Breastfeeding – is 6months too long?

A recent article published in the British Medical Journal has suggested that babies who are exclusively breast fed for the first 6 months of life may have a higher rate of anaemia (low iron levels) and an increased risk of coeliac disease and food allergies as they grow up. The study is part of an emerging body of evidence suggesting that breast milk alone my not provide sufficient nutrition for babies as they grow and that there may be in important window for introducing your baby to other tastes and solids within the first 6months of life.

This study contradicts the previous recommendations which were based of World Health Organisation (WHO) advice from 2001 suggesting that babies who are exclusively breastfed in the first 6months have fewer infections and no growth problems.

Perhaps it’s time time to re-think the timing of introduction of solids?? As more research emerges in this area we will undoubtedly have more answers. However this recent study is a good quality piece of research produced out of University College Hospital London and therefore has significant credibility.

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