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.

Related Articles


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 December 21, 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 December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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