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New Release: Chinese 0-6 Month Old Infant Feeding Guide

Release time:2015-08-19 Source: Author:CNS Clicks: Print Font size:smallmediumlarge

Infants go through a rapid period of growth after birth, and the first 6 months of life demands high nutrients and energy. Breast milk provides all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals an infant needs for growth for the first six months. It has profound impact on a child’s survival, health, nutrition and development. Thus, exclusive breastfeeding should be given to the infants until 6 months. 

In an effort to promote the nutrition of 0-6 month old infants, Chinese Nutrition Society had collected evidences and considered advices from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other international organizations. The CNS formulated and released a guide on feeding 0-6 month old infants on 2nd August, 2015. This is the first time to publish an independent guideline that is specific for the 0-6 month old infants in China. 

The main content is below:
1. Try to initiate breastfeeding as soon as possible when your baby’s born; and insist that colostrum is the very first food for newborns.
There are many nutritional compositions and active substances, in particularly, many immunity globulins in colostrums. The colostrums help protect infants from allergies, and reduce incidences of the neonatal jaundice, loss of weight and hypoglycemia. There is enough energy in newborns’ body to meet their metabolisms needs at least three days. Mother should pay close attention to newborn’s weight, and stick to the exclusive breastfeeding as long as the weight loss of newborn is no more than 7%.

2. Insist on exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life
Breast milk is the idealist food for the infant. Exclusive breastfeeding provides all of the liquid、energy and nutrients for growth for the first six months. "Exclusive breastfeeding" is defined as giving no other food or drink – not even water – except breast milk. What’s more, breastfeeding has many benefits for establishing healthy gastrointestinal microecological environment, protecting against gastrointestinal infection and reducing the risks of allergies. 

3. Breastfeeding should be "on demand", as often as the baby wants day and night to establish baby’s healthy lifestyle.
Breastfeeding should follow the process of infant’s maturation of gastrointestinal tract, and progressively move from feeding “on demand” to feeding routine. According to the infant’s hunger cues, they may need to be fed 6 to 8 times or more in 24 hours. Don’t impose a scheduled feeding on the infants, especially for the first three months. 

4. The supplementation of Vitamin D should be given within the first few days after birth; and newborns don’t need the supplementation of calcium.
Vitamin D is low in the breast milk, so infants cannot gain enough Vitamin D through breastfeeding. Infants should be given 10μg (400 IU) Vitamin D supplement within the first few days after birth. The supplementation of calcium is not needed because exclusive feeding provides all calcium for the infants. An intramuscular injection of 1mg Vitamin K1 is recommended for the newborns, especially for the caesarean delivery babies. 

5. Infant formula can only be chosen when breastfeeding is unable.
In some situations, such as babies who have certain metabolic diseases, breast mother has some infectious diseases or mental diseases, or has poor milk secretion, infant formula (for 0-6 months) is the first choice. Any adult formula, protein powder or soybean powder should not be fed directly to the infants. Infant formula can never be comparable with the breast milk, only as a substitute after breastfeeding failure. 

6. Monitor baby’s anthropometric data to ensure healthy growth.
Length and weight are direct indicators for reflecting infant’s feeding and nutritional status. Disease, improper feeding and undernutrition may cause growth retardation of infants. For the first 6 months, the infant’s length and weight should be measured every half month (the frequency can be increased during the recovery phase of diseases). The WHO Child Growth Charts is a standard to estimate whether the infant has gained proper feeding. There are individual differences among infants, so comparisons of growth indicators should be avoided. 

The Expert Committee of the Chinese Dietary guideline (Maternal and Children guideline expert group)

Notice:  for the detailed practices, please refer the professional version of the guide.
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Tel: 010-83554781

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