HEALTH MATTERS: Baby Arla helps turn starting solids into child’s play

By Lucy Ashton

A baby has become an internet star after her fantastic performance in films aimed at helping parents as their wee ones move from milk to solid foods.

Arla Murray was six months old when she was involved in filming a range of video clips as part of a project led by a staff at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. The project aims to ensure families can access reliable, evidenced-based information when the time comes to help move their babies to solid foods.

Now the video clips have been seen not only in Scotland, but as far afield as the US and New Zealand with Arla’s transition on to solid food playing a starring role.

Arla’s mum, Nicola Murray, 31, a support assistant in a primary school, says that knowing when to make the move to solids can be a minefield for parents. She said: “When it comes to weaning, everybody has a different idea of what’s best and there’s lots of conflicting information on the Internet, so it can be really confusing.

“You are terrified in case she chokes on something and that’s natural, but I’m pleased to say that she took to solids really well and there were no scary moments – but it’s hard if you don’t know where to go and you’re on your own and there’s no-one to show you what to do.”

Nicola used to work with the community dietetic team in North Glasgow and was approached by her former colleague to take part in this exciting project.

She added: “Filming the videos was really good fun. A lot of the food we hadn’t fed Arla before, so it was quite entertaining, but she was brilliant. The videos were fantastic, there was information I didn’t know, but it was also really reassuring to have all that information in the one place. I’ve already shared it with my friends and they have really appreciated it.”

Dominika Bugajska, a community nutritionist at NHSGGC who has been leading the project, said: “Before COVID, parents and carers were offered face-to-face interactive information sessions called Starting Solids events or Weaning Fayres, to help them prepare for introducing solid foods to their baby when they are around 6 months of age. However, with lockdown, sessions had to be put on hold forcing the team to look at ways they could provide this information to families remotely.”

Therevamped NHSGGC Starting Solids web page and the videos provide loads of useful information, including:

  • Nutrition advice presented by Rachel Green, one of the community dietitians.
  • Practical nutrition advice and easy cook-along video recipes that parents can try for themselves, with the help of our community chef – Sandra Johnston.
  • An oral health film by Fiona Hughes, one of the Health Improvement Practitioners.
  • A series of fun Tik Tok-style recipe videos that families can follow easily.

Nicola has one final message for anyone who might be worried about introducing solids to their baby. She added: “Don’t sit there stuck and panicked and stressed – there is support out there, just make sure you get it from somewhere you trust.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Dominika. She concludes: “Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it might seem and we have all the up to date information you need, right here, in one place. Check out our Starting Solids page for more information and to see Arla and the films for yourself.”

The web resource and films can be accessed here: https://www.nhsggc.org.uk/startingsolids

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