weaningThe first authoritative work to bring together the developmental milestones of infants and their relationship with food and feeding from their time in the womb has been released by the Infant & Toddler Forum (ITF).

The factsheet on Developmental Stages in Infant and Toddler Feeding aims to provide health and childcare professionals with an evidence-based description of the developmental stages observed around food and feeding in infants and young children. It makes the link between developmental milestones, such as motor skills and the importance they play in the development of an infant’s feeding habits and ability to eat and drink.

Paediatric clinical psychologist Gill Harris said: "Feeding babies and young children can be an intense and emotional (positive and negative) experience for both parent and child. During the early years, a child’s relationship with food, such as milk-feeding, the introduction of complementary foods and the transition to family foods, can be critical for his or her health and development, and have long term consequences on dietary range.

Further reading: First tastes - the 'when to wean debate'

"Parents often ask health professionals when their child will attain feeding and drinking related skills and acquire preferences for particular foods. This Factsheet aims to provide that knowledge to health and childcare professionals. They will then be better informed when discussing developmental milestones with parents."

The factsheet offers an overview of the developmental stages in infants and is split into four sections, giving in-depth and illustrated advice on feeding babies and young children.

The four sections are:
• skills related to feeding and eating
• specific feeding skills
• taste, texture and food preferences
• appetite regulation

To download it in full go to: www.infantandtoddlerforum.org/c/document_library