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Complementary feeding frequency - the reality: Case Study for the IYCF GIFA/ENN Project

Author: GIFA / ENN report (ACF)
Resource type: Case study

Two case studies from: INFANT AND YOUNG CHILD FEEDING IN EMERGENCIES GIFA/ENN PROJECT (2003)

Researchers: Mary Corbett (Evaluation of Module 1) and Marie McGrath (Collation of case studies)

Case 2
Location: Many programmes in different countries and contexts
Source: Caroline Wilkinson, ACF HQ
Time: 2002/ 2003
Issue: Complementary feeding frequency: the reality

Interviews with carers of defaulters from SFPs, in both displaced and stable populations, have found that feeding frequency is consistently less than current recommendations advocate. Typically, infants and young children are fed complementary foods once or twice daily (ACF recommends frequent feeding, six times per day). Basic porridges are often given, based on the local staple food and fortified with oil. Feeding children coincides with feeding the family – more frequent preparation of meals, requiring cooking may be impractical.

Case 48
Location: Not country specific
Time: 2003
Source: Kari Egge
Issue: Frequent feeding advice in complementary feeding

Current guidelines on complementary infant feeding recommend frequent feeding of infants and young children. Lower feeding frequency has been identified as a relevant contributing factor to malnutrition. There have been some successes in promoting frequent feeds but, in reality, it can be difficult to implement. Obstacles include lack of time of mothers, fuel scarcity, the practicalities of managing a household.

Sometimes in emergency situations, we, as field staff, can become “obsessed” with the needs of young children. This is understandable, however programming increasingly needs to consider family decision-making which may lead to choices that may not be entirely compatible with recommendations, but may be the most pragmatic decision for the household. For example, is it realistic (or fair) to expect a mother to prepare and give food to her youngest child, if there are other hungry children in the household? These issues are likely to increasingly feature in households of the chronically ill, which includes families with members living with HIV/AIDS.

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GIFA / ENN report (ACF) (2003). Complementary feeding frequency - the reality: Case Study for the IYCF GIFA/ENN Project. www.ennonline.net/compfeedingfrequency

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