About the expert
Lucy Upton is a qualified Paediatric Dietitian and feeding therapist, practicing since 2010 when she graduated with her Master of Nutrition degree from the University of Nottingham.
Lucy is a qualified Paediatric Dietitian and feeding therapist, practicing since 2010 when she graduated with her Master of Nutrition degree from the University of Nottingham. She quickly chose to specialise in Paediatric Nutrition & Dietetics and has since enjoyed working with hundreds of children and their families in both specialist and clinical settings.
Lucy supports parents through The Children’s Dietitian website with both online and face-to-face dietetic consultations.
Over the past ten years, Lucy has gained a breadth of experience working alongside children and their families within a range of settings. Lucy currently works in her NHS role at Birmingham Children’s Hospital while running her freelance and consultancy practice. She’s also registered with The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), British Dietitian Association and the British Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology (BSACI).
A few things to bear in mind when you start out:
Whether your baby has a known food allergy, is at risk of food allergy or neither, it is not uncommon for many parents to find themselves approaching weaning very cautiously – especially if it is their first weaning experience, or there have been early feeding challenges with baby. Whilst it can definitely feel daunting moving through the weaning journey, I find many parents (particularly those of babies with food allergy) fall into the trap of thinking all new foods, whether that be fruit, vegetables, protein rich foods or carbohydrates, need to be introduced one at a time over 2-3 days (or even longer) or get stuck offering foods considered as safe or preferred. In reality however, this means that achieving dietary diversity including introduction of a wide range of foods, textures, taste & experiences (all key factors during weaning) can really start to be impacted.
Aside from the implications on supporting baby to be familiar and accepting of a balanced varied diet, recent research has also highlighted that encouraging dietary diversity e.g. offering lots of different foods into baby’s diet once weaning alongside food allergen introduction helps to support a reduction in overall food allergy risk.
With this in mind I always encourage parents (unless otherwise recommended by a child’s medical team or clinically required) to enjoy exploring and introducing baby to a wide variety of foods, tastes, combinations and suitable textures as they progress through weaning each week – of course taking into account that those common allergenic foods should be foods introduced individually or more cautiously for some children.
More from Lucy:
Lucy is a trained feeding therapist with the SOS approach to feeding, and has many years’ experience working within a multidisciplinary feeding clinic. She is part of an award-winning integrated therapy team who deliver individualised and effective feeding therapy programmes for children with more complex and challenging feeding difficulties. The team has recently launched its feeding therapy service as a not for profit organisation – The Feeding Trust.