Importance of complementary
  Important information
        •   0 - 6 months
        •   6 - 8 months
        •   9 - 12 months
        •   12 - 24 months



Keep everything very clean when preparing food for your baby

Safe preparation and storage of complementary foods can prevent contamination and reduce the risk of diarrhoea, which is common in children of this age. The risk of infection transmitted by bottles with teats is higher than for ordinary cups (without spouts or straws). The use of a feeding bottle should be avoided.

All utensils, such as cups, bowls and spoons, used for feeding should be washed thoroughly.

Bacteria multiply slower when food is refrigerated.  When food cannot be refrigerated it should be eaten soon after it has been prepared (no more than 2 hours), before bacteria have time to multiply. Bacteria multiply rapidly in hot weather, which can increase the risk of infection. 

The following are basic recommendations for the preparation of safe foods:


Wash your hands with soap and water before feeding your baby

It is important that caregivers wash their hands thoroughly before preparing food or feeding the baby.  When babies start to handle solid pieces of food, their hands should also be washed properly.

Washing with soap removes potentially harmful organisms from hands. This reduces the risk of transmitting bacteria to the baby’s food or mouth, to the hands of others, or the environment that is shared with others. Interventions that promote hand washing reduce diarrhoea by about 47%. Diarrhoea poses a more severe risk of illness to babies and young children than to older children and adults, with babies being especially at risk of death.

To wash hands properly, rub all parts of the hands and wrists with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub for at least 20 seconds. Pay special attention to fingertips, the area between the fingers, the back of the hands and the base of the thumbs.  Dry the hands with a clean cloth.