Current national and international recommendations for the appropriate nutrition of infants have been evaluated in an overview from the von Haunerschen Children’s Hospital of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (1). The analyses include research results published according to the European Position Paper on breastfeeding and infant nutrition (2). B. Koletzko and his colleague C. Prell focus in particular on recommendations for breastfeeding, infant formulas and the introduction of complementary foods. The scientists reach i.a. the estimation that
- exclusive breastfeeding is optimal for at least 4 months [now 6 month – please see (3)],
- Breastfeeding can lead to a significant risk reduction for later diseases such as bronchial asthma (-27 to -30 %); atopic dermatitis (-32 %) and obesity
- not or not exclusively breastfed infants should receive a commercially produced infant formula with low protein content and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids,
- complementary foods should be introduced at the earliest at the beginning of the 5th, at least at the beginning of the 7th month of life and should contain iron from meat and once or twice a week fish,
- early consumption of meat, liver and fish positively supports physical and mental growth,
- a vegan diet of infants, without nutritional supplementation, leads to a high risk of nutrient deficiencies,
- in the case of familial allergy stress, until the introduction of the complementary diet, an infant formula with hydrolyzed protein should be used,
- a delayed introduction of complementary foods with eggs, fish or peanuts, which may causes more frequent allergies, is not recommended,
- commercial cow’s milk should not be given to infants in the first year of life,
- all infants should receive 3 x 2 mg of vitamin K at the check-ups U1, U2 and U3 and daily vitamin D (400-500 IU) and fluoride (0,25 mg) supplementation,
- supplements of pre- or probiotics in the commercial baby food in Germany are considered safe,
- from the end of the first year of life family food can be gradually offered.
In addition, family medical advice is to be recommended to build the foundation for lifelong health with optimal, healthy nutrition for infants.
(1) Breastfeeding and complementary feeding—recommendations on infant nutrition. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International 2016; 113: 435–44., available at https://www.aerzteblatt.de/int/archive/article?id=180189&src=search
(2) Cf. ESPGHAN-Committee on Nutrition, C. Agostoni, C. Braegger, et al. (2009): “Breast-feeding: A Commentary by the ESPGHAN Committee on Nutrition”. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 49(1), S. 112-125, available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19502997.
(3) Meanwhile, a supplementary commentary has been published recommending an exclusive breastfeeding period of 6 months: cf. M. Fewtrell, J. Bronsky, et al. (2017): “Complementary Feeding: A Position Paper by the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) Committee on Nutrition. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition”64(1), S. 119–132, available at http://journals.lww.com/jpgn/Fulltext/2017/01000/Complementary_Feeding___A_Position_Paper_by_the.21.aspx