Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding


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Complementary Feeding

Breastfeeding > Complementary Feeding

Complementary feeding means giving foods in addition to breastmilk. Malnutrition can result from suboptimal breastfeeding practices, poor quality complementary foods, detrimental feeding practices, and contamination of complementary food and feeding utensils. The second half of an infant's first year is an especially vulnerable time because infants are learning to eat and must be fed soft foods frequently and patiently. If nutritional intake is inadequate, the consequences persist throughout life.

We promote the introduction of appropriate complementary foods at six months with increased feeding frequency and changes in food consistency, quantity, and diversity as the child ages. We emphasize the importance of breastmilk as an important source of energy, protein, and micronutrients during this period. We promote the increase of timely complementary feeding among infants 6 through 9 months and testing of approaches for improving feeding practices. We aim to work with international and national partners to promote a set of unified, scientifically based guidelines on complementary feeding and to develop appropriate complementary feeding indicators.

More information on Complementary Feeding can be found at:

Dr. R. K. Anand's Guide to Child Care - Feeding the Newborn and Infants
Guidelines for Appropriate Complementary Feeding of Breastfed Children 6–24 Months of Age
and Linkages Project

Alive & Thrive Resources

Technical brief
Discusses the potential contribution of underused, micronutrient-rich foods to meet nutrient gaps in many complementary foods.

Poster | Recommended feeding actions in Bangladesh
Identifies recommended feeding practices at different ages during the first two years.

Posters | Good complementary feeding practices in Ethiopia
Emphasize the importance of feeding complementary foods to children 6-24 months old and enriching the porridge.

Bangladesh Job aid
Reminds frontline workers in Bangladesh of key feeding messages at different ages during the first two years of life.

Viet Nam Mother/Baby Book
Includes age-specific guidelines on complementary feeding.

Viet Nam Counseling Cards
Focus on age-appropriate complementary feeding practices and foods.

Alive & Thrive Videos

Video Clip | Meena on complementary feeding
Clip from animated film features Meena who learns about good feeding practices and shares her knowledge with her family.

Video Clip | How long is two years in a child's life?
Clip from an Ethiopian social drama encourages and illustrates good complementary feeding practices.

TV Spot | Animal food
45-second spot promotes incorporating animal foods into a baby's diet in Bangladesh.

TV Spot | Iron-rich foods TV spot
30-second spot encourages mothers to breastfeed and feed iron-rich foods every day for healthy and intelligent children in Viet Nam.

Complementary feeding training video for frontline health workers
(Bangla with English subtitles)

The video is used to train frontline workers in Bangladesh on appropriate feeding practices and foods for children 6-24 months old and on safe food preparation.

   7 August, 2014
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