Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Is 'breast only' for first six months best?

Date:
January 14, 2011
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Current guidance advising mothers in the UK to exclusively breast feed for the first six months of their baby's life is being questioned by child health experts.

Current guidance advising mothers in the UK to exclusively breast feed for the first six months of their baby's life is being questioned by child health experts on the British Medical Journal website.

The authors, led by Dr Mary Fewtrell, a consultant paediatrician at the UCL Institute of Child Health in London, have reviewed the evidence behind the current guidance and say the time is right to reappraise this recommendation.

The researchers stress that while they fully back exclusive breast feeding early in life, they are concerned that exclusively doing so for six months and not introducing other foods may not always be in the child's best interests.

In 2001 the World Health Organisation (WHO) made its global recommendation that infants should be exclusively breast fed for the first six months. Many western countries did not follow this recommendation but in 2003 the UK health minister announced that the UK would comply.

Fewtrell and colleagues support six months exclusive breast feeding in less developed countries where access to clean water and safe weaning foods is limited and there is a high risk of infant death and illness. However they have reservations about whether the WHO's guidance about when to introduce other foods is right for the UK.

The WHO's recommendation that mothers should breast feed exclusively for six months is largely based on a systematic review undertaken in 2000 that considered existing research in this area, say the authors. This review concluded that exclusively breast fed babies have fewer infections and that the babies experience no growth problems.

Dr Fewtrell argues that the evidence that breast milk alone provides sufficient nutrition for six months is questionable. She says there is a higher risk of iron deficiency anaemia if babies are exclusively breast fed and that there could also be a higher incidence of celiac disease and food allergies if children are not introduced to certain solid foods before six months.

The authors also fear that prolonged exclusive breast feeding may reduce the window for introducing new tastes, particularly bitter taste which may be important in the later acceptance of green leafy vegetables. This could encourage unhealthy eating in later life and lead to obesity, they say.

Fewtrell and colleagues conclude that it is time to review the UK's guidance in the light of the evidence that has built up on this issue over the last ten years.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Fewtrell, D. C. Wilson, I. Booth, A. Lucas. Six months of exclusive breast feeding: how good is the evidence? BMJ, 2011; 342 (jan13 1): c5955 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.c5955

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Is 'breast only' for first six months best?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110113213100.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2011, January 14). Is 'breast only' for first six months best?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110113213100.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Is 'breast only' for first six months best?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110113213100.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a potential threat to global security, President Barack Obama is ordering 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the stricken region amid worries that the outbreak is spiraling out of control. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Nearly $1.0 billion dollars is needed to fight the Ebola outbreak raging in west Africa, the United Nations say, warning that 20,000 could be infected by year end. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is ordering U.S. military personnel to West Africa to deal with the Ebola outbreak, which is he calls a potential threat to global security. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins