Supporting Oral Nutrition for Infants Between 6 - 12 Months
Introduction of complementary foods around six months to children with existing PFD may require additional care and consideration to support a positive feeding experience. Offer a variety of complementary foods at around six months and a variety of textures by nine months in accordance with feeding guidelines and developmental readiness (Alberta Health Services, 2017). Delayed introduction of texture beyond nine months of age is associated with PFD and increased selectivity. Some children may require slower texture progression based on feeding skills, efficiency, and intake.
Exposure to a wide variety of foods and flavours supports food exploration, skill acquisition and developing comfort with new foods. Overdependence on breastfeeding, infant formula or cow’s milk may decrease interest and appetite for solid foods which may negatively impact micronutrient intake. Encourage feeding that is appropriate for the child’s developmental capacity and offer foods that address nutrients of concern, e.g. protein, calcium, iron, fibre. If oral nutrition support is needed to assist with growth, consider high calorie or high protein meals and snacks.
Most healthy term infants are born with sufficient iron stores to meet their needs until about six months of age. Iron intake is often compromised in infants with PFD due to delayed introduction of iron-rich foods, texture acceptance, or feeding skills required to eat them in sufficient quantities. Offering iron-rich foods such as meats, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, and legumes at meals and snacks daily can support adequate intake when offered in a texture the infant can manage safely and efficiently.