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When to start with complementary solid foods

When to introduce your baby to complementary foods and why getting the timing right is so important.

As your baby grows, her nutritional needs grow with her. During the first two years, up to 75 per cent of each meal goes to building your baby’s brain. Complementary foods are solid foods that are started gradually in addition to (complementary to) breastmilk. Breastmilk remains baby’s main source of food for the next few months.

Up to 6 months old

From the first hour of life, through to 6 months old, your baby can receive all the nutrition she needs to grow and develop from your milk. She doesn’t need anything else – no water, tea, juice, porridge or any other foods or fluids during this period. If you do not breastfeed your baby, the best time to introduce your baby to complementary foods is also at 6 months of age.

Myth: Boys need more than breastmilk

Both baby girls and boys need the same amount of food to be healthy and grow strong and smart. Breastmilk alone provides all these requirements for boys and girls up to 6 months of age.

Living with HIV

If you are living with HIV, introduce your baby to her first solid foods at 6 months and continue to breastfeed her while taking your ARV medicines and ensuring your baby is taking her ARVs. Always follow your treatment plan and if you are unsure about anything on your treatment plan, check with your healthcare provider.

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