Call to educate lactating mothers on additional foods

THE Tanzania Food Nutrition Centre (TFNC) has sounded the need for nutrition education to breastfeeding mothers to enable them understand how to prepare complementary foods after their babies reach the age of more than six months.

TFNC Nutritional Research Officer Hamida Mbilikila said that nutrition awareness to mothers will help children grow healthily. Mbilikila said the 6-month babies need complementary food from five food groups after six months of exclusive breastfeeding.

“Proper nutrition helps the baby get all kinds of nutrients and stay healthy and also helps reduce malnutrition,” She said there is still poor understanding among breast feeding mothers on how to prepare meals for children after six months.

Ms Mbilikila added that babies aged more than six months need energy and nutrients more than what they get from breast milk, insisting that complementary foods provide such nutrients.

“A baby has a small stomach and needs to be eating small amounts of soft nutritious food throughout the day while breast milk continues to be a vital source of nutrition but alone it’s not enough,” she said.

Nutritionists also avoid nutritious food with high levels of saturated fat, sugar or salt. According to nutritionist, practicing good hygiene and proper food handling starts at six months while gradually increasing small amounts of food as the child gets older.

The government has played a great effort in eradicating malnutrition in children aged 6 to 59 months. TFNC has continued to stimulate and promote awareness to the people on the importance of a balanced diet and the dangers of malnutrition.

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