Infant and young child feeding: model chapter for textbooks for medical students and allied health professionals
Optimal infant and young child feeding practices rank among the most effective interventions to improve child health. Under-nutrition is associated with at least 35% of child deaths. It is also a major disabler preventing children who survive from reaching their full developmental potential. To improve this situation, mothers and families need support to initiate and sustain appropriate infant and young child feeding practices. Health care professionals can play a critical role in providing that support, through influencing decisions about feeding practices among mothers and families.
Child health in general, and infant and young child feeding more specifically, is often not well addressed in the basic training of doctors, nurses and other allied health professionals. Because of lack of adequate knowledge and skills, health professionals are often barriers to improved feeding practices.
This Model Chapter brings together essential knowledge about infant and young child feeding that health professionals should acquire as part of their basic education. The development of this chapter was initiated by the Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development of the World Health Organization, as part of its efforts to promote the integration of evidence-based public health interventions in basic training of health professionals.