Infant and Young Child Feeding Counselling package

Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) Counselling: A Training Curriculum and Practical Guide for Primary Health Workers

IYCF Counselling Cards Cover


Nutrition is vital to the physical growth and psychological development of infants and young children.  Good nutrition and scientific feeding can help children grow healthily, prevent disease, enhance intellectual development, and thus influence their development throughout their lives. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals propose to eliminate all forms of malnutrition by 2030. The State Council released the Evaluation plan on ‘Healthy China’(〔2019〕13), which proposes to implement the action of promoting maternal and child health, and calls that there should be active guidance for families to breed and nurture new life healthily and scientifically. The infant and young child feeding counselling is an important measure to promote appropriate nurturing, and implement the concept that parents are the first to shoulder the responsibility of children’s health. Thus, it is an important step of children’s healthcare. The healthcare workers directly face people, which makes them the main force to promote scientific infant and young children feeding knowledge. They should master accurate and authoritative knowledge, they should skillfully use appropriate techniques when counselling, so that family nurturing would be more efficient and children’s health would be improved. To this end, the Department of Maternal and Child Health of NHC and UNICEF together compiled this book, Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) Counselling: A Training Curriculum and Practical Guide for Primary Health Workers. The aim is to raise more attention from not only healthcare workers, but also the whole society, to infant and young child feeding counselling as well as appropriate children nurturing. In this way, families would be guided to raise healthy new lives scientifically, and eventually, the implementation of the Healthy China Initiative would be promoted.

This book is based on the generic community based Infant and Young Child Feeding Counselling Package released by UNICEF and the World Health Organization in 2010. Many countries have adopted this package and have seen the healthcare worker’s ability of IYCF counselling obviously improved. Based on the actual conditions of China, UNICEF China introduced this package, organized the translation and compilation work in 2018, and carried out trail training and applications in Beijing, Qinghai and many other districts. It shows that short-term training can help healthcare workers grasp basic IYCF knowledge and counselling techniques quickly and accurately, which effectively promotes family feeding improvement.

On this basis, we organized experts and organizations to repeatedly study and improve the book, the Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) Counselling: A Training Curriculum and Practical Guide for Primary Health Workers , before it eventually comes out. The book is divided into 15 chapters. Closely integrated with teaching, training and actual practice, this book highlights the training of basic IYCF theory, practical skills and counselling techniques to healthcare workers, helps them to grasp key knowledge and improve their counselling service. To facilitate promotion and ensure the effectiveness, this book is accompanied with counselling tools and PowerPoint slides. They are available on and for free.

Organization and Preparation: Department of Maternal and Child Health, National Health Commission, UNICEF China

Technical Support: National Center for Women and Children’s Health, China CDC, Capital Institute of Pediatrics, Chinese Nutrition Society

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Appendix I  IYCF Counselling Cards: 16 colorful Counselling Cards on scientific IYCF recommendations to demonstrate key concepts and behaviors. The Counselling Cards can be used by primary health workers in discussions with parents and caregivers.

Appendix II Counselling Cards and Key Discussion Points/Messages: Depending on the specific situation of children and families, primary-level staff can select 2-3 priority discussions on the Counselling Cards for instruction and guidance in their work.

Maternal and Child Health department of National Health Commission, UNICEF
Publication date
Chinese, English