There has been considerable debate over the optimum age of introduction of solid foods in infants and particularly its association with nutrient and iron adequacy for growth and development as well as its impact on eating behaviours, such as feeding difficulties, dietary variety and food preferences. Since infants and toddlers are at a higher risk of developing iron deficiency anaemia, a non-invasive method of measuring haemoglobin could be a useful tool in identifying low haemoglobin levels early and prevent further deterioration of iron status. Since the adoption of the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations for exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, there has been limited data in the UK about how the new guidelines have affected the growth, eating behaviours, dietary intake and iron status. This thesis aimed to address these gaps in the literature in 3 studies: the Brighton’s Breast-fed Babies Study, the Haemospect® Validation Study and the GO-CHILD Study.
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