Workshop on healthy eating for babies to be held next week

A free weaning workshop and cooking session for parents and guardians of babies up to one year will take place at the Ballybane Resource Centre on Wednesday January 25.

The event is being run by the HSE’s community nutrition and dietetic service in conjunction with Tusla, the child and family agency and the Galway city Early Years Committee. It follows on from a successful pilot programme held last year for families living in the east of the city and aims to help them get their baby’s healthy eating off to a good start.

All parents want the best for their babies as they grow, according to a spokesperson for the HSE West. The foundations for lifelong health are built in early childhood and what babies and young children eat and drink is important for their health, both now and in the future.

“From birth, breastfeeding is best for babies and will protect them from such illnesses as ear infections, stomach upsets, diabetes, eczema and obesity. Infant formula is suitable from birth when babies are not breastfed. As at this young age, both body growth and brain development are more rapid now than in any other period in life.”

The information in the workshops is based on up-to-date scientific evidence and the most recent research and guidance provided by the Department of Health and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

By about 26 weeks, babies will begin to need more iron and nutrients than breast milk or formula milk alone can provide. Introducing foods at this age also helps them develop important skills such as learning to feed themselves and the different textures help develop muscles that are important for speech. By the time babies are one year old they should be able to eat most meals enjoyed by the rest of the family.

An evaluation of the workshops indicated that the overall feedback from participants was very positive and highlighted the need for parents to have access to up-to-date, evidenced based information on how to feed babies and young children.

The evaluation - carried out by Jennifer Mulcair, a fourth year nutrition student on placement from Robert Gordon University at NUI Galway’s Health Promotion Research Centre - revealed that participants also reported how they enjoyed the two cooking sessions held and felt more confident afterwards about preparing healthy meals for their infants and families.

ValerieO’Connor, a senior registered dietitian and workshop facilitator, urged parents interested in attending the weaning workshop to contact them as soon as possible as places are limited.

Participants who wish to avail of the free cooking session by community chef Delia Greally from Tusla, can enrol on the day.

Evelyn Fanning, a health promotion officer with the HSE West and chair of the Galway City Early Years Committee, said the weaning workshops are an initiative from Galway City Early Years Committee (a subgroup of Galway Children and Young People’s Service Committee ) in conjunction with the HSE Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service, Tusla and Ballybane Community Resource Centre.

“The programme has received excellent feedback so far and we would like to thank all those involved in its roll out and its continued success.”

To register your interest in attending the event or for further information contact Sabrina Commins at Galway City Partnership on (091 ) 773466, (087 ) 9303468, or by emailing [email protected]

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