Complementary foods need to be introduced during the fi rst year of life for both nutritional and developmental reasons. Over this period, the ability of breast milk to meet nutritional requirements, particularly for energy, protein and micronutrients such as iron and zinc, becomes limited.
In most developing countries malnutrition at early ages may have negative long-term effects on growth as well as incidence of disease and brain development (with identifi able anatomic changes), leading to lower levels of intellectual achievement in school-age children and fi nal intelligence quotient scores...
Complementary foods should ideally ‘complement’ the nutritional gaps that develop as a result of the dynamic composition of human milk and of the dynamic nutritional needs of the infant and young child. Contemporary feeding practices in both developed and developing countries, with a preponderance of cereals and plant foods, do not complement these recognized nutritional gaps.