Nutrition for infants and young children

During emergencies (such as earthquakes, conflict or floods), children are especially vulnerable to malnutrition, illness and death. They are highly dependent on their caregivers, their immune systems are still developing, and their bodies and brains depend on good nutrition for healthy growth and development. In emergencies, Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) is a life-saving intervention. Infants should be breastfed within one hour of birth, breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life and continue to be breastfed up to two years of age and beyond. Starting at six months, breastfeeding should be combined with safe, age-appropriate feeding of solid, semi-solid and soft foods.

Global Thematic Working Group

the IFE Core Group

The Infant Feeding in Emergencies (IFE) Core Group is a global collaboration of agencies and individuals that formed in 1999 to address policy guidance and training resource gaps hampering programming on infant and young child feeding support in humanitarian contexts. The IFE Core Group works to develop guidance and resource materials; documents lessons learned and builds capacity to ensure more effective infant and young child feeding (IYCF) support in emergency contexts (IYCF-E). 

The IFE Core Group is coordinated by the Emergency Nutrition Network (ENN). Current members of the Group include ACF, ADRA, CDC, CGBI, CHEERing, Concern Worldwide, Eleanor Crook Foundation, ENN, Global Nutrition Cluster, Goal, IBFAN, IMC, IOCC, IRC, MSF, SafelyFed Canada, Samaritan’s Purse, Save the Children, UNHCR, UNICEF, USAID, USAID/OFDA, WFP, WHO, World Vision, and several independent individuals.

 

Latest IFE Core Group update

During the first quarter of 2021, the IFE Core Group has developed or refined several key pieces of work.

These include: 

  • An FAQ on COVID-19 vaccines and breastfeeding aiming to rectify some of the contradictions in global vaccine advice (here).
  • Operational Guidance on how to apply WHO’s Breastfeeding Counselling in Emergencies (here).
  • Following the successful implementation of a series of webinars during the past year, the IFE Core Group webinar committee met during this reporting period to start planning for the upcoming period. Accordingly, a prioritisation survey was launched to help in the identification of the top five priority topics for the upcoming year. More than 150 individuals from about 60 countries participated in the survey and the IFE Core Group is working towards developing relevant webinars. 
  • Initial discussions were held concerning developing ‘complementary feeding in emergencies’ case studies. 

 

For more information on any of the activities highlights or if you would like to enquire about joining the IFE Core Group, please contact IFE Core Grup Facilitator 

Key Resources