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Guiding principles for feeding infants and young children during emergencies
Principle 1. Infants born into populations affected by emergencies should normally be exclusively breastfed from birth to 6 months of age.
Principle 2. The aim should be to create and sustain an environment that encourages frequent breastfeeding for children up to two years or beyond.
Principle 3. The quantity, distribution and use of breast-milk substitutes at emergency sites should be strictly controlled.
Principle 4. To sustain growth, development and health, infants from 6 months onwards and older children need hygienically prepared, and easy-to-eat and digest, foods that nutritionally complement breast milk.
Principle 5. Caregivers need secure uninterrupted access to appropriate ingredients with which to prepare and feed nutrient-dense foods to older infants and young children.
Principle 6. Because the number of caregivers is often reduced during emergencies as stress levels increase, promoting caregivers’ coping capacity is an essential part of fostering good feeding practices for infants and young children.
Principle 7. The health and vigour of infants and children should be protected so they are able to suckle frequently and well and maintain their appetite for complementary foods.
Principle 8. Nutritional status should be continually monitored to identify malnourished children so that their condition can be assessed and treated, and prevented from deteriorating further. Malnutrition’s underlying causes should be investigated and corrected.
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