NEW NHS Starting Solids leaflet
Latest Department of Health advice for parents
PHA Statement on exclusive breastfeeding and recommendations for the introduction of solid foods at six months
Thursday, 27 January 2011– Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement
A recent article published in the BMJ questioned the optimum duration of exclusive breastfeeding and the timing of introduction of solid foods for infants. This paper received significant local and national media coverage, feedback from journalists and parents included the call for present guidelines on weaning to be changed in line with the BMJ paper. It is now acknowledged that parents of young children may be feeling anxious or confused by the apparent mixed messages and will need to be reassured that current guidance with regard to optimising infant nutrition remains valid.
The Public Health Agency recognise that policy recommendations require review when new evidence is made available, however, in this case the article being highlighted by the media is not new research or a systematic review and is not the robust evidence required to change policy recommendations.
The UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) have started work on a review of the evidence to support infant and young child feeding policy which will help to inform any future changes.
The current DHSSPS recommendations on the duration of exclusive breastfeeding and introduction of solid foods remain as follows:
Breastmilk is the best form of nutrition for infants; it provides all the nutrients a baby needs;
Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of an infant’s life;
Six months is the recommended age for the introduction of solid foods for both breast and formula fed infants;
Breastfeeding (and /or breastmilk substitutes, if used) should continue beyond the first six months along with appropriate types and amounts of solid foods; and
Mothers who are unable to, or choose not to, follow these recommendations should be supported to optimise their infants’ nutrition.
A guide to Healthy Start for health professionals explaining about the scheme and nutritional advice for pregnant women, new mums, babies and young children.