If possible, feed your baby only breastmilk. When your baby is an infant, don’t give other liquids or solids – not even water. If necessary, you can give your baby drops or syrup consisting of vitamins, mineral supplements or medication.

Breastfeed as often as your baby wants, day and night. Feed at least 8 to 12 times in 24 hours.

When you are going to be away from your baby, express your breastmilk for someone to feed your baby from a sterilised cup. Avoid using bottles, artificial teats or dummies as this may:

  • interfere with suckling
  • be difficult to clean
  • carry germs that can make your baby sick.


  • Other foods or fluids may damage your baby’s gut and make it easy for infections (including HIV) to get into the baby’s body.
  • Breastfeeding decreases the risk of diarrhoea (runny tummy).
  • Breastfeeding decreases the risk of respiratory infections, which make it difficult for your baby to breathe.
  • Breastfeeding decreases the risk of allergies. Common allergies include hay fever, asthma and eczema.

If you have chosen to feed your baby formula, discuss with your health worker how to prepare and use it safely.


Follow the feeding recommendations for your child’s age, but give small, frequent meals (at least 6 times a day).

If your baby is ill, try to continue feeding him/her. For a week after your baby gets better, give him/her an extra meal a day.

Give a sugar-salt solution (SSS) in addition to feeds. Give the SSS after each loose stool. Let your child take frequent, small sips from a cup (half a cup for children under 2 years and 1 cup for children 2–5 years). If your child vomits, wait for 10 minutes then continue, but more slowly.

How to prepare a sugar-salt solution (SSS) at home:

  • Use 1 litre of boiled, cooled water.
  • Add 8 level teaspoons of sugar.
  • And add ½ a teaspoon of salt.
  • Stir until dissolved.