Complementary feeding of infants and young children

Report of a technical consultation

World Health Organization

Publication details

Editors: World Health Organization
Number of pages: 48
Publication date: 1998
Languages: English
WHO reference number: WHO/NUT/96.9



Joint WHO/UNICEF Consultation on Complementary Feeding, Montpellier, France, 28-30 November 1995.

The transition from exclusive breastfeeding to consumption of the usual family diet is a crucial period for infants and young children. The growing consensus is that the greatest nutritional threat to children occurs during the period from about 6 to about 24 months of age, which is when infectious disease rates, particularly for diarrhoea, are highest.

As part of a joint initiative on complementary feeding, WHO and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) convened an expert consultation on the subject ORSTOM, a WHO collaborating centre in nutrition (Montpellier, France, 28-30 November 1995). Technical background for the consultation consisted of a state-of-the-art review of scientific information on complementary feeding prepared by the Program in International Nutrition of the University of California at Davis (USA).

The objectives of the consultation were to review the state-of-the-art paper and make recommendations on this basis; reach consensus on guidelines for strengthening existing programme interventions and developing new strategies for ensuring optimal infant feeding practices; and identify those areas where additional research is needed. This document summarizes the discussion, conclusions and recommendations of the consultation.