Feeding Infants and Children from Birth to 24 Months: Summarizing Existing Guidance

Publisher: Washington, DC: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Jul 21, 2020
Authors
Committee on Scoping Existing Guidelines for Feeding Recommendations for Infants and Young Children Under Age 2; Ronette Briefel, retired senior fellow, Mathematica

This report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) summarizes existing feeding guidelines for infants and young children up to 24 months of age. The report also offers recommendations for how government agencies, professional societies, and nonprofit organizations can harmonize guidance to avoid duplicate efforts and improve how they communicate and disseminate nutrition guidelines for young children.

The report is based on a study that NASEM’S Committee on Scoping Existing Guidelines for Feeding Recommendations for Infants and Young Children Under Age 2 conducted, which Dr. Ronette Briefel, a retired Mathematica senior fellow, served on as an expert in nutrition, public health, and population-based strategies that prevent disease and promote health. The committee reviewed 43 feeding guideline documents that addressed recommendations on breastfeeding; formula feeding; and the suitability of cow’s milk; substances to avoid or limit; vegetarian and vegan diets; the introduction of foods associated with allergies; and the use of nutrient supplements. The committee also reviewed guidelines that highlighted the safety of certain foods and feeding practices.

The committee found that most recommendations were consistent; however, there was inconsistency in the specific ages or age ranges stated in some of the recommendations. The committee also identified evidence gaps related to how various organizations communicate and disseminate feeding guidelines. To address these inconsistencies and gaps in evidence, the committee offers recommendations for developing future feeding guidelines for young children.