Telegraph Article - 'Pureed food bad for babies, claims Unicef'

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Telegraph Article - 'Pureed food bad for babies, claims Unicef'

Telegraph Article - 'Pureed food bad for babies, claims Unicef'
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I came across this article which I thought might be mentioned by some of your mums in classes ...

Telegraph Article

Pureed food bad for babies, claims Unicef
By Martin Beckford
Last Updated: 2:28am BST 19/06/2007

Parents are putting their babies' health at risk by spoon-feeding them pureed food, according to a Unicef childcare expert.

Infants should be fed exclusively with *** milk or formula milk for the first six months of their lives then weaned straight on to solids.

Gill Rapley, the deputy director of Unicef's Baby Friendly Initiative, believes spoon-feeding babies with pureed food can stop them learning to chew and use their hands skilfully, as well as making them constipated and fussy about what they eat.

If accepted by parents, her claims could have damaging implications for the baby food industry, which is now worth more than £450 million a year in Britain.

Ms Rapley, a health visitor for 25 years, has produced a DVD, Baby-Led Weaning, to explain her feeding programme, which teaches that babies over six months should be in charge of what they eat and says scientific research and official guidance back up her claims.

She said: "Sound scientific research and government advice now agree there is no longer any window of a baby's development in which they need something more than milk and less than solids.

"In 2002, the World Health Organisation backed research that found *** or formula milk provided all the nutrition a baby needs up to the age of six months.

"That research said feeding a baby any other food during their first six months would dilute the nutritional value of the milk and might even be harmful to the baby's health. The WHO was so impressed by the research that it rewrote its recommendations on baby feeding. A year later, the Department of Health for England and Wales followed suit."

She believes that after six months babies can take food to their mouths and chew so it is unnecessary for parents to spoon-feed them purees.

Ms Rapley believes feeding babies purees could delay their chewing skills, and that babies which feed themselves become less picky and develop hand control quicker.

She said: "Provided a child is sitting up straight and is supervised by an adult, he or she can feed themselves a variety of healthy finger foods with their hands."

Almost all of the one million babies in Britain aged between four and 20 months are given baby food, which is now available in a huge array of flavours and varieties including costly organic, fresh and locally-sourced ingredients.

Roger Clarke, the director-general of the Infant and Dietetic Foods Association, which represents manufacturers such as Heinz, Nestlé and Boots, said: "UK infant food companies support a flexible approach to feeding infants, and a 'one size fits all' policy is not appropriate."

A Department of Health spokesman agreed with Ms Rapley that babies should be fed exclusively on milk up to the age of six months. But she added: "After that we say you should go at your own pace, but we do recommend that people use mashed-up foods and purees."

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Tue, Jun 26 2007 7:31 PM In reply to

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Re: Telegraph Article - 'Pureed food bad for babies, claims Unicef'
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Hi Helenh

Its great that you have highted this information. I heard Gill Rapley present her work at a conference a few years ago and I have the DVD which is really good. I have provided this information to mums in my class. If anyone wants to follow this up there is 'baby led weaning' website at:

Best wishes