National Guidelines on Infant and Young Child Feeding | 18 Mar 2020

The National Guidelines on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) were released by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2004.

  • These are in line with the adoption of the Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding by the 55th World Health Assembly in May 2002 and adoption of the Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Amendment Act, 2003 by the Parliament of India.
  • The National Nutrition Policy adopted by the Government of India under the aegis of the Department of Women and Child Development in 1993 laid due emphasis on nutrition and health education of mothers on infant and child feeding.
  • According to the guidelines, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health.
    • Thereafter to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond.
  • Objectives:
    • To advocate the cause of infant and young child nutrition and its improvement through optimal feeding practices nationwide.
    • To disseminate widely the correct norms of breastfeeding and complementary feeding throughout the nation in regional languages.
    • To help plan efforts for raising awareness and increasing commitment of the concerned sectors of the government, national organisations and professional groups for achieving optimal feeding practices for infants and young children.
  • Steps taken by the Government of India to ensure Infant and Young Child Feeding:
    • Promotion of breastfeeding practices under Mothers’ Absolute Affection (MAA).
    • Observation of the Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Days (VHSNDs) for provision of maternal and child health services and creating awareness on maternal and child care.
    • Counselling to pregnant and lactating mothers under the Anganwadi Services Scheme.
    • Schemes such as Revised Mother and Child Protection Card, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), POSHAN Abhiyaan, etc.

Source: PIB