.. What shud I do Ma

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      You should give ORS and oral Zinc. Read about home treatment of diarrhoea here! If no improvement, kindly see a doctor. Also make sure you keep breastfeeding and giving complementary feeds.

  20. Mummy Iteoluwakiishi says:

    Hello doc.my baby is will be four months by January and I would be resuming back to work by then.though I am presently on EBF but will have to stop by then cos of work and my baby would be at Daycare.please what and what can I give her till I come back from work in the evening. Thanks.

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      You can express breast milk to give while you are at work. You do not have to stop exclusive breastfeeding because you are resuming work.
      Alternatively, you can also take baby along with you to a creche near work so you can go and breastfeed at intervals so you can maintain EBF for 6 months.
      If you think you will not be able to cope with the best options above, then you can give age-appropriate infant formula while you are away but breastfeed only and throughout the period you are home! All the best!

  21. grace says:

    My baby is almost 5months, she’s not sucking well for the past 2weeks and it has affected the supply of my breast milk. It’s not rushing at all…..what should I do pls ma?????please it’s urgent ma

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      You should sort out first the reason your baby is not sucking well. You should see a doctor. I am sorry Grace that I can not give urgent response to questions on this platform. I will encourage you to always speak to your personal Paediatricians or doctors for urgent issues or in emergencies situations, please take the child to the hospital immediately!

  22. Atinuke Ola- Afolabi says:

    Good afternoon Ma, what a great job you are doing,I’m a first time mum. my baby is 4 months plus and he has been on EBF. Yesterday while i was breast feeding him i felt a bite from his gum which was painful, my question is does that means his teeth is about to come out and he also has rash on his both arms and i have tried using Agnesia powder on it but no improvement, what can I use again.Thank you ma.

    • Dr Gbemisola Boyede says:

      There is nothing to do about the teeth about to come out….it is normal part of development. Read more about Teething here
      About the nappy rashes, stop the agnesia powder and read about the appropriate ways to handle nappy rashes here

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