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J Paediatr Child Health. 2017 Sep;53(9):870-875. doi: 10.1111/jpc.13594. Epub 2017 Jun 12.

Advice about infant feeding for allergy prevention: A confusing picture for Australian consumers?

Author information

Healthy Mothers Babies and Children's Theme, South Australian Health Medical Research Institute, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
Discipline of Paediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
Centre for Food and Allergy Research, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Department of Pediatrics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.



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.


Australian websites of children's hospitals, early child health organisations and consumer groups providing information about diet during pregnancy, breastfeeding and early infancy were compared with NHMRC and ASCIA guidelines.


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 regarding to include and not delay introduction of common allergens into babies' diets was generally consistent with NHMRC and ASCIA recommendations, however the audit identified some resources that still recommended delayed introduction of common allergens.


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.


breastfeeding; food allergy; infant feeding; infant recommendation; timing of solids

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