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Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Jul;88(1):84-94.

Effects of energy density and feeding frequency of complementary foods on total daily energy intakes and consumption of breast milk by healthy breastfed Bangladeshi children.

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Program in International and Community Nutrition, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.



Information is needed on the minimum energy density and feeding frequency of complementary foods that can provide adequate energy intakes (EIs) for healthy breastfed children.


The objectives of the study were to evaluate the effects of various energy densities and feeding frequencies of complementary foods on EI from these foods, breast milk consumption, and total EI from both sources.


During 9 separate, randomly ordered dietary periods lasting 3-6 d each, we measured intakes of food and breast milk by 18 healthy breastfed children 8-11 mo of age who, 3, 4, or 5 times/d, were fed porridge with a coded energy density of 0.5, 1.0, or 1.5 kcal/g. Food intake was measured by weighing the feeding bowl before and after meals, and breast milk intake was measured by test weighing.


The mean amounts of complementary foods consumed were inversely related to their energy density and positively related to the number of meals/d (P < 0.001 for both); EIs from foods were positively related to both factors. Breast milk intake decreased slightly but progressively, with greater energy density and feeding frequency of complementary foods; total EIs (kcal/d) increased in relation to both factors (P < 0.001 for both).


The energy density and feeding frequency of complementary foods affect infants' total daily EI and breast milk consumption. Recommendations can be developed for the appropriate combinations of these dietary factors that are compatible with adequate EI, although longer-term effects of complementary feeding practices on breast milk intake and breastfeeding duration need further community-based studies.

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