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Type: Journal article
Title: Advice about infant feeding for allergy prevention: a confusing picture for Australian consumers?
Author: Netting, M.
Allen, K.
Citation: Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 2017; 53(9):870-875
Publisher: Royal Australasian College of Physicians
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 1034-4810
Statement of
Merryn J. Netting and Katrina J. Allen
Abstract: Aim: Early feeding plays an important role in programming the immune system, particularly the risk of food allergy. There are many infant feeding guides published for consumers available in Australia, with most based on the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) 2012 Infant Feeding Guidelines for Health Workers and the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) Infant Feeding Advice for allergy prevention. We sought to compare allergy-specific content of infant feeding educational material written for parents with these two documents. Methods: Australian websites of children’s hospitals, early child health organisations and consumer groups providing information about diet dur- ing pregnancy, breastfeeding and early infancy were compared with NHMRC and ASCIA guidelines. Results: Twenty-five sets of infant feeding information were identified. Food allergy was discussed in 18 resources. Recommended length of exclusive breastfeeding and timing of commencing solid foods was consistently around 6 months, with some variation in wording. Advice regard- ing to include and not delay introduction of common allergens into babies’ diets was generally consistent with NHMRC and ASCIA recommenda- tions, however the audit identified some resources that still recommended delayed introduction of common allergens. Conclusion: As consumers have access to a plethora of health information it is imperative that information about infant feeding from health-care authorities is simple, evidence-based and consistent to avoid confusion. Use of consensus wording related to infant feeding guidelines to prevent allergies will provide clear messages related to the timing of introduction to solid foods and inclusion of allergens in the early diet.
Keywords: breastfeeding
food allergy
infant feeding
infant recommendation
timing of solids
Rights: © 2017 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (The Royal Australasian College of Physicians).
DOI: 10.1111/jpc.13594
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Paediatrics publications

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