Stages of Feeding for Infants

The ideal is that infants are breastfed until they are weaned at one to two years of age. As this typically does not apply to orphans or foster children, commercial infant formula up to one year of age is the best alternative. While foster children generally have access to formula, orphanages rarely provide formula to infants up to age 12 months. Click here if this applies to your child.

Complementary foods are often introduced around six months of age, when a baby has reached appropriate developmental milestones and has an increased need for supplemental calories and nutrients (particularly iron) from food. Traditionally, single-grain cereal is a first food, followed by pureed foods. At around nine months, lumpier foods can be offered provided the child is ready. In the time a referral for a baby is received to the time the baby is adopted, he has likely transitioned from one feeding stage to another.

In some situations, an adopted child may be developmentally delayed, and his nutritional needs become greater than his readiness. If this applies to your child, it is important to work with a nutritionist or adoption doctor for guidance. There is a range of supplemental feeding options — including specialty formulas — that can be useful in these situations.

The Baby Center website has guidelines for feeding infants at each stage:

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