This brief provides guidance for organizations to appropriately assist with the provision of food for children aged from 6-months to 2-years, to support their nutrient needs for health, growth and development.
Why is it important to support appropriate nutrition of children aged 6-months to 2-years in the current context?
Children 6-months to 2-years need adequate feeding to ensure growth. The complementary feeding period is a critical period of child development characterized by rapid growth and high nutritional needs. Exclusive breastfeeding is vital for children aged under 6-months, providing protection from illness and optimal nutrition for growth and development.
Around the age of 6-months, a child’s energy and nutrients needs starts to exceed what is provided by breast milk alone; therefore, adequate foods are necessary to meet those needs along with continued breastfeeding to age 2-years, or beyond. Children need adequate quantities of good quality, diverse foods to support their healthy development and avoid deterioration of their nutritional status and becoming.
Children 6-months to 2-years are particularly vulnerable to the disruptions caused by the crisis in Ukraine. In the current context, a large number of parents and families may not be able to meet the specific food needs of their young children either because the markets do not have the variety of foods required for this age group, the shops are no longer functioning due to the insecurity, or the family does not have the means to purchase or to prepare food.