The start of complementary feeding

Sunday, June 17, 2018

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A child's nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life plays an important role in his future growth and development. The start of complementary feeding is an important milestone and an exciting time for parents and their babies. However, it also brings with it many questions and uncertainties.

Nestlé recently launched its Nestlé for Healthier Kids initiative, which aims at helping 50 million children around the world to lead healthier lives by 2030. This conference, a release from Nestlé said, is in alignment with the global strategy, reflecting the company's overall commitment to the continuous support to the health care community as they continue to provide vital services to the Jamaican population.

With this in mind, Nestlé said it has embarked on a scientific programme specifically targeted towards the health care community. Through a series of scientific lectures information will be shared with health care professionals in the Caribbean territories of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Dominican Republic, and Haiti on the critical topic of complementary feeding.

The objective of the programme, the release said, is to convey the significance of complementary feeding and to clarify the many doubts surrounding this topic, including the importance of complementary feeding beyond the nutritional role, such as motor skills development, a tool for learning feeding skills, as well as its influence on the acceptance of different foods, tastes and textures later in life.

Entitled 'Complementary feeding: A hot topic with many doubts', the Jamaica leg of these scientific conferences was held recently at the Knutsford Court Hotel. Keynote speakers, Dr Carolyn Rose Taylor-Bryan, paediatrician and clinical nutritionist from Jamaica, and Dr José Nuñez, consultant paediatrician in Trinidad and Tobago, both highlighted the importance of complementary feeding in early childhood nutrition and the critical role that infant cereals play.

In her address, according to the release, Dr Taylor-Bryan commented: “Infants are at risk for iron deficiency anaemia when started on complementary foods. Iron deficiency anaemia in infancy can affect their cognitive development. We, as health care providers, need to ensure that parents are aware of appropriate iron-rich foods to be included in the infant's diet starting at six months of age,” she ended.

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