Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies (IYCF-E)
What is IYCF-E?
In emergencies, child deaths can increase from 2 to 70 times higher than the average rate. For pregnant and lactation women (PLW) and children from birth to 23 months, nutrition is key to reducing the death and illness that accompany emergencies of all kinds. During emergencies, ensuring that infants are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months and that breastfeeding is continued for 2 years or more is crucial as it safeguards the health of infants and young children. The risks of feeding infants something other than breastmilk, particularly for the first 6 months, are increased because of unclean water, crowded and unhygienic living conditions, and inconsistent supplies in the markets. This can significantly endanger infants’ health and can lead to increased illness, malnutrition and mortality.
Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies (IYCF-E) concerns the protection and support of safe and appropriate feeding for infants and young children in all types of emergencies, with the goal of safeguarding their survival, health and growth. It includes supporting the nutritional needs of infants and young children 0-2 years of age, it concerns both breastfed or non-breastfed children as well as the wellbeing of mothers. IYCF-E protects breastfeeding alongside safe, diverse and locally-available complementary foods. IYCF-E is a cross-cutting field, requiring coordination of multiple areas of expertise. IYCF-E must be integrated into the emergency preparedness and response plans. For guidance on IYCF-E, please refer to the Operational Guidance on IYCF-E and other resources.
In emergencies, IYCF-E policies and interventions aim to:
- protect and promote breastfeeding,
- prevent untargeted and mass distributions of infant formula and bottles, and
- support adequate supplies of diverse, locally-available foods for children between 6 and 23 months old
Reference this page
LD (2020). Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies (IYCF-E). www.ennonline.net/iycfe