To support implementers on how to prepare and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, a series of evidenceinformed guidance briefs will be produced and updated every ten (10) days as new information and evidence emerges. This Brief is meant to provide information specific to infant and young child feeding (IYCF) in the context of COVID-19. This Brief does not cover wider mitigation and response measures available in other guidance. As a nutrition community, we will continue to develop our understanding on practical solutions to deliver programming in the context of COVID-19. Documenting and disseminating these lessons and emerging evidence will be key to implementing the most appropriate and effective responses in the face of this pandemic.
This brief consolidates recommendations on Infant and Young Child Feeding in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The recommendations align with WHO’s interim guidance on Home Care for Patients with COVID19 presenting with mild symptoms and management of contacts (17 March 2020), the Clinical Management of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) when COVID-19 disease is suspected (13 March 2020) and Operational guidance on infant feeding in emergencies (2017).
KEY MESSAGES AND PRIORITIES
Programmes and services to protect, promote and support optimal breastfeeding (early and exclusive) and age-appropriate and safe complementary foods and feeding practices should remain a critical component of the programming and response for young children in the context of COVID-19.
Mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and isolated at home should be advised to continue recommended feeding practicesi with necessary hygiene precautions during feeding.
Alignment and coordination in the mitigation plans across nutrition, health, food security and livelihood, agriculture, WASH, social protection and mental health and psychosocial support to focus on reaching infants and young children in the context of COVID-19.
Actions through relevant systems (Food, Health, WASH, and Social Protection) should prioritize the delivery of preventive services to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on young children’s diets and wellbeing with strong linkages to early detection and treatment of child wasting.
Full adherence to the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent WHA resolutions (including WHA 69.9 and the associated WHO Guidance on ending the inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children) in all contexts in line with the recommendations of IFE Operational Guidance.
Donations, marketing and promotions of unhealthy foods - high in saturated fats, free sugar and/or salt - should not be sought or accepted.