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According to Paul Furlong, managing director of Medela UK, it is worth bearing in mind that breastfeeding can take some time to establish. “If retailers understand this,

they can be sympathetic and know exactly which products to suggest. There are products to support at all stages but knowing a few basics will help the customer trust and respect your advice.” Now, more than ever, mums are looking for products that mimic natural feeding processes and allow a smooth transition from breast to bottle and back again (also known as combi-feeding), allowing them to breastfeed for longer. One of the most common problems

with combi-feeding occurs when the baby gets confused between breast and bottle and rejects one or the other. Most experts agree that breastfed babies have to work harder for their feed than if they are bottle-fed, and so ‘natural’ bottles, which mimic the breastfeeding process, are likely to reduce the chance of confusion. Robert Kendrick of Mumijumi explained: “Allowing the baby to switch from breast to bottle and back again with no fuss or confusion leads to a hassle-free feeding solution. Mum can take a break and then continue breastfeeding when she is ready – a bottle that the baby uses in the same way as the breast just makes sense.” Uniquely, Mumijumi bottles replicate

the touch, feel and latching action of the breast so the baby is able to easily transition between the two methods of feeding with no nipple confusion. “Our bottles allow babies to feed at the rate that is most appropriate for them,” said Robert. “So they can work harder if they are hungry or


Innovative feeding accessories from Boon combine practical solutions with great design.

As Tomy’s senior marketing manager Tomy, Janice Cleary is well aware of the innovative feeding accessories which have been bought onto the market to help make parents’ lives easier. “Parents need products that they can rely on and that will do the job without a fuss – and if they can perform more than one function, even better! The Boon Squirt is a feeding spoon and container in one, perfect for taking out and about.”


Above: Babycup promotes learning, independence, co-ordination, social skills, jaw development and dental health. Below: The ClevaFeed is ideal for first stage weaning and allows parents to introduce their children to solids safely.

just graze if they are not, just as they would if they were breastfeeding.” The rate at which babies feed is something which Haberman Products has also been looking at in some detail, said clinical psychologist Dr. Barbara Pearlman. She explained that with bottles, the tummy often fills up before the brain has time to register that the baby is satiated, leading to

Healthcare professionals are increasingly calling for a more ‘natural’ approach to feeding, and that includes drinking from an open cup. Gill Rapley, co- author of the best-selling book ‘Baby-led Weaning: Helping your child to love good food’, said: “From six months babies can sit up, hold things to their mouth, bite, chew – and yes, sip from a cup.” In an article on toddler diets and oral health, the British Dental Health Foundation said that drinks should be sipped from a cup rather than sucked from spouts or no-spill valves.

overfeeding. “The message from the stomach being full to the brain takes 20 minutes. A baby that suckles longer because it is working hard for a feed has time to say: ‘yes I’m full’.” Haberman has developed an infant

feeder (launching September 2013) that also supports combi-feeding by allowing the baby to feed at its own pace. The milk is delivered by suckling on the teat rather than simply flowing under gravity as is the case with traditional, vented bottles. As the industry looks to more natural, baby-led ways of feeding, reassuring parents and helping calm anxieties and nerves is a great service to offer customers. At six months old milk is still a baby’s main source of nutrition, so while weaning is important, parents shouldn’t be anxious if their child doesn’t take a set amount straight away. “Many parents are discovering the benefits of letting their children feed themselves,” explained Moya Carr from Clevamama. “Baby-led weaning is becoming the norm and new innovative designs are emerging to make things easier for parents. We have seen a lot of weaning products being introduced over the last few years, and hand-held feeders – like the ClevaFeed – have become increasingly popular.” Babies are born with the ability

to self-regulate their food intake, and professionals are becoming increasingly focused on the fact that overriding these natural feeding patterns may shape the child’s future appetite. Retail staff can play an important role in helping parents and carers make informed choices when choosing feeding accessories.


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