Breastfeeding, mother's HIV status and choices
Q.21 How should an HIV-infected mother feed her infant after 6 months and before 12 months?
From 6 months of age, all infants need other foods in addition to breast milk. This is called complementary feeding.
If a mother continues to breastfeed her infant:
- she should begin to introduce small amounts of safe and adequate complementary foods at 6 months of age, increasing the quantity as the child gets older;
- at 6 months, the mother can begin giving the baby 1 or 2 tablespoons of soft porridge or well-mashed foods twice a day, so that at the end of the month the baby is taking 2 or 3 tablespoons each time;
- at 7 – 8 months, the infants should have 2/3 cup (based on a cup of 250 ml) of mashed food 3 times per day;
- at 9-11 months, the amount of food should be 3/4 cup 3 times a day, plus a snack;
- by the time the child is 12 months old, he/she will need 1 full cup of family foods three times a day, plus two snacks between meals; and
- a variety of foods should be given, including animal-source foods, and the child should have his/her own plate or bowl. Basic rules of hygiene should be followed, such as making sure hands and utensils are clean.
If breastfeeding has stopped, the baby should have between 200 – 500 ml of milk of some kind, the amount depending on whether other animal-source foods are regularly consumed. Commercial infant formula is not needed after 6 months. Fresh animal milk should be boiled until the baby is 12 months of age.