Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Guiding principles for feeding non-breastfed children 6-24 months of age

World Health Organization

Publication details

Number of pages: 40
Publication date: 2005
Languages: English, French, Spanish
ISBN: 9241593431



There are a number of infants who will not enjoy the benefits of breastfeeding. They include children born to HIV-positive mothers who choose not to breastfeed and children whose mothers have died. To address the nutritional needs of children who are not breastfed after 6 months of age, WHO has led a process to develop 'Guiding principles for feeding non-breastfed children 6-24 months of age'.

These principles are the result of a background document that examined the feasibility to design adequate diets using locally available foods, and are based on consensus achieved during an informal meeting of experts held in Geneva in early 2004. They are adapted from the 'Guiding principles for complementary feeding of the breastfed child'.

The publication lists the nine guiding principles, with the scientific rationale for each, and gives examples of diets from different parts of the world that can meet energy and nutrient needs of infants and young children after 6 months of age who are not breastfed. Annexes include information on developing locally appropriate feeding recommendations based on the principles, and on key issues around early breastfeeding cessation for infants and young children of HIV-positive mothers.

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