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  • Yvonne Lafayette Bronner ScD, RD, LD,

    Assistant Professor, Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Yvonne L. Bronner, ScD, RD, LD, received her B.S. in nutrition from the University of Akron, M.S. in public health nutrition from Case Western Reserve University, and Sc.D. from The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health (JHU-SHPH). She is currently assistant professor in the Department of Maternal and Child Health at JHU-SHPH. Her primary research interest is breast-feeding promotion and nutrition education.

  • David Martin Paige MD, MPH

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    • David M. Paige, MD, MPH, received his B.S. in biology from Long Island University, M.D. from New York Medical College, post doctorate in pediatrics from The Johns Hopkins University, and M.P.H. in maternal and child health from The Johns Hopkins University. He is currently professor in the Department of Maternal and Child Health, Director of The Johns Hopkins University WIC, and has a research interest in growth and nutrition during pregnancy.

Department of Maternal and Child Health, Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, 624 North Broadway Street, Baltimore, MD 21205.


Nutritional needs vary during the first year of life according to the infant's individualized pattern of growth and amount of physical activity. After delivery, the infant must make many physiologic adjustments, develop immunologic defenses, and take in adequate nutrients for survival. The type and consistency of foods change as the gastrointestinal system matures and becomes able to metabolize the components and excrete the needed metabolites of increasingly complex foods. The recommended dietary allowance for infancy is based on the amount of nutrients provided to healthy infants in human milk during the first six months of life and on the consumption of formula and increasing amounts of solid food during the second six months. The introduction of solid foods should parallel the developmental changes that occur within the central nervous system throughout the first year; these provide a level of readiness for the infant to manage foods of various textures from full liquid to soft.

Even though significant technologic advances have led to changes in the way infants can be fed, human milk is still the optimal choice. Most women can be encouraged to breast-feed regardless of their own nutritional status or dietary intake. Contraindications can be managed on an individual basis. If women do not elect to breast-feed, suitable commercial formulas are available. The important issue in feeding is that of providing a variety of appropriately prepared foods offered in a nonjudgmental atmosphere so that the foundation is laid for the development of good food habits.