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Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative

California Infant Feeding Guide

Infant feeding is the feeding of a child from birth to one year of age. This guide promotes the "normal" infant feeding method, which is defined as exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life followed by breastfeeding and the introduction of iron-rich complementary foods around age six months. For this reason, breastfeeding recommendations are a focus of this Infant Feeding Guide. This guide is intended for health care and public health professionals and does not address high risk infants.

Appropriate infant nutrition including breastfeeding reduces the risk in children under the age of five of infections, iron deficiency anemia, excessive weight, and short stature. This risk reduction may continue beyond childhood.  For example, early and persistent iron deficiency anemia is associated with an adverse effect on early psychomotor development and may cause irreversible negative developmental impacts in cognitive and motor areas.

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