OBJECTIVE: To present a review on the evidences that support the current recommendations for breastfed children feeding. SOURCES OF DATA: An extensive bibliographic review of the topic was carried out. Articles selected in the MEDLINE and Lilacs databases, publications from national and international organizations, theses and dissertations were reviewed. Some key articles were also selected from the citations referred in other papers. SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS: New knowledge acquired about child feeding over the last 20 years have led to a significant change in the current feeding recommendations for breastfed children in relation to the prior recommendations. The current recommended nutritional needs are lower than the old recommendations, complementary food is introduced in a more precise age, around 6 months, and new methods are recommended for promoting the child's healthy eating. The new recommendations emphasize the health feeding practices which comprise both the adequate food quantity and quality, including care with food handling and preparation, feeding and storage practices, and the respect and adequacy to the cultural characteristics of each people. CONCLUSIONS: The adequate complementary feeding of the breastfed child is critical for the optimal child growth and development. Therefore, it is an essential factor for both the populations' food security and the development of nations. The health professionals are ought to effectively pass on to mothers/care takers the new recommendations for promoting the healthy complementary feeding of the breastfed child. It is up to the governments to provide the adequate conditions for supporting such a promotion.
Complementary feeding; breastfeeding; child nutrition; diet; weaning