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September 2015

Welcome to the First Steps Nutrition Trust September newsletter


Thomas enjoying his very first solids after 6 months exclusive breastfeeding

This month our new practical resource, Eating well: the first year: A guide to complementary feeding and eating well up to baby's first birthday will be stepping out into the world. We highlight new NICE Quality Standards on Maternal and Child Nutrition and outline how our resources support many of these key recommendations. We have also been collecting data on what is happening nationally with the Healthy Start welfare food scheme and hope to encourage everyone to link to the Healthy Start Alliance and to find out, and tell us, how the scheme is working in your local area.

Pauline Styles who expertly and efficiently manages our publication distribution has a new website and is now distributing resources for a number of complementary charities and organisations, including the British Dietetic Association Paediatric Group, HENRY and Weight Concern.

Anyone interested in ordering resources, or who themselves may be looking for an independent (and ethical!) distributor can contact Pauline via her website.

There is also an important  ‘Save the date’ for your diaries if you manage to read to the end!

Infant Milk News

Infant milks in the UK
A practical guide for health professionals

Infant Milks in the UK - May 2015

This version is now available to buy as a hard copy 'master' version that can be kept up-to-date.

You can see the options for creating your own resource at


Specialised infant milks in the UK: Infants 0-6 months A practical guide for health professionals
Specialised Infant Milks in the UK: 0-6 months. A guide for health professionals Thank you to everyone who has sent us useful comments on this resource. We will be working our way through them and hope to have a final ‘first’ version in time for the UNICEF Baby Friendly conference later this year.

deadline dateIf you have any comments then you can download the current pdf by clicking on the cover, and make comments directly on to the pdf.

Please send them to:

Eating well: the first year
A guide to complementary feeding and eating well up to baby's first birthday
Eating well: the first year Our ‘new baby' has had its final edits after going out to review. 

The download draft previously available for this report is being replaced by a new final version as a few minor errors have been spotted.

An alert will be sent round when this is available.


This comprehensive full colour resource (127pp) offers practical support on introducing solid food and progressing through a range of tastes and textures in the second 6 months of life, as well as offering support on ‘how to’ help families with the whole process safely and cost-effectively.

All the recipes were tested by the First Steps team, and eaten by us, and the resource has been reviewed by policy experts, health professionals, early years experts and families.

Inside Eating well: the first year

Pre-orders of hard copies can be made at As with most of our publications we make some copies available at cost price plus p&p, and we can organise bigger print runs, or ‘local’ versions if these are useful.

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NICE - National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

NICE Quality Standard (QS98) Improving maternal and child nutrition

This new set of Quality Statements to promote better maternal and child nutrition was published this summer.  Helen Crawley from First Steps Nutrition Trust (along with Bridget Halnan representing Health Visiting and Val Finnigan representing midwifery) acted as the topic experts for these priority standards. The list of quality statements is below – and as you can see – many of the resources and information we provide at First Steps Nutrition has been designed to support these key areas, which were highlighted in the NICE public health guidance on maternal and child nutrition.
Statement 1.
Pregnant women attending antenatal and health visitor appointments are given advice on how to eat healthily in pregnancy.
Eating well for a healthy pregnancy Eating well in pregnancy: A practical guide to support teenagers
Statement 2.
Women with a BMI of 30 or more after childbirth are offered a structured weight‑loss programme.
Eating well for new mums: Including information for breastfeeding mothers
Statement 3.
Pregnant women and the parents and carers of children under 4 years who may be eligible for the Healthy Start scheme are given information and support to apply.
Statement 4.
Women receive breastfeeding support from a service that uses an evaluated, structured programme.
Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative
Statement 5.
Parents and carers are given advice on introducing their baby to a variety of nutritious foods to complement breastmilk or formula milk.
Breastmilk and breastfeeding
Statement 6.
Parents and carers receiving Healthy Start food vouchers are offered advice on how to use them to increase the amount of fruit and vegetables in their family's diet
Eating well recipes book
You can find out more about the evidence base for these statements and how they are designed to meet public health and NHS outcome frameworks here:

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Healthy Start Alliance

Healthy Start Alliance logo

Healthy Start is the UK wide welfare food scheme, and First Steps Nutrition Trust set up the Healthy Start Alliance with the charity Food Matters last year as we were concerned that this important benefit for vulnerable families was declining and may be at risk under proposed changes to benefits.
The Healthy Start Alliance is an association of organisations and individuals  that all feel we need to shout a bit louder about the importance of maintaining and expanding the Healthy Start scheme. We have recently set up a newsletter to highlight some of the work we are doing and have been gathering useful information that we hope to share as a toolkit of good practice in due course. Please send us any information about what is going in your area to support the scheme so we can share it with a wider audience.
Did you know?

An average of 480,000 beneficiaries were eligible for Healthy Start vouchers in 2014/15, compared to an average of 534,782 in 2013/2014.

The spend on Healthy Start food vouchers was £82.2 million in 2014/15, compared to £92 million in 2013/2014 – and around £140 million in 2006.

Sustain logo

Food poverty imageWe have also been working with Sustain and their London Food Poverty Campaign to look at Healthy Start work across the 32 London Boroughs.

Their London Food Poverty report will be launched on October 21st in City Hall and will look at 7 key indicators that boroughs may be involved in which can support low income families.

You can find out more about this project here:

Support the Healthy Start Alliance by signing up to the newsletter on the website and sending us any information, ideas and stories you come across which will help us build our toolkit and campaign. 

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What work have we got in the pipeline?

We are currently working on a number of projects:

Baby food jars and pouches unpacked

SAVETHEDATEWe have reviewed the content of wet baby foods sold by the four biggest companies in the UK and have found out a bit more about them, the claims made, and how companies decide on their composition and naming.

We are currently compiling our report, comparing commercial foods with homemade versions as well as pulling together evidence on the actual composition of processed commercial foods.

Scientific and factual? A review of infant milk advertisements in the health professional literature

Without any mechanism to argue with the content of adverts provided to health professionals we hope to show some examples of why everyone should view them as ‘marketing’ rather than ‘scientific and factual’ information and encourage practitioners to refuse information given to them in this way but to request the information they need directly.
Baby Teeth Matter
babyfoodjars We are also preparing a resource on oral health in the early years. We will be pulling together relevant information on how to protect teeth as well as ideas for snacks that support good oral health in our youngest children. We will be thinking up a good name for this over the next couple of weeks so if you have any suggestions do send them in!

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First Steps Nutrition Trust will be at Babble live! - the NCT annual conference in Coventry, Saturday 26th September
Kin 2015
And at the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly conference in Harrogate, November 18th and 19th.

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baby teethSAVE THE DATE

Best Foot Forward: Working in partnership to improve nutrition pre-conception to five

First Steps Nutrition Trust
will be having a 5th Birthday Conference on ...

Wednesday 20th April 2016

The event will be held in central London and details will be on the website soon. The aim of this 1 day event will be to provide an important update and call to action to midwives, health visitors, infant feeding co-ordinators, dietitians, public health nutritionists, early years staff and others working to promote better nutrition and health for families.


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First Steps Nutrition Trust offers information and resources to support good nutrition from pre-conception to 5 years.
Our aim is to produce clear and independent resources to support people who want to know more about eating well before and during pregnancy, eating well for infants and young children, and food composition and food quality.

First Steps Nutrition Trust takes no industry funding. We are funded through charitable trusts and donations. We aim to provide a one-stop shop for useful and accurate evidence-based information on good nutrition from pre-conception to five years.
First Steps mother and baby
First Step Nutrition Trust's newsletter is published regularly to promote information and awareness of the importance of good nutrition from pre-conception to 5 years and to highlight the work of the Trust.
Registered Charity No: 114640