World Health Organization, 2005

According to current UN recommendations, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life, and thereafter should receive appropriate complementary feeding with continued breastfeeding up to two years or beyond. However, there are a number of infants who will not be able to enjoy the benefits of breastfeeding in the early months of life or for whom breastfeeding will stop before the recommended duration of two years or beyond.

PAHO’s publication Guiding Principles for Complementary Feeding of the Breastfed Child (2003) provides guidance on appropriate feeding of breastfed infants from six months onwards. Some of these guiding principles are applicable to non-breastfed children, but others are not, or require adaptation. To identify an analogous set of guiding principles for feeding non-breastfed children from 6-24 months of age, an informal meeting organized by WHO’s Departments of Child and Adolescent Health and Development and Nutrition for Health and Development was held 8-10 March 2004 in Geneva. The guiding principles herein were developed based on the evidence presented in the background document for the meeting (Dewey et al., 2004) and consensus of participants in the meeting (Informal Working Group on Feeding Non-breastfed Children, 2004). They apply to normal, term infants (including low-birth-weight infants born at > 37 weeks gestation).

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