by Anne Eglash MD, IBCLC, FABM
What are the current recommendations for feeding children older than 6 months of age?
We’ve known for several years that it is best to introduce complementary foods at 6 months of age for all infants. Waiting until 6 months helps to decrease the risk of colds and diarrhea.
But what are the feeding recommendations after 6 months? How should foods be introduced, how much, and in what order should foods be offered?
The Center for Disease Control published a new website this year entitled When, What, and How to Introduce Solid Foods
The website reviews when and how to introduce complementary foods. It discusses prevention of choking, food preparation, transition to cows’ milk, and what to do about picky eaters.
What statements do you think are true according to the CDC regarding introducing complementary foods for breastfeeding and formula feeding infants?
- Avoid honey for infants under 12 months of age.
- If giving fortified cereals, use a variety such as quinoa, barley, oats. Avoid feeding primarily rice cereal due to its high arsenic content.
- Introduce a new food every 3-5 days.
- Avoid more than 24 ounces of fortified cow’s milk for children over 12 months of age.
- For infants over 6 months, steadily increase their food intake to 3 meals a day and 2-3 snacks a day.
- Do not give any water to a child under 12 months of age.
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Answers: All except F
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Milk Mob Comment by Anne Eglash MD, IBCLC, FABM
This is a helpful, comprehensive website covering the essentials of infant and toddler feeding.
The CDC suggests that 4-5 ounces of water a day for a 6-12 month-old is fine.
The website has a few topics with conflicting information. For example, they suggest introducing a new food every 3-5 days. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing a new food every 2-3 days.
Juice is another topic with varying advice. The CDC refers to a WIC document on complementary feeding which suggests that 100% juice can be a part of a healthy diet for children over age 1. The AAP, however does not recommend juice due to its high sugar content.
A third area of mixed messaging is the issue of early introduction of allergenic foods, such as fish, eggs, and peanuts. The CDC lists what foods are considered allergenic, and states that there is no reason to delay these foods for children at low risk for allergies. However, they do not suggest early introduction of allergenic foods, as recommended by other organizations, to help prevent food allergies. The AAP also recommends early introduction of peanut protein to prevent peanut allergy.
Parents who use this website will find it helpful, but may seek further guidance when trying to sort out conflicting information.
Looking for a concise handout for your families? Check out IABLE’s recently updated handout on Solid Foods for the Breastfed Infant