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vital: MUMS' CONFUSION OVER WEANING COULD PUT BALANCED BABY DIET AT RISK.

MISCONCEPTIONS about weaning could be denying children a nutritionally balanced diet, according to research.

Forty-two per cent of mums in Scotland believed healthy weaning foods - including green leafy vegetables, red meat, chicken and cereals - were unsuitable.

And 14 per cent thought it OK to include foods not recommended as part of a weaning diet, potentially impacting on their baby's nutritional start in life.

Ninety-one per cent of mums questioned in the survey by baby milk manufacturer SMA Nutrition believed they couldn't give their children eggs, when they are fine if well cooked.

And 89 per cent wrongly thought red meat was a no-go area when it is a good source of iron, often lacking in the weaning diet.

Pasta can also form a healthy part of the diet but 71 per cent of mums polled thought it was off the menu.

There was also confusion around baby's drink. Eleven per cent believed follow-on milk and cows' milk have equal benefits, but cows' milk doesn't contain all the nutrients needed and shouldn't be used as a main drink until a baby is one year old.

Cows' milk is low in iron, a crucial nutrient for weaning.

Expert nutritionist Julia Wolman said: "There is evidently a lot of confusion among mums in Scotland when it comes to which foods are suitable for weaning.

"Babies need a variety of foods from different food groups to ensure they get all the nutrients they need.

"Follow-on milks contain higher levels of iron and vitamin D than cows' milk, both are essential for healthy growth and development. Follow-on milks can therefore form an important part of a well-balanced weaning diet."

SMA Nutrition has developed a practical booklet on weaning called From First Tastes to Family Food. The booklet, plus a SMA Progress money-off voucher, is available by calling the SMA Careline free on 0800 089 0075.

For further details visit www.smanutrition.co.uk

'Forty-two per cent of mums believed healthy weaning foods were unsuitable'

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 6, 2008
Words:336
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