Based upon evidence, a number of desired behaviors were identified as critic​​al to helping families foster healthy active living for their infant. For each desired behavior you can explore the evidence, learn what parents told us about these behaviors, identify opportunities to promote healthy behaviors at the point of care, review how to start conversations and access messages and resources to support families. Also available to inform your counseling is the Onset and Patterns of Risk Behaviors during Infancy Timeline located above this section.


  • The AAP recommends exclusive breastfeeding for approximately 6 months after birth.
  • And continued breastfeeding until two years of age or longer while mutually desired by mother and baby. This recommendation is consistent with the World Health Organization.

​Bottle Feed​​i​ng

Practice appropriate bottle feeding practices:

  • Avoid bottle propping
  • Only breastmilk or formula in bottle unless otherwise directed by physician​

​​​Food Intr​oduction

  • Introduce solid foods around 6 months of age
  • Expose baby to a wide variety of healthy foods
  • Also offer a variety of textures

​​Healthy Snacking

  • After 9 months, offer 2-3 healthy and nutritious snacks per day
  • Maintain fruit and vegetable consumption after finger foods are introduced

Foster Self-feeding

  • ​Babies are encouraged to use spoons and fingers to feed themselves
  • Babies are encouraged to drink from a cup starting at 6 months of age
  • Parents recognize hunger and satiety cues​

Healthy Drinks

  • Babies should drink breastmilk or formula for the first year of life
  • Try to avoid introducing juice until child is a toddler. If juice is introduced, wait until 6-9 months and limit consumption to 4-6 ounces
  • Avoid introduction of sugar-sweetened beverage

Last Updated



American Academy of Pediatrics