New research from National Weaning Week reveals emerging trends and top things on parents’ minds when weaning and feeding baby
Before beginning weaning, parents can find themselves bombarded with conflicting information on how and when to wean their little one. Weaning Week in association with Organix, recently ran a survey on Your Baby Club, the UK’s fastest growing online community of new parents, to find out how UK families are navigating this period of their baby’s development.
Parents are conscious of giving their baby a healthy start in life but are confused about complementary feeding
Despite NHS guidance to wean their baby onto solid foods from 6 months, almost half of our 1,183 respondents did so when their baby was 4-5 months*. It is interesting to note that 70% of parents believe that nutrition from food is more important than from baby’s milk before they reach their first birthday, when in fact food should supplement milk until after 12 months. This may explain why many healthcare professionals are switching to the term ‘complementary feeding’ to emphasise the importance of milk at this stage.
The good news is, that parents are determined to ensure their little ones get the best start in life, wanting to do their best to help them appreciate natural flavours on their precious palates. Over 66% always read the nutritional information on ready-made baby and finger foods before they buy, and over half make their final choice of food based on what they see on the packaging. Trusting what brands state on their packaging is really key, with nearly 90% of parents putting their faith in brands, trusting that labels on packaging are correct.**
Over half of parents claim no added artificial colours and preservatives, no added salts and sugar and added vitamins are top of the list when it comes to nutritional elements which influence a parent’s choice, swiftly followed by products containing fruit and veg, and food being organic, approved by a nutritionist and baked not fried. It is clear from this that parents want their little ones to experience flavours from a natural source such as fruit and vegetables, with no added artificial colours or flavours, and nothing unnecessary such as added salt or sugar.
They are turning to the internet for feeding advice more than ever
Over half of the respondents also agreed the current coronavirus situation is affecting how they start their child on solid foods. Notably, there has been a significant jump in those who use the internet to research how they should go about weaning and weaning products, with 40% using it as their preferred method, more than double any other option available to them (compared to 29% in 2019). This may be explained by not being able to see friends, family and their Health Visitor, and feeling nervous about going into stores to shop (35%).
The biggest concerns are choking and allergic reactions
Parents biggest concerns around weaning and feeding are that their baby may choke (72%) or have an allergic reaction (49%), with 40% worried about portion control and over a quarter are anxious about confidence in their own ability or knowledge.
Mirroring last year’s results, Tesco has won the race for baby food shopping, followed by Asda. Although, it’s a slightly different picture when it comes to where people are shopping for weaning products like spoons and bibs, with Amazon taking first place, followed by Asda, then Tesco.
National Weaning Week runs from 4th to 10th May
For the first time, Organix, the baby food and toddler snacks brand, is partnering with the platform to bring weaning and feeding awareness to as many families around the country as possible. Weaning Week aims to create a supportive network and place where parents search for information and connect with each other, experts and leading baby brands, empowering them to wean their child as nutritiously as possible, without feeling confused or pressurised.
Last year saw 25 brands, retailers, nurseries, parents and experts come together to provide competitions, articles, recipes, twitter chats and product reviews. The NHS and Health Authorities across the UK were quick to get on board. The week achieved a reach of over 9 million across social channels alone. This year, Weaning Week will bring extra online articles and tips, digital weaning workshops from top industry experts, new recipes, Instagram Lives and a Twitter Chat to parents when they need it most. Other brands supporting the event include Itsy, Nuby, Messy Me, Doidy, Tidytot, mum&meAPP, Vital Baby and Bibetta.
Co-founder, Kerry Haynes comments, “This survey has shown there are still many concerns and fears around the current situation and parents feeling left alone without the support of their Health Visitor, friends and family whilst going through the weaning process. We have been delighted with the response from experts, parents, and brands this year who want to show their support to parents in their time of need. Throughout Weaning Week, we hope to create a network for parents to support them in weaning their children as nutritiously as possible, so little ones develop a good relationship with food which will lead to a healthier lifestyle later on. Most importantly we want it to be fun!”
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