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Novel methods of infant feeding in New Zealand - cause for concern or optimism?

Congratulations to Associate Professor Anne-Louise Heath who has been named a successful recipient in this year’s announcement of Health Research Grants.

Researchers, health professionals, and policy-makers know surprisingly little about how and what infants are fed during their journey from consuming a 100 per cent milk diet at birth, to consuming the same foods as their family around their first birthday. In fact, we don’t know what babies are eating in New Zealand even though there has been a revolution in infant feeding with domination of the market by baby food “pouches”, and massive popular uptake of Baby-Led Weaning (BLW), a virtually unstudied approach to introducing solids in which babies feed themselves 100 per cent finger foods - from the start. The First Foods NZ study will determine the impact of pouches and BLW on iron deficiency, growth, choking and dental health in an observational study of 625 Dunedin and Auckland infants. The results will enable the Ministry of Health, health professionals, and Plunket to advise parents on how to introduce solids safely.