Infant feeding guidelines were recently updated by the National Health and Medical Research Council. Here are some of the key messages from the draft report.
Breastfeeding is best and helps protect infants against infection, obesity and some chronic diseases. Ideally, aim for ‘exclusive’ breastfeeding until 6 months of age and continue breastfeeding for 12 months or more. However, any amount of breastmilk is beneficial to the infant and mother.
Exclusively breastfed infants do not require additional fluids up to 6 months of age. When fluids are given, tap or bottled water is best and should be boiled for infants.
If diarrhoea occurs, continue breastfeeding and add an oral electrolyte solution if needed.
Use commercial formulas until 12 months and then start full cream cow’s milk. Do not use reduced-fat milks before 2 years of age.
When an infant formula is used, always follow the instructions carefully. Use the correct scoop and never overfill.
Avoid feeding an infant using a ‘propped’ bottle as this increases the risk of choking, ear infection and tooth decay.
Introduce solid foods at around 6 months. Include iron-containing foods in the first foods e.g. iron-fortified cereals, pureed meat and poultry dishes, and some pureed vegetables.
Do not add salt or sugar to infant foods.
Please note this information was correct at time of publication.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.