What parents think about weaning

Date: November 2018

ISBN: 978-1-905767-84-7

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Introduction

baby eating food from a spoon - report coverIt has been reported that weaning can be both an enjoyable experience and a challenging transition for parents. This research seeks to provide insights into parents’ actual experiences and perceptions. The findings will inform safefood on how best to help parents with weaning their infants, at both an informal and professional level.

The first 2 years of life are considered a critical window for growth, development and prevention of diet-related disease including obesity. The early years are also an opportunity to positively influence dietary preferences and habits in young children. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, whilst the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) recommends that complementary foods (solids and liquids other than breast milk or infant formula) should not be introduced before 4 months but should not be delayed beyond 6 months. In both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the national recommendations for both formula-fed and breastfed babies is that "complementary feeding" or "weaning" should take place around 6 months of age (26 weeks), and not before 17 weeks of age.