What are supplementary/complementary foods

 What are supplementary/complementary foods

Foods that are regularly fed to the infant, in addition to breast-milk, providing sufficient nutrients are known as supplementary or complementary foods. These could be liquids like milk or semi-solids like ‘kheer’ in the case of infants or solid preparations like rice etc., in the case of children over the age of one year.

Why use complementary foods and when

At birth, mother’s milk alone is adequate for the infant. Requirements of all the nutrients progressively increase with the infant’s growth. Simultaneously, the breastmilk secretion in the mother comes down with time. Thus, infants are deprived of adequate nutrients due to the dual factors of increased nutrient requirements and decreased availability of breast-milk. Usually, these changes occur at about 6 months of age. Hence, promotion of optimal growth in infants, calls for introduction of adequate food supplements in addition to continued breast feeding, from the age of 6 months onwards.

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