A high level of success in infant nutrition has been achieved in the United States by breast-feeding as preferred, or by feeding with iron-fortified infant formulas. Minor controversies about feeding choices occur when infants are weaned from an all liquid diet to one containing a variety of solid foods.
Weaning is not a single event but a process that takes place throughout a number of months, beginning optimally between 4 and 6 months of age. The nutritional objective is to achieve a varied diet with approximately 35% to 50% of energy coming from sources other than breast milk or infant formula. Variety remains the key to the diet, particularly for infants older than 6 months of age. Solid food must provide an adequate source of iron, trace minerals, and vitamins to replace and supplement those in that portion of breast milk or formula removed from the diet.
Breast milk and fortified infant formula continue to be optimal for the milk segment of the diet during the second 6 months of life. The mother may choose to stop breast-feeding for a variety of reasons, however. The Committee on Nutrition has indicated that cow's milk could be substituted in the second 6 months of age provided that (1) the amount of milk calories consumed does not exceed 65% of total calories and (2) the solid food portion of the diet replace the iron and vitamins deficient in cow's milk.
Recently "follow-up" feedings (formulas) have been marketed in the United States as they have been in Europe for many years.
- Copyright © 1989 by the American Academy of Pediatrics