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14 January 2011
Is breastfeeding only for the first six months best?

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, say UK pediatricians.

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 who say the time is right to reappraise this recommendation.

Study leader Mary Fewtrell stresses 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.

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 anemia 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.

Related:
Breast Feeding: Does Mother Nature Know Best?
Breastfeeding Problems Linked To Epidurals
Breastfeeding - First Time

Source: British Medical Journal


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