20 Jun

Book Review: Why Starting Solids Matters, by Amy Brown

The subject of starting solids divides parents into those who trust their instincts and those who do not. Those who trust their instincts will enjoy this book, which offers evidence to help them make decisions; but they won’t need it. Those who do not, will find it insufficiently instructional. This is the eternal dilemma of the subject, and Amy Brown recognises that.

This is not a manual for introducing solids. It’s a really good resource, though, for anyone supporting parents in either state of mind. It is a sensible, well-researched little book, casting no moral judgement on any of the different options, even as it sets out the compelling arguments for waiting until around 6 months, and enabling babies to self-feed.

Why Starting Solids Matters gives us an interesting history of infant feeding, which lays foundations for the following chapters. It acknowledges the sparsity of good evidence around allergies, and really makes its point about the importance, above all else, of responsive feeding.

Closing with a ten-step summary and a long list of resources, and thoroughly referenced, Why Starting Solids Matters ticks all my boxes for a thoroughly useful book. I fervently hope that it will be as widely read as it deserves.

[Disclaimer: The publishers sent me a free review copy. You can buy it from their website, and get 10% discount with the code SPROGCAST]

10 Sep

Research finds commercial baby foods lack nutrients

Researchers from the department of human nutrition at the University of Glasgow have published a study on commercial baby foods, as reported in The Guardian today. Author Charlotte White then appeared on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour to talk about the findings of the study. The piece made good listening, with points made about not introducing solids too early and displacing milk, which is more nutrient dense than solid food; and there being no need at all for follow-on formula. It would have been nice to hear a bit more about baby-led weaning, which is a great option if parents want to take it very slowly and are relaxed about how much food baby actually takes.