Mixed feeding

Exclusive breastfeeding is best for baby - but only as long as you’re taking your ARVs. This is recommended for the first 6 months to help your baby grow and stay healthy. But there may come a time when you do not have enough milk in your body for your baby, or when some other factor makes it impossible for you to breastfeed.

If this happens, you may have to start mixed feeding, by alternating formula feeds with the breastfeeding. Mixed feeding is when the baby receives breast milk with other foods such as cows milk, water, juice, tea, formula, cereals and baby foods.

If you need to supplement your breast milk with formula then  make sure to feed with BOTH breast milk and formula – because it’s your breast milk that gives baby the best protection from illness, even if you can only offer smaller amounts.

It’s very important that you feed your baby his formula in a cup – not a bottle. Bottles are places where germs love to grow. Unclean bottles can be very bad for your baby while you are trying to protect him from HIV and illness.

The best way to feed formula to a baby is with a small cup. Before you use it, wash it in warm soapy water. Boil it in a pot to sterilise it. When you have finished feeding, wash and boil the cup again.

It will take a short while to get your baby used to a cup – but even newborns can learn how to drink from a cup.

Babies do not need other food or water or juice before 6 months, other than breastmilk. If you do give your baby formula then make sure you mix the powder with the right amount of water. The water must be cooled BOILED water. Once baby has finished drinking, throw the leftover milk away. Do NOT keep it for later. It will go off and make your baby sick.

If you live in an area where the water is bad or there are illnesses like diarrhoea or pneumonia in the community, make extra sure that the utensils and cups are clean, sterilsed and the water has been boiled.

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