This guide is intended primarily for use by those who care for and feed infants under 12 months of age and participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). This information will also be useful to those in facilities that participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) other Child Nutrition Programs serving infants, i.e., National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The guide presents information on infant development, nutrition for infants, breastfeeding and formula feeding, safe food handling and food preparation, choking prevention, and some of the Infant Meal Pattern requirements to help caregivers meet the challenge of nurturing and feeding the infants under their care. This guide is designed to provide nutrition guidance and is not inclusive of all current Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) policy memoranda, FNS Instructions, or program regulations relating to infants in Child Nutrition Programs. Providers and staff should contact their State agency for the most up-to-date policies and Infant Meal Pattern. The Infant Meal Pattern is used by caregivers and the term “caregiver” refers collectively to the different types of facilities—including schools, residential child care institutions, child care centers, family day care homes, and homeless shelters— that provide meal services to infants in the Child Nutrition Programs. The word “parent” is used to refer to an infant’s parent or guardian. Be aware that State agencies may establish policies that differ from the Federal requirements presented in this guide. Always check with your State agency if you have questions. The figures found throughout the text are in black and white so that they can be easily reproduced and used as handouts. We encourage use of these handouts as part of training sessions. They can also be distributed to child care providers, parents, or others who are responsible for feeding infants. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this guide. The recommendations and guidelines in this publication are not designed to serve as an exclusive nutrition care plan or program for all infants. It is highly recommended that caregivers obtain written instructions related to feeding an infant from the parent and, if available, from the infant’s doctor, and that this information be kept on file. It is the caregiver’s responsibility to evaluate the appropriateness of the recommendations and guidelines in this guide given the information received from each infant’s parents and doctor. If caregivers have questions regarding the appropriateness of any recommendations or guidelines for a particular infant, they should consult with the parents, who can consult with the infant’s doctor.
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