Complementary Feeding of Infants and Young Children 6-23 Months of Age

Publication Date: October 13, 2023
Last Updated: January 19, 2024

Breastfeeding and milks

Breastfeeding should continue up to 2 years or beyond. (S, VL)
To carry out this recommendation, all breastfeeding women will require an enabling environment and supportive services (11). For example:
  • Women who work outside the home need services such as onsite daycare, workplace breastfeeding rooms, and flexible work schedules.
  • All women need access to breastfeeding counselling services to address questions and challenges that arise when breastfeeding.
  • Pregnant women, mothers, families, and health care workers need to be protected from exploitative marketing from manufacturers and distributors of breastmilk substitutes.
  • Health care providers must be knowledgeable and skilled in supporting breastfeeding mothers with evidence-based care.

Age of introduction of complementary foods

Infants should be introduced to complementary foods at 6 months (180 days) while continuing to breastfeed. (S, L)
  • The recommendation is a public health recommendation and recognizes that some infants may benefit from earlier introduction of complementary foods.
  • Mothers concerned about the adequacy of breast milk might benefit from lactation support.
  • Iron in breast milk is highly bioavailable, but some infants may be at risk of iron deficiency (ID), especially if they were preterm or low birthweight. Early introduction of complementary foods, even if iron-fortified, does not adequately prevent iron deficiency anaemia in high-risk populations.



Complementary Feeding of Infants and Young Children 6-23 Months of Age

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