Dr Sam Wass is supporting Public Health England’s Start4Life Introducing Solid Foods campaign. He is a Child Psychologist at the University of East London and leader of the BabyDevLab and the Developmental Group. He says: “Introducing solid food to your little one can be a rewarding and enjoyable bonding experience for both parent and baby. In the first 12 months babies will develop many fundamental skills and form a relationship with food. From initial milk feeds to the transition to solid food, all stages are critical in providing the best start to life.
“Most babies are not developmentally ready to eat solid food before six months, so it’s important to wait until this time (six months) when your baby should be showing all three of signs of weaning. They will be able to sit up and hold their head steady, coordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at food, pick it up and put it in their mouths all by themselves, and swallow food so more goes in their mouth than around their face.
“The NHS advises 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. Once solid foods have been introduced from around six months, you can move baby on (from pureed) to mashed, lumpy and finger foods as soon they can manage them. This helps them learn how to chew, move solid food around their mouth and swallow solid foods.
“Many parents are feeling confused by the overwhelming amount of information and pressure. In fact, a recent survey from Public Health England found one in three mums (34%) reveal they felt pressure to wean their baby before six months. The survey also highlighted the pressures mums with young children1 feel and the impact this has on their parenting decisions, with 83% feeling they have to get it right all of the time as a mum.
“But luckily, for all those confused parents out there, the NHS has developed an online weaning hub on the Start4Life website to help parents introduce solid foods to their baby. The hub is packed with NHS-endorsed advice, videos and tips, plus simple, healthy recipes, it puts everything parents need to know in one place.
“So for expert advice and support on making the introduction of solid foods easy, visit: www.nhs.uk/start4life/weaning”
Kara Tointon, actress and mum of one is supporting the campaign and said: “I started to introduce solid foods to Frey when he was around 6 months old. It’s been quite the journey as a first time mum and I had so many questions at the beginning which is why it is so important to have the Start4Life weaning hub as a trusted source of advice. It has been a lot of fun working out what foods he likes and the recipes on the Start4Life hub are a great source of inspiration for meal ideas.”
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