Using data from a nationally generalisable birth cohort, we aimed to: (i) describe the cohort’s adherence to national evidence-based dietary guidelines using an Infant Feeding Index (IFI) and (ii) assess the IFI’s convergent construct validity, by exploring associations with antenatal maternal socio-demographic and health behaviours and with child overweight/obesity and central adiposity at age 54 months. Data were from the Growing Up in New Zealand cohort (n 6343). The IFI scores ranged from zero to twelve points, with twelve representing full adherence to the guidelines. Overweight/obesity was defined by BMI-for-age (based on the WHO Growth Standards). Central adiposity was defined as waist-to-height ratio > 90th percentile. Associations were tested using multiple linear regression and Poisson regression with robust variance (risk ratios, 95 % CI). Mean IFI score was 8·2 (sd 2·1). Maternal characteristics explained 29·1 % of variation in the IFI score. Maternal age, education and smoking had the strongest independent relationships with IFI scores. Compared with children in the highest IFI tertile, girls in the lowest and middle tertiles were more likely to be overweight/obese (1·46, 1·03, 2·06 and 1·56, 1·09, 2·23, respectively) and boys in the lowest tertile were more likely to have central adiposity (1·53, 1·02, 2·30) at age 54 months. Most infants fell short of meeting national Infant Feeding Guidelines. The associations between IFI score and maternal characteristics, and children’s overweight/obesity/central adiposity, were in the expected directions and confirm the IFI’s convergent construct validity.