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Umesh Modi is a chartered accountant, and Pamini Jatheeskumar is a chartered certified accountant at Silver Levene...
  Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead...
Don Lavoie is alcohol programme manager at Public Health England and Gul Root is lead pharmacist, Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Public Health England
More inWhite Papers  

a baby being fed imageJuly 23 2018

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has published its report on ‘Feeding in the first year of life’, formally updating 1994 guidelines.

It has concluded that:

  • babies should be “exclusively breastfed until around 6 months of age and continue to be breastfed for at least the first year of life”;
  • solid foods should not be introduced until around 6 months to benefit the child’s overall health;
  • breastfeeding makes an important contribution to infant and maternal health including the development of the infant immune system;
  • not breastfeeding is associated with a higher risk of infant hospital admission for infectious illness;
  • delaying solid foods to around 6 months is not associated with later difficulty in accepting solid foods;
  • breast milk, infant formula and water should be the only drinks offered between 6 and 12 months of age – cows’ milk should not be given as a main drink, as this is associated with lower iron status;
  • a wide range of solid foods, including foods containing iron, should be introduced from around 6 months of age, alongside breastfeeding;
  • foods containing peanut and hen’s egg can be introduced from around 6 months of age and need not be differentiated from other solid foods;
  • breastfed infants up to 12 months should receive a daily supplement containing 8.5 to 10µg of vitamin D (340-400 IU/d);
  • formula-fed infants do not need a supplement unless consuming less than 500ml of infant formula a day.

Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at Public Health England said: “The SACN report reinforces existing advice on infant feeding in relation to breastfeeding and the introduction of solid foods. In new advice, it provides clear guidance on the introduction of allergenic foods.

“SACN’s robust advice puts to bed any arguments about a beneficial effect of early introduction of solid foods.”

Professor Mary Fewtrell, Nutrition Lead for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said the RCPCH “strongly” supports breastfeeding but “some women cannot or choose not to breastfeed and this should be respected and appropriate support and education on infant feeding provided.”

She described the guidance on specific practical aspects of infant feeding as extremely helpful. “This information will help parents navigate their way through the process of introducing solid foods much more confidently,” she said.

“We note the concerns raised by SACN about the significant proportion of infants with energy intakes above requirements and the proportion exceeding growth standards for their weight, and support the need for monitoring the prevalence of overweight and overfeeding in infants, and addressing high energy intakes in this age group.”

Links:
PHE announcement      
SACN ‘Independent report: Feeding in the first year of life: SACN report’. July 17 2018    
RCPCH comment          

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