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Ten Steps for Feeding Babies // ITF

*Post in association with Infant & Toddler Forum 

As a first time Mum back in 2013, I had a vague idea of how to feed my first baby boy born. We muddled through and as many first time parents do, we did what we thought was best for our baby. We would seek advice from family and friends if we were uncertain about something and eventually through experience and over time, we felt confident in what we were doing with him. Five years later, his little brother arrived and we had to do it all over again. This time around, there’s an online resource that offers parents practical tips, simple and sound advice when it comes to feeding babies in their first year of life, thanks to the Infant & Toddler Forum (ITF). 

IFT

The Infant & Toddler Forum provide practical advice for healthy eating habits from pregnancy through to preschool. Most recently they have launched their ‘Ten Steps for Feeding Babies’ resource and it is full of useful advice for parents whether they’re a new parent or one that’s forgotten the very early years like me. I have found it to be a great read as a second time Mum, it’s amazing how much stuff you forget over time.

Parents under pressure says recent survey

Recently, the ITF have commissioned a survey to find out how parents feel about feeding their babies through their first year. It has had interesting survey results and has helped the ITF (who are a group of paediatricians, dieticians, health visitors, midwives and psychologists who work together on child nutrition issues) to produce a set of simple messages. These ten steps to feeding are based on the latest evidence with links to further information for parents and carers.

Infant Feeding Infographic

Whilst it’s evident that parents with young babies feel overwhelmed when it comes to feeding, the reassuring news is that they’re not alone. 70% said they felt pressured and 60% said that they felt anxious, judged and guilty than expected. I can completely identify with this. With social media often portraying that everything is rosy and perfect, it can be really difficult not to try and match up to expectations.

The survey also found that whilst social media can sometimes offer validation, practical feeding advice from healthcare professionals and their own instinct play a huge part. Again, I agree with this as whilst the healthcare professionals offer best advice in general, they don’t know my baby like I do. In agreement, 48% took on board the practical feeding advice and adapted to suit their own style.

You can read further survey results in the infographic above or online with IFT.

Ten Steps to Feeding Babies

The ten steps to feeding are simple and informative. To a new parent, they set out the guidelines of what should happen and at what stage with their baby. I was unaware about the Vitamin D supplements for Freddie as no-one has mentioned this to me over the last nine months. This is something I’ll be looking into and possibly beginning to offer him.

Additionally, I wasn’t sure when to introduce certain allergenic foods to Freddie during weaning and at nine months old, he still hasn’t eaten any peanut butter or any foods containing nuts. He has tried dairy, eggs and fish along with wheat-based foods and luckily has not had any reactions, he’s really enjoyed them. I’ll be introducing him to nuts in the next couple of weeks to see if he’s allergic to them at all and to see if he likes them.

Looking at the guidance, we have been generally following most of it over the last nine months with Freddie. Freddie is now well on his way with his weaning and has tried a huge variety of foods over the last three months. He has naturally cut down on his milk intake and we’ll be switching to cows milk in January when he turns one.

You can read more about the ‘Ten Steps to Feeding Babies’ from the Infant & Toddler Forum here. You can also download the guidance booklet which gives further information on the evidence behind the ten steps which ultimately aims to help parents and carers understand their babies’ nutritional needs and provide positive feeding experiences during their first year of life.

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