HealthDay News — In a position paper published in the January issue of the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, guidance is presented in relation to complementary foods and their introduction into an infant’s diet.

Mary Fewtrell, MD, from the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health in London, and colleagues considered different aspects of complementary feeding (CF), focusing on healthy term infants in Europe. 

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The authors note that exclusive or full breastfeeding should be promoted for at least four months, and a desirable goal for exclusive or predominant breastfeeding is about six months; continued breast feeding is recommended alongside CF. Introduction of complementary foods should not occur before age 4 months or be delayed beyond 6 months. Before age 12 months, whole cows’ milk should not be used as the main drink. When CF is commenced, allergenic foods may be introduced. Peanut should be introduced between 4 and 11 months for infants at high risk of peanut allergy. Between 4 and 12 months, gluten may be introduced, but consumption of large quantities should be avoided. Iron-rich complementary foods, including meat products and/or iron-fortified foods should be given to all infants. Sugar and salt should not be added to CF.

“Parents should be encouraged to respond to their infant’s hunger and satiety [cues] and to avoid feeding to comfort or as a reward,” the authors write.

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