The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breast feeding for the first 6 months of life, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to 2 years of age or beyond. This material is only meant as a guide for African mom’s to support their children’s nutritional growth.
Feeding Guide for Babies
Birth – 4 months
• Exclusive breastfeeding (feeding the baby with only breastmilk for a period of 6 months
without additional food, drink or water)
However, some mothers are unable to exclusively breastfeed due to work or other reasons,
hence, may introduce;
• Breast-milk substitute or formula
Note – Solid foods such as cereals and grains are off-limit as baby’s digestive tract is still
Avoid giving water as breastmilk contains (about 88% water) needed by baby.
Give only medications when prescribed by a paediatrician.
4 – 6 months
• Continue Breastfeeding and/ or Formula
• In addition, once baby shows Signs of readiness for solids, such as neck control, ability
to sit without support, makes chewing motion with mouth, or curious about what you are
eating, you may introduce;
• Breast milk or formula mixed with rice cereal
• Fortified pap ( maize pap fortified with ground crayfish, a spoon of palm oil, soya milk)
• Pureed foods such as apple/banana/pear puree, sweet potato puree.
Note – Start gradually, by mixing one spoonful of rice cereal with 30 – 40mls of breast milk or
formula once – twice per day.
Gradually increase and thicken consistency.
Use cup and spoon to feed, avoid straws and sterilize all bottles properly to prevent
6 – 9 months
• Continue Breast milk or Formula PLUS
• Cereals ( Rice, Oats)
• Fortified pap ( with crayfish, palm oil, soya milk)
• Custard, Oats
• Egg yolk
• Semovita/ Ground Rice/ Amala with Ewedu+crayfish+titus fish
• Blended Beef/ Chicken/ Pork
Note – Introduce new foods one at a time to ensure your baby is not allergic to any.
Its okay if your baby refuses solids at first, try each new food 1 – 3 times before trying
It is important to continue feeding with breast milk/ formula to provide essential
nutrients needed for development.
9 – 12 months
• Continue Breast milk or Formula
• Well- cooked, mashed Rice or Beans
• Well-cooked spiral/cylindrical shaped pasta.
• Fish, Eggs
• Fruits ( watermelon, banana, oranges, avocado pear, cut into small shapes/sizes)
• Sauteed veggies ( Boiled carrots, cucumber, broccoli, apples)
• Cheese , yogurt.
Note – Continue breast milk and formula including multivitamin supplements to ensure your
baby gets all the vitamins needed for his/her development.
Avoid introducing sweets, sodas, fizzy drinks, biscuits, chocolates which are found to
cause obesity and a ‘sweet-tooth’ which makes babies refuse real foods.
1 – 3 years
Children this age require 1000 – 1500 calories per day. Due to their increased physical activity,
small but frequent highly nutritious meals are essential, however, a meal routine of breakfast,
lunch and dinner with 2 snacks in between may be followed.
• Breast milk (if you wish to continue. Its up to you and your baby to decide when to stop)
• Formula (toddler milk)
• Whole milk ( introduce gradually with light consistency)
• Adult diet ( shredded, mashed or cut in small pieces)
• Honey may be introduced
• Peanut butter (watch out for nut allergy)
• Fruit juices (dilute with water to reduce sugar content)
• Ensure they drink lots of water. A toddler needs about 1.2 – 1.5L of fluid per day (due to the hot
climate), about half of this should be water, while the rest is from milk, fruit juices etc
• Include vegetables and fruits in their diet to prevent constipation (carrots, cabbage, peas, leafy
greens, apple, oranges, banana)
• Continue multivitamin supplements
Note – At this age, they may become choosy with food, avoid giving foods with high sugar content to prevent obesity and reduce hyperactivity (sugar-rush). Encourage drinking a lot of water instead of drinks which fill up their small stomach, offer food before water to ensure they eat enough.