Good complementary foods
Good complementary foods are energy-rich, nutrient-rich and locally affordable. Examples in some areas are soft cereal-based porridge with added oil or milk, fruits, vegetables, pulses, meat, eggs, fish, and milk products. If the child receives cow's milk or any other breastmilk substitute, these and any other drinks should be given by cup, not by bottle.
Examples of good complementary foods
The list below will help you to advise a mother of the kinds of nutritious foods she can prepare for her child.
- Mashed potatoes softened with milk, shiro fit-fit, merek fit-fit, and porridge made of cereal and legumes mixed with butter or oil added are nutrient-rich complementary foods to start in a child 6‒12 months of age. They are also recommended for a child 12 months up to two years.
- Porridge can be made from wheat, barley or teff with legumes added. Ask what cereals are available in the house. If it is feasible for her, advise the mother to make flour from several different grains plus peas. The consistency of the porridge should be thick enough to be fed by hand. When possible, use undiluted milk instead of water to prepare the porridge. Multi-mixes such as Fafa are very good if available. Kitta, softened in milk or prepared soft with oil or butter added, is another good alternative complementary food.
- Eggs provide good nutrition for infants and young children. They can be prepared by cooking or hard boiling. Tell the mother she can then break the egg up and feed it to the child or add it to the fit-fit. Egg can also be stirred into the porridge. Even if an egg can only be given once or a few times in a week it is very good for the child, especially if the child is malnourished.
Give a variety of thick, nutritious food for an infant over six months of age in addition to the breastfeeding.
Exclusive breastfeeding is not enough for a child over six months of age. A variety of thick, nutritious foods are needed to prevent malnutrition. You can advise the mother that she should also give mashed and boiled kale (gommen) and carrots, bananas, oranges and other fruits such as avocado or papaya to ensure her child has a healthy, balanced diet.