• Dr Xanthi Maragkoudaki

Nutrition in the first year of life report

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN, learn more) released their draft of the report on feeding in the first year of age.

Highlights of the conclusions & recommendations include:

- The benefits of breastfeeding on children immune health are highlighted. Also, breastfeeding during the first year benefits both the maternal and child's health.

- An additional benefit for the mum; each year of breastfeeding is associated with 4% reduced risk of developing breast cancer.

- Breastfed children also appear to have less dental problems later on.

- Initiation of breastfeeding has increased but there is still a large percentage of women who discontinue.

- Infants are ready for complementary feeding around 6 months of age. Introduction of complementary foods early has been linked with gastrointestinal problems.

- Repeated exposure of the children to new foods increases acceptance of new tastes.

- Peanut butter and hen's eggs should be introduced like any other complementary food. Delayed introduction of these food would only increase the risk of developing allergies.

- Iron status is highly dependent on the status at birth. So maternal iron intake is of high importance. While recommendations on delayed cord clamping should be implemented.

- A ‘Safe Intake’ of vitamin D is recommended in the range 8.5-10 μg/d (340-400 IU/d) for all infants from birth up to one year.

- No sugar or salt should be added to baby foods. (More to come on this, watch this space).

- Only milk or water should be given between meals. Cow milk should not be introduced before the first birthday.

Read more here

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