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New infant solids guidelines from ASCIA and when to give cows milk

Posted by Karen Faulkner on
New infant solids guidelines from ASCIA and when to give cows milk
There's always a lot of confusion about when to move your baby onto eggs, dairy, cows milk, peanuts etc. so I thought it was my public duty to update you all. Hot off the press this week is the new ASCIA guidelines. ASCIA are the Australian Society of Clinical Immunologists and Allergists.

To quote ASCIA, "This advice applies to all infants, including the majority of those who are at a higher risk of developing allergies. This advice is suitable for infants with mild or moderate eczema."

ASCIA and cows milk
There is a lot of confusion particularly about introducing cows milk especially.
Can I clarify...Breast milk and infant formula should be the MAIN drink your baby has until 12 months old.

This is what the NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) and ASCIA state verbatim, "Regular cow's, goat's milk (or other mammal derived milks), soy milk, nut and cereal beverages are not recommended for infants as the main source of milk before 12 months of age".

However FULL CREAM COWS MILK can be used in cooking and on cereals from 4 months.  And I'm quoting ASCIA and the NHMRC here.

toddler milk

NHMRC on page 92 Cow’s milk (full cream cow’s milk) state verbatim that: "Cow’s milk has high electrolyte and protein concentrations giving it a high renal solute load. Cow’s milk contains 23 mmol/l of sodium and 3.4 g/100 ml of protein.553 Feeding infants with whole cow’s milk before 12 months of age is associated with an increased incidence of iron deficiency. The AAP first recommended against the use of cow’s milk under 12 months of age in 1992. This position has been reconfirmed by more recent studies and reviews.


Although cow’s milk should not be given as a main drink to infants under the age of 12 months, small quantities may be given as part of solid foods, such as custards and on cereal. After 12 months of age the consumption of cow’s milk should be limited to around 500 ml because of the high protein and low iron content (see Table 2.1; page 27) and the risk of reducing diversity in the diet.

Page 93 of the NHMRC states that "Breast milk or infant formula should be the main drink in the first 12 months. Exclusively breastfed infants do not require additional fluids up to 6 months of age. For formula-fed infants, cooled boiled tap water may be used if additional fluids are needed. From around 6 months, small amounts of cooled boiled water can supplement breast milk or infant formula. Consuming any other drinks in the first 12 months may interfere with an infant’s intake of breast milk or infant formula.

After 12 months, water and whole cow’s milk should be the main drinks offered. where available, clean and safe tap water should be offered, especially if it contains fluoride."

I hope that cleared things up. I feel much better now that I've kept you all up to date :-)

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