What and when to feed a baby can be stressful for parents and carers, with lots of confusing and conflicting information about. Help is at hand from LEAPS (Learning, Eating, Active, Play, Sleep), a free program led by QUT in partnership with NAQ Nutrition.
The program has developed two new videos on feeding babies aged from 0 through to 12 months of age – Introducing infants to first foods: signs of readiness and Introducing infants to first foods: progressing through textures.
Phoebe Cleland, Research Fellow with QUT’s School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences, said the first video covered nutrition for babies from birth through to six months, including breastfeeding, formula feeding and the signs of readiness for first foods.
The second video concerns babies from six months to one year of age, including progressing through first food textures to family foods.
“There is concern that a lack of knowledge among some parents and early childhood education and care staff can lead to inappropriate introduction of first foods/solids to babies,” Ms Cleland said.
“When babies start on first foods they don’t automatically like all foods, they have to learn to like different flavours and textures and some foods they may need to try up to 15 times before they start to like them’
“Research shows first food/solids are usually introduced between 4-5months in Australia, but the Australian Infant Feeding Guidelines recommends to introduce them from around six months of age and ensure first foods are rich in iron and of appropriate texture dependent on the baby’s development. Then as the baby grows, increase the variety and quantity of the food.
“Our videos, which provide guidance on this, are the latest addition to LEAPS resources. We also developed them for QUT students to help them to understand infant feeding as part of their Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics as well as the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education.”
LEAPS was launched in 2013 to provide professional development and resources about nutritious food and healthy activity levels for children in Queensland early childhood education and care services, such as Family Day Care, Kindergartens and Long Day Care services
The program provides information and tips on how to meet the current guidelines on nutrition and physical activity. Fact sheets and videos available on the LEAPS website cover topics including budget buying, healthy snacks, recipes and active play activities in small spaces.
LEAPS is a partnership between QUT, NAQ Nutrition and the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation and is funded by the Queensland Government.
QUT is part of a national collaborative group of five major Australian universities that form the ATN (Australian Technology Network of Universities).
(Source: Queensland University of Technology)