Increasing awareness on infant and young child feeding
The food and nutrition practices in the early years of life of a child determine his/her physical growth and mental development and it cannot be compensated later. The national strategy on infant and young child feeding is formulated to promote proper care through appropriate feeding. However, the awareness is still low among general population.
In Bangladesh, only 25% among 6-12 months old babies receive proper complementary food. To meet the nutrition requirement, a child must be fed from at least 4 or more groups of foods every day. These groups are: animal source of foods, vitamin rich fruits and vegetables, dairy products, oil and fats, pulses and beans and cereals. Before preparation of food for children and their feeding, hands must be properly cleaned with soap.
Infants are vulnerable during the transition period when complementary feeding begins. From the seventh month, along with breast feeding, giving the child normal or home food (semi-solid or solid) is called complementary food. Complementary food must be balanced. This does not need costly food. Family food and fruits from local sources can meet the nutritional demand.
The feeding practices of infants and young children, particularly breastfeeding and complementary feeding are not optimal in Bangladesh and are contributing to the high levels of malnutrition.