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What is good counselling for Complementary Feeding? 

This question was posted the Infant and young child feeding interventions forum area and has 10 replies.

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Alison Donnelly

Normal user

30 Jun 2022, 08:51

What distinguishes counselling from education/promotion for Complementary Feeding?

Much work has been done to outline how to counsel on breastfeeding with the new WHO IYCF training containing 6 modules on breastfeeding counselling.  By contrast, there is one module on CF counselling in the WHO IYCF training.

The majority of training and counselling materials available globally appear to focus on age-appropriate messaging. Does this count as counselling for CF? Or would “good” counselling require some level of troubleshooting to help care providers to address barriers to following recommended practices and/or linking to other services?



Normal user

30 Jun 2022, 16:25

Good counselling includes a lot listening to the person and discussing different options with her so it is very different from education and even more from promoting!

Alison Donnelly

Normal user

4 Jul 2022, 10:52

Thanks Maryse. I'm also wondering the extent to which actual "counselling" takes place for CF and whether the training module and tools available for CF encourage asking questions and good listening. 

Vrinda Kiradoo


Normal user

4 Jul 2022, 11:08

Can anyone provide the link of the new WHO IYCF training module? 

Alessandro Iellamo


Normal user

4 Jul 2022, 11:45

hello the link to the WHO/UNICEF IYCF Counselling Training is here:



Pamela Morrison

IBCLC Retired.

Normal user

4 Jul 2022, 11:56

Does anyone have a niggling little doubt about the type of information or counselling contained in - say IYCF Counselling materials - and whether a one-size-fits-all approach is appropriate for mothers across the globe.  For instance, in my experience of working in a developing country, I have seen some confusion in mothers who are offered various options in IYCF, and who sometimes confuse options with recommendations, otherwise why would the counsellor be taking the time and trouble?  I suspect that often First World notions of counselling are not understood by Third World mothers who seem to prefer a more directive approach. 

Vrinda Kiradoo


Normal user

4 Jul 2022, 12:02

Thanks a lot.. ..Alessandro Iellamo

Jules Maneraguha

Consultant Indépendant

Normal user

5 Jul 2022, 00:15

After reading about all the attempts....the intervention did not always result in agreed outcomes. What works in one place may not necessarily work in another. Can we standardize the searches? Especially on the mother MUAC and

On the IYCF approach ...trying to do analysis on top of analysis on the type of crisis especially? What are the appropriate interventions in the context of the crisis? Cyclic? Recurrent armed conflicts.


Anonymous 41501


Normal user

7 Nov 2022, 13:39

Alison Donnelly

Normal user

6 Dec 2022, 11:34

This new workbook from USAID AN has some guidance on effective counselling for CF

"Effective counseling: To be effective, counseling should be focused on the age, ability, and needs of the child and tailored to what the caregiver is able to try. In addition, counseling is most effective if it means that practices are “negotiated” with caregivers and families based on their situation rather than simply instructing them to follow general recommendations. There are often many ways to solve a feeding challenge, and caregivers know best what they would be willing to try.

Ingredients for success: Tailored, negotiated communication with an initial goal of trial and then support to sustain"

Training and supervising staff to counsel on multiple components CF and t tailor advice based on the needs of the family would take will likely take some skill and effort. I'd be interested to know if others feel that the current IYCF counselling training packages focus sufficiently on developing CF counselling skills to be able to tailor support and negotiate changes as recommended here.

Michael Krawinkel

Prof. em.

Normal user

6 Dec 2022, 14:31

Most important for lasting impact of nutrition couselling is to allow the adressees to bring in their perspective. TIPs is comparatively expensive, but it has been established in some places (e.g. Dickin KL, Seim G. Adapting the Trials of Improved Practices (TIPs) approach to explore the acceptability and feasibility of nutrition and parenting recommendations: what works for low-income families? Matern Child Nutr. 2015 Oct;11(4):897-914. doi: 10.1111/mcn.12078)

One of the biggest challenges in areas where food security is not given at any time is to find food resources which are locally available and accessible at any time of the year.

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