FSAI concern over baby feeding

Tue, Nov 20, 2012, 00:00

A new report has highlighted concerns over baby feeding and nutrition in Ireland. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) report points to persistently low breastfeeding rates.

The report says that notwithstanding the continued prevalence of formula feeding in this country, many parents do not know how to handle and prepare formula safely for their infants. The report says over two-thirds of babies are being weaned from milk to solid food too early. Of greater concern, it says, is that babies as young as six months are being given unsuitable high sugar and high fat foods such as crisps and soft drinks.

Dr Mary Flynn of the FSAI said: “We now know that health problems that affect many adults in Ireland today may be partly due to the inadequacy of their mother’s diet during pregnancy and how they were fed as babies – especially during the first year of life. Infants are not ‘small adults’ and good feeding practice is quite a complex process.”

The report stresses that the prevalence of childhood obesity has its origins in poor infant feeding practices.

Guidance is provided in the report on how to address new and emerging issues such as the need to supplement all infants from birth with vitamin D to prevent rickets and special guidance on the safe preparation of powdered infant formula to prevent foodborne illness.