Is 6 months still the best for exclusive breastfeeding and introduction of solids? A literature review with consideration to the risk of the development of allergies

Breastfeed Rev. 2009 Jul;17(2):23-31.


Health professionals advising mothers on the introduction of solid foods to infants need evidence-based guidelines. A literature review on this topic was undertaken to examine the current international recommendations of expert bodies and evidence-based research published since 2003. Particular reference in this review is made to the timing of introducing food allergens and the risk of development of allergy in the child. Recommendations in developed countries of reducing this risk by avoidance of allergenic foods until the child is of varying ages past 6 months have been challenged by recent population studies. Where the risk of allergy is a key consideration, currently-available research suggests that introducing solids at 4-6 months may result in the lowest allergy risk. When all aspects of health are taken into account, the recommended duration of exclusive breastfeeding and age of introduction of solids were confirmed to be 6 months, but no later.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Australia
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / prevention & control*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Food / adverse effects
  • Infant Food / standards
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Time Factors
  • Weaning*