Anger as study challenges traditional advice on milk
Health chiefs today rejected a new study which claims breast milk does not provide all the nutrients a baby needs up to six months of age.
"Breast milk provides all the nutrients a baby needs up to six months of age and we recommend exclusive breastfeeding for this time," one health official said.
"Mothers who wish to introduce solids before six months should always talk to health professionals first."
"I believe that this is a retrograde step and plays into the hands of the baby food industry," said Janet Fyle of the London Royal College of Midwives.
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen (above) caused controversy last year by telling an interviewer that new mothers should be forced to breastfeed for the first six months.
The 30-year-old Brazilian catwalk star said there should be a "worldwide law" preventing mothers from using formula milk.
"I think breastfeeding really helped [me keep my figure]," she told Harper's Bazaar.
"Some people here think they don't have to breastfeed, and I think 'are you going to give chemical food to your child when they are so little?'
"I think there should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months."
She later posted a statement on her blog saying it was "unfortunate" the interview had given the impression that the issue was "so black and white".
"I am sure if I would just be sitting talking about my experiences with other mothers, we would just be sharing opinions."
Nifa McLaughlin, editor of gurgle.com, said: "It's no wonder that new parents everywhere are sick with worry as to the best way to feed their baby.
"Quite simply, there is no consistency in the research on this subject."
"If mums are concerned, we would advise them to speak to their health professional, who can advise as to the best approach for them."