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Understanding the science behind infant and toddler nutrition

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Members of the Infant Nutrition Council (INC) will meet in Canberra to discuss infant and toddler nutrition at Australian Parliament House on 23 June 2022.

The event is an opportunity for industry and government to share the important roles we each have in supporting the health, safety and needs of our most vulnerable and precious population, infants and young children.

Chair of the Infant Nutrition Council, Hamish Reid, states: “When an infant does not receive breastmilk, scientifically developed infant formula is the only suitable and safe alternative. As breastmilk substitute manufacturers, we have a responsibility to actively support the protection and promotion of breastfeeding and all Infant Nutrition Council members take that responsibility very seriously.”

Formula feeding is a necessity for some families and for this reason, it is also the responsibility of our industry, that formulas continue to be improved in line with emerging scientific understanding and manufacturing technological capabilities.

Not all infant formulas are the same, parents need valid and specific information to make an informed choice about which products to use, their availability and about changes and updates.

Our research shows that efforts to limit access to information to parents about our products or to define toddler milk as a breast milk substitute do nothing to protect breastfeeding or improve breastfeeding rates. In fact, breastfeeding rates are improving in Australia.

Toddler milk drinks are not breast milk substitutes but rather supplementary foods to be used only in specific circumstances when intakes of energy and nutrients may not be adequate. This research shows the important role that toddler milk can play in improving the nutritional status of young children.

What a child is fed during the first two years of life is critical in ensuring their optimal growth, health, and development. Innovation and information are the keys to safeguarding the future for infants and young children.

Research finds 50% of parents feel “judged” for using infant formula.

Infant Nutrition Council says that modern families are unsupported in their choice to use infant formula, citing the significant increase in working parents, single parents and rainbow families.

Research will also show that despite growing breastfeeding rates, over 90% of Australian infants (6-12 months) receive inadequate iron (less than the recommended amount).

Industry leaders are calling for an informed discussion about how to promote adequate infant and toddler nutrition.

The Infant Nutrition Council Ltd was established in 2009 and is an amalgamation of the Infant Formula Manufacturers Association of Australia (IFMAA) and the New Zealand Infant Formula Marketers Association (NZIFMA).

INC represents the major manufacturers, marketers and ingredient suppliers of infant formula and toddler milk in Australia and New Zealand as well as local manufacturers who are producing product for export.

Original content from AAP. Note: Content has been edited for style and length.

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