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New research recommends babies should be given solid food from four months of age to give them the best chance of avoiding food allergies.

Breastfeeding should continue while solid foods are introduced, but the national alliance of paediatric food allergy clinicians and researchers say there is no evidence that expensive “hypo-allergenic” formulas prevent allergies from developing, reports The Herald Sun.

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute paediatric gastroenterologist and allergist Professor Katie Allen told The Centre for Food and Allergy Research summit in Melbourne last week that parents were already introducing solids between four and six months of age, and the updated guidelines ensured experts were giving consistent advice.

“There still continues to be confusion, but what is emerging is a considered evidence base that is informing the experts,” Prof Allen said.

“We used to tell people to avoid peanut, eggs and cow’s milk, and now we’re saying introduction is safe and maybe even be protective.

“We used to say breastfeeding will protect but unfortunately there’s no evidence it does.”

“Early introduction doesn’t mean your child will never have a reaction, but the evidence says four months onwards this is what we need to be doing,” Ms Said Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia president advises.

“I think people at high risk, those who have eczema or food allergies in the family, need to be given different advice by a doctor with expertise.

“Perhaps don’t introduce this food on your own if your child is at moderate risk, make sure your partner is at home, don’t do it on a long weekend. They need practical advice.”

Dr Rosemary Stanton, who was part of the NHMRC nutrition group who compiled the latest feeding guidelines, said it was concerning that some community groups were still peddling the “dangerous” advice that high-risk allergy foods should be avoided until the baby was 12-24 months old.

Can I just say my boys are six and twelve so this is well behind me, but we were always advised 4-6mths. I think using your discretion, based on your own history and circumstances is the best guide you can follow. Along with advice from your health provider.

Share your comments below.

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  • Not sure where you go the info about bf not having any benefits!

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  • These guidelines seem to be changing all the time and i cant help but think it just adds more confusion for new parents. I think every mum knows their bub and when theyre ready for solids. Luckily none of my kids have allergies but through circumstance and them all being so different – over 3 kids solids were introduced at about 5 months, 7 months and my eldest was 10 months old as she just wasnt interested and was healthy on breastmilk/formula. I believe mums know their bubs and when they are ready for starting solids. Everyone is different.

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  • My Grandma was unable to breastfeed my Mum and she was put on cow’s milk. Apparently she couldn’t digest it properly and often vomitted a whole feed up. They eventually found out she was lactose intolerant. She never told me what they gave her instead.

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  • I started feeding when 6 months the recommended age by some official organisation but our nurses and nutrition advisors at mothers group said from 4 months is fine if bub seems ready. I’m glad they gave us a recommendation that included our intuition, because my bub was ready!

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  • I started giving my kids tastes of solid food around the 6mth mark.
    Im lucky that none of my kids have allergies.

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  • I have always said that it totally depends on the baby but I have found that most are “asking” for solids around 4-5 months. Every bub is different and mums need to be aware of the signs of readyness. Introducing allergy type foods earlier (with extra supervision if from an allergy family) just makes sense.

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  • Urgh. So this is from a doctor not advice from the world Health Organisation who have set the guidelines in the past?? I happily feed my bubs milk only until they hit 6 months and we haven’t had a single known allergy or skin issue.

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  • Seriously unless you’re an idiot do what’s right for your kids. Some are ready at 4 months, some arent

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  • I am so glad we’re past this stage – the advice has always been confusingly conflicting.

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  • This is the 3 rd time it’s changed in 3 years.
    My daughter was 5 and a half months

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  • Couldn’t agree more. I have four kids and started between 4-6 months with each. i think using your own discretion is the best advise.

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  • I gave my daughter solids at 5 months and always felt a little guilty because I was told to wait till 6 months.

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  • I ate “allergy” foods like nuts and eggs while pregnant and breastfeeding. I figured (maybe wrongly) that by ingesting these and having my son having them via breastmilk wpuld contribute to beating any possible allergies.
    I dont think you can give a definite age to introduce solids,all children are different so it should be done on a child by child basis

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  • My kids are in their 20s now. When they were babies, introducing solids was recommended after 4 months of age. I have a 7 week old grandson now and they been told the same start date. So I can’t see the confusion when the information doesn’t seem to have changed in the last 20 or so years


    • It did change…when I fed my girls it was recommended at 6 months. They said their tummies were too immature

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  • I started introducing the first solids when my daughter was 5 and a half months old. If it’s now considered safe and even desirable to introduce solids earlier, I’d probably do that too.

    Reply

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