Cumbria County Council is supporting Public Health England’s first ever Start4Life campaign to help parents introduce their baby to solid foods.
Official advice is that most babies should not start solid foods until they are around six months old. By this point their bodies are better able to cope with solid foods and they are more able to feed themselves. They are also better at moving food around their mouth, chewing and swallowing. The last UK Infant Feeding Survey showed that three-quarters of parents had introduced solid foods by the time their baby was 5 months old.
New research conducted for Public Health England found that there are some common misconceptions about the signs a baby is ready for their first solid foods, including:
- 52% of mums think wanting extra milk feeds as a sign that their baby is ready for solid foods
- 24% of mums believe that a baby chewing their fists is a sign that they are ready to start weaning
- 26% of mums believe that waking up in the night is a sign a baby is ready for weaning
The survey also revealed that many parents have concerns around weaning with 23% of mums in the north west saying they didn’t feel confident when they introduced solid foods to their baby. The list of worries included choking, allergic reactions to new foods, how much food to give their baby, and concern that their baby won’t eat enough or will reject food.
A brand-new weaning hub has been launched on the Start4Life website to help parents feel confident about introducing solid foods to their baby for the first time. Packed with NHS-approved advice and tips for each weaning stage, plus simple, healthy weaning recipes for different age groups, it puts everything parents need to know in one place. It also includes new videos showing the signs that indicate babies are ready to wean, how much food to give, and weaning tips from other parents.
Colin Cox, Cumbria County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “It’s clear from this latest research that knowing when to introduce solid foods can be a time of nervousness for parents, that’s absolutely fine and we want to help parents be more confident.
“The new weaning hub on the Start4Life website has been developed with parents and aims to make it easy for them to find answers to their weaning questions and to access useful advice.
“We recommend that parents still unsure about how to wean their children ring their health visitor or attend a child health clinic to seek advice.”
Parents can get NHS approved advice and tips from Start4Life at www.nhs.uk/start4life/weaning.