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Is this dangerous advice?

(17 Posts)
threefeethighandrising Mon 14-Oct-13 10:48:23

Just reading the weaning page as DD is due to turn 6 months this week. I've forgotten so much stuff since having DS, and it was a really useful refresher, thanks smile

However, I thought you'd want to know that I found a bit of advice there which could easily be interpreted in a dangerous way IMO.

It says "As a first food, most people steam carrots, cut up cucumbers, make toast fingers or crinkle-cut bits of mango but there's no reason whatsoever why your baby can't have a pile of spaghetti bolognese or mashed potato to dig into if that's what the rest of the family are having."

However tragically, there was a baby who died from being given adult foods because of the salt content. Story here
One of the foods which contributed to the child's death was Ready Brek, which you wouldn't think of as salty, necessarily.

Of course it's great for babies to share the same food as the family ^if the
food is suitable for babies^. I think the advice on the weaning would be fine, it if was given alongside a warning about salt in food. (Some people make their bolognese very salty, for example).

Mumsnet HQ, would you consider adding a salt warning right next to that bit of advice?

You do mention salt lower down the page, but as I expect you know, people don't read web pages properly - they scan them.

I wonder also if your later salt advice is strong enough? You say:

"Salt. Your baby's kidneys won't be developed enough to cope with salt. Don't add it to your baby's food (or your own, if you're eating the same meal) and be careful to avoid foods that could contain a lot of salt (stock cubes, crisps, bacon, smoked meats and so on)."

I'm not sure someone would get the message from that, that you must check even things like Ready Brek for salt. It's not something you'd think of as a food "that could contain a lot of salt". The way it's put there, sounds like you should avoid foods which would be salty to an adult palate, not necessarily foods with salt in them.

The NHS say "You should also avoid giving your baby ready-made foods that are not made specifically for babies, such as breakfast cereals, because they can also be high in salt." link

Would you consider adding words to this effect?

threefeethighandrising Mon 14-Oct-13 10:50:47

Perhaps it would be better to suggest that your baby can have home-cooked meals which you know have no added salt, but not processed foods which have salt as an ingredient? (If that is indeed correct advice?!)

NoComet Mon 14-Oct-13 11:19:41

The article says the child who died was three months old.

No one in their right minds tries to wean a 3 month old. Even accepting that the current advice of 6 months is widely ignored, very few children eat an appreciable amount before they are 5 months old.

That said I can accept Ready Brek being something babies might take to readily if hungry (my under weight, bottle refusing, DD2, would at 5.5 months devour yoghurt like a toddler).

However, surely the warnings that it is not a infant food are not MNs problem.

ilovepowerhoop Mon 14-Oct-13 11:35:11

ready brek fought back against that case as ready brek has never contained added salt or sugar and it was very unfair that it's name was mentioned as a contributing factor. That baby was fed instant mash and gravy at 3 months old which are far more salty than proper potatoes or ready brek

TEErickOrTEEreat Mon 14-Oct-13 11:39:24

So the family weaned 3 months earlier than advised and therefore the rest of us should be treated like morons?

Interesting take, OP.

threefeethighandrising Mon 14-Oct-13 11:41:00

Yes the child was three months old, but the advice from the NHS is - for all babies - ""You should also avoid giving your baby ready-made foods that are not made specifically for babies, such as breakfast cereals, because they can also be high in salt."

The advice in the mumsnet page could be misinterpreted to mean people give their children food which is harmful to them. Why not just tweak it so it better reflects the NHS advice?

ilovepowerhoop interesting about ready brek.

TEErickOrTEEreat Mon 14-Oct-13 11:43:06

Well, no, the actual advice from NHS is to wait to 6 months to start weaning.

So why would this particular family listen to a MN disclaimer when they haven't listened to others?

threefeethighandrising Mon 14-Oct-13 11:47:34

TEErickOrTEEreat did you mean to be so rude?

I'm not suggesting anyone is treated like a moron, just that the copy be tweaked to avoid misinterpretation.

I write web copy as part of my job, and it's important to make sure what we write isn't easily misinterpreted. If a user of one of our sites wrote in to make us aware of something like this. I'd be genuinely pleased to hear from them, and would consider making the change.

Just trying to be helpful, not have a go.

mrscog Mon 14-Oct-13 11:48:08

Ready Brek contains no salt. In fact it is one of the BEST first foods for a baby who is ready to wean as it's oat based (so not very allergenic) and fortified with nutrients.

Get your facts straight before linking to an article which is 14 years old and about a 3 month old who was given gravy.

TEErickOrTEEreat Mon 14-Oct-13 11:48:22

Yes. I did.

TEErickOrTEEreat Mon 14-Oct-13 11:49:44

Sorry, hit enter by mistake, stupid phone.

Yes. I did.

Because you are using a) an old article and b) misrepresenting it!

I also write web copy for a living, among other things, and people need to use their brains. Which that couple didn't !4 years ago.

mrscog Mon 14-Oct-13 11:49:47

Also babies of 6 months are much more ready to cope with the suggested allowance of 1g per day and given that they eat such tiny portions of everything it's unlikely to add up to that.

TEErickOrTEEreat Mon 14-Oct-13 11:50:33


Which is what that couple didn't do 14 years ago.

NoComet Mon 14-Oct-13 11:51:22

My apologies to Ready Brek, I should have googled it's ingredients.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 14-Oct-13 11:53:22

Agree with teerick

God knows if people are that stupid do you really think it wouldn't have been something else if it wasn't ready brek. Ready brek is absolutely fine for babies of 6m plus.

The baby was eating instant mash and gravy and ready brek gets the blame. Fgs.

NoComet Mon 14-Oct-13 12:01:06

Also DD1 is 15 and DD2 is 12, if my memory serves me correctly, the don't wean until six months advice was far more mainstream for DD2.

I think I weaned DD1 around 5 months, without thinking that early.

DD2 was weaned, on medical advice, at 5.5 months and that was earlier than was then suggested.

All of which is a waffly way of saying I think the six months research probably existed in the late '90s, but the big fuss was around 2000-2001. Far too late for the poor baby in that artical.

Picturesinthefirelight Mon 14-Oct-13 12:47:01

Assuming the case that occurred 12 years ago when dd was a baby this baby was fed 'smash' instant mash & gravy granules at a very young age.

Nothing wring with ready Brek (or we're rabid which I used though dd was a bit older due to the wheat.

Babies shouldn't be fed highly salted convenience foods but nothing wrong with ordinary stuff.

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