Baby steps to diet

Online course teaches nu­tri­tion

Herald Sun - - NEWS - BRIGID O’CON­NELL brigid.ocon­nell@news.com.au

NEW par­ents have the chance to grad­u­ate top of the class in wean­ing, spoon­feed­ing and charm­ing fussy eaters.

A free online “speed univer­sity course” is teach­ing ev­i­dence-based re­search about feed­ing and in­fant nu­tri­tion for a child’s first year of life.

About 15,000 par­ents, grand­par­ents and health work­ers from 145 coun­tries have signed up for the two-week Mas­sive Open Online Course, cre­ated by Deakin Univer­sity.

Course cre­ator Pro­fes­sor Karen Camp­bell, from Deakin’s In­sti­tute for Phys­i­cal Ac­tiv­ity and Nu­tri­tion, said there was of­ten con­fu­sion among new par­ents and car­ers about how to ac­cess high-qual­ity, re­li­able and un­bi­ased guid­ance on in­fant feed­ing.

“The first 1000 days are con­sid­ered to be vi­tally im­por­tant in terms of set­ting the tra­jec­tory for chil­dren’s health and devel­op­ment. Diet is a re­ally big part of that,” Prof Camp­bell said. “If you can help a woman learn to en­joy a health­ier diet dur­ing preg­nancy, it has ben­e­fits for her, it prob­a­bly has ben­e­fits for her part­ner and her chil­dren in set­ting them up to eat healthily for the rest of their lives.”

In six hours over two weeks, par­tic­i­pants will learn the­ory and prac­ti­cal ad­vice from ter­tiary nu­tri­tion ex­perts.

Ari­ana Clee’s four-mon­thold son, Lo­gan, is al­ready show­ing he is keen to get started on solids; putting his hands to his mouth when watch­ing his par­ents eat, and grab­bing for food. The first-time mum said it had been a chal­lenge to find re­sources on in­fant feed­ing she trusted.

“I’m a bit du­bi­ous about what’s on the in­ter­net most of the time. I want to make sure the re­sources I’m read­ing are le­git and are backed by science,” Ms Clee said. “There are a lot of re­sources now about baby-led wean­ing com­pared to the spoon­fed wean­ing that my gen­er­a­tion grew up on.”

The cur­rent course is still open, with the next ses­sion to start in Novem­ber.

Pic­ture: NICKI CON­NOLLY

Ari­ana Clee and her son, Lo­gan, 4 months, who is about to start eating solids.

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