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Introducing Solids- Australian Infant Feeding Guidelines (NHMRC 2013) and WHO Guidelines

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#1 *Lis*

Posted 28 August 2006 - 08:48 PM

To all members,

Whilst we are more than happy to have a support group for those members that have started solids before the recommended six months of age, we want to stress that starting your baby on solids at any age is a big step and should be done in conjunction with your health care provider, child health nurse, paediatrician etc.

The Australian NHMRC Infant Feeding Guidelines (National Health and Medical Research Council) were released in February 2013.
The link to the Guidelines is below-


In Australia, it is recommended that infants be exclusively breastfed until around 6 months of age when solid foods are introduced. It is further recommended that breastfeeding be continued until 12 months of age and beyond, for as long as the mother and child desire.


- Introduce solid foods at around 6 months, to meet the infant’s
increasing nutritional and developmental needs.
- To prevent iron deficiency, iron-containing nutritious foods are
recommended to be included in the first foods. Iron containing
foods include iron-fortified cereals, pureed meat and poultry
dishes. Cooked plain tofu and legumes/beans are also sources
of iron. Care needs to be taken particularly with a plant-based
diet to ensure that supplies of iron are adequate. This is an
important issue because of the neuro-cognitive development
- Foods can be introduced in any order provided iron-rich
nutritious foods are included and the texture is suitable for
the infant’s stage of development. Cow’s milk products including
full-fat yoghurt, cheese and custard may be given, but not cow’s
milk as a main drink before 12 months.
- Ensure that solid foods are of appropriate texture. The texture
of foods that are introduced should be suited to an infant’s
developmental stages, moving from pureed to lumpy to
normal textures during the 6-12 month period.
- Avoid whole nuts and other hard foods to reduce the risk
of choking.
- Do not add sugar or honey to infant foods as this increases
the risk of dental caries.

The World Health Organisation recommends that Complementary feeding should be timely, meaning that all infants should start receiving foods in addition to breastmilk from 6 months onwards.


Complementary feeding

When breast milk is no longer enough to meet the nutritional needs of the infant, complementary foods should be added to the diet of the child. The transition from exclusive breastfeeding to family foods, referred to as complementary feeding, typically covers the period from 6 to 18-24 months of age, and is a very vulnerable period. It is the time when malnutrition starts in many infants, contributing significantly to the high prevalence of malnutrition in children under five years of age world-wide. WHO estimates that 2 out of 5 children are stunted in low-income countries.

Complementary feeding should be timely, meaning that all infants should start receiving foods in addition to breast milk from 6 months onwards. It should be adequate, meaning that the complementary foods should be given in amounts, frequency, consistency and using a variety of foods to cover the nutritional needs of the growing child while maintaining breastfeeding. Foods should be prepared and given in a safe manner, meaning that measures are taken to minimize the risk of contamination with pathogens. And they should be given in a way that is appropriate, meaning that foods are of appropriate texture for the age of the child and applying responsive feeding following the principles of psycho-social care.

The adequacy of complementary feeding (adequacy in short for timely, adequate, safe and appropriate) not only depends on the availability of a variety of foods in the household, but also on the feeding practices of caregivers. Feeding young infants requires active care and stimulation, where the caregiver is responsive to the child clues for hunger and also encourages the child to eat. This is also referred to as active or responsive feeding.

WHO recommends that infants start receiving complementary foods at 6 months of age in addition to breast milk, initially 2-3 times a day between 6-8 months, increasing to 3-4 times daily between 9-11 months and 12-24 months with additional nutritious snacks offered 1-2 times per day, as desired.

Further information can be found via the link above.

It is important to remember that while it is fine to seek advice and share opinions with other members, that every child is different and any major dietary changes should always be decided with the best interests of each individual in mind.

If you need any help on where to seek out any further information on solids or feeding your baby, your moderator will happy to help you find links to sites or support groups, but always remember that the internet is no substitute for a Child Health Nurse, GP or Paediatrician.

Thank you,
Essential Baby

Edited by lucky 2, 09 November 2013 - 09:10 PM.
content and links updated

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