One in four mums in our area lack confidence introducing solid foods to their baby

A Survey of 1,000 mothers of young children has found around a quarter of mums in the East Midlands don't have confidence introducing solid food to their baby and weaning them off breast milk.

Public Health England (PHE) has launched its first ever Start4Life campaign to help parents in the East Midlands 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 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 common myths persist in the East Midlands about the signs a baby is ready for their first solid foods, including:

  • 45% of mums mistake wanting extra milk feeds as a sign that their baby is ready for solid foods;
  • 21% of mums mistakenly believe that a baby chewing their fists is a sign that they are ready to start weaning.
  • 18% of mums in mistakenly believe that waking up in the night is a sign a baby is ready for weaning.

The survey revealed that many parents have concerns around weaning with almost one in four mums in the East Midlands saying they didn’t feel confident when they introduced solid foods to their baby. Among the list of worries amongst mums 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 during their weaning journey. 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.

Ann Crawford, Deputy Director, Health and Wellbeing at PHE East Midland’s, said:

“Weaning is an important milestone in a baby’s development and is a great opportunity to guide their taste preferences and help them learn healthy eating habits that will stay with them for life.

“With nearly a quarter of parents in the East Midlands not confident about the weaning process, the new weaning hub on the Start4Life website is easily accessible and pulls all the NHS advice into one handy place, helping parents to gain confidence and enjoy introducing solid foods.”

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