Karen Campbell

Karen Campbell

Karen Campbell is a Professor in the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University. Her work focuses on improving maternal and child health through achieving optimal nutrition.



  • Hi Jo, yes the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formulas (MAIF) Agreement is a voluntary code that limits the advertising of infant formulas. If you're interested to understand how this works out, the following information from the Australian Breastfeeding Association will be of interest. https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/who-code

  • Thanks Matthan for your insights about Liberia - very interesting.

  • what a great reason to be doing this course Hollie!

  • Joanne - which country are you in?

  • Interesting reflection Ebube. Thanks for your post.

  • Great to hear about two countries in one post - thanks Jamilya!

  • Thanks for your comment Maryam. Interesting that even when covered that breastfeeding is not encouraged.

  • Thanks Caroline - and amazing really that 'breastfeeding friendly' stickers aren't just the norm!

  • Andrea, a fascinating reflection - thanks for your contribution and keep on encouraging mums to feel well supported in their breastfeeding!

  • HI Christine, its really unfortunate that you've felt somehow punished for doing what you clearly felt was the right thing for you and your baby. I'm confident no-one feels this is a good outcome.
    I hope that you found our section on using infant formula effectively to be supportive at this important time.

  • Tessa, thanks for you input here. I think it's really important to acknowledge that at the individual level we all need to seek the best outcomes for the specific scenarios at hand and I can understand you've been disappointed by your own experiences. In a course like this we're considering the broader public health issues around breastfeeding in well...

  • Again a wonderfully rich discussion here around people's understanding of the benefits of breastfeeding and reflections on community support. I'm so excited to see we have learners from around the globe - Germany, Saudi Arabia, Romania, India, Australia, the UK, USA, Canada and many parts of Africa - and more. My summation here is that most people are aware...

  • Thanks to everyone for sharing the highs and lows of breastfeeding their babies. The discussions highlight that breastfeeding is not always as simple and straight forward as we may have expected. It also highlights for me the importance of supportive families, friends, health professionals and overall, the importance of our community seeing breastfeeding as...

  • Welcome to you all. I've been reading your comment this morning and it seems we share a passion for good health and good eating. I'm confident our course will answer most of your questions, providing evidence-based nutrition information and advice around feeding in the early years. For those of you with specific nutrition concerns, for example coeliac...

  • Thanks for answering Elizabeth. I agree rice can be rich in nutrients however the issue I think is around how diverse the child's diet is. Ideally baby rice cereal will be fortified with iron. I like your idea of adding fruit or other foods.

  • HI Alison, we recommend iron rich cereals in the early phases of infant feeding/weaning in part because it's easy to prepare and eat and we know it's a reliable source of this important and limited nutrient. As your baby's diet expands and they easily manage pureed meats or other sources of iron, the need for the fortified cereal reduces. Having said this, ...

  • Hi Heather, please see my advice to Angela above.

  • Hi Natalie - thanks for your generous comment. I'm delighted that you've enjoyed it and that you'd recommend it to your colleagues.

  • Hi Samara,
    this is an interesting question. I've noticed when we ask people doing this MOOC about what is culturally normal in their country when it comes to introducing solids, that it's almost always the case that a pureed, plain source of food(s) are offered. I'm reluctant to ignore that. I think however that by the age of one that offering mild curries...

  • Hi Angela,
    I think you'd enjoy any of Jill Rapley's books on the topic. If you want to access the science than she also has some papers. If you'd like to know more about the BLISS study you could search on Rachel Taylor and BLISS and you'll find a range of reports arising from that randomised controlled trial.
    In the meantime, you might like to go back to...

  • The aim of the Infant Nutrition course is to support all parents to feel well equipped to feed their child happily and healthfully. While some parents find they feel well equipped to understand what a nutritious diet looks like and how to achieve it, our experience tells us that many do not. The intention of having a section specifically discussing vegan...

  • Thanks to all of you for sharing your insights re first feeding in your own culture. I'm interested always to see that there is much continuity between countries - and of course many differences as well. The reference to pap (a fermented product) is very interesting in light of the increased interest in the role of fermented foods in promoting a healthy gut...

  • Excellent - my thanks

  • Yes Ashwini - my undestanding is that you'll now always have access to this course online. Our aim will be to continue to expand and improve the contents so good I guess to come back and check content later this year.

  • Hi Katie, I'm always reluctant to specify an amount as it will, as you'll understand, depend on what other foods are being consumed. If you've started to introduced pureed meats or other iron rich foods the cereal becomes progressively less important. I doubt too that the cereal will be causing constipation - possibly more likely to be the natural change in...

  • Thanks Meeka - great that you've picked up on the 'while breastfeeding' message. This is very strong in the allergy specialists messaging - that is - the beneficial effects of introducing all foods on prevention of allergy are maximised if done so under the 'umbrella of breastfeeding'.

  • Thanks Gemma - it is interesting that guidelines differ - and not surprising I guess. Suggests to me that health authorities craft messages to bring together the best evidence science provides us and the cultural values and expectations of their target audience. Would love to see a link to guidelines if you had time to send on.

  • Thanks Maria - so interesting to see how differently we do things across different cultures and countries.

  • Thanks for your thoughtful contribution Rouqayya. I absolutely agree with you.

  • Hi Kate - I encourage you not to feel confused but rather to choose from the approaches suggested, an approach that feels right to you - or of course to mix it up. I think it's very likely to be true that there is not one always best way to introduce solids. What's best for your baby will reflect what feels right to you.

  • Hi Shilpa - how fascinating and as Carly notes, how specific! Could you tell us which country/culture your talking about please?

  • Thanks for your comment Gabrielle - you raise an interesting point regarding social pressure. This can be both good and bad. In our own research we've found that when more than a quarter of the mums in a first time parent group had ceased breastfeeding when the group commenced (at around 6 weeks post partum) - women were around twice as likely to cease...

  • HI Holly - interesting isn't it! I suspect he is very attuned to your feelings and somehow understands that you're keen for him to eat. Again, I wonder if Baby Led Weaning would work well here. You provide the food and the environment and then let him decide if to eat and how much to eat. Much harder to play games in that scenario!

  • Hi Gill,
    thanks for sharing your story - sounds like hard work! I would encourage you to try to feed in the high chair or on a chair (if safe to do so) to set up an expectation that these things are associated with mealtime. It may simply be that your baby is not very hungry so pick your times well. I also wonder if he'd enjoy the Baby Led Weaning approach. ...

  • Thanks for your comments Ashleigh and Kathryn. Many people would agree that children who are not allowed to have certain foods will crave them. I think this all relates to tone. I think it makes sense to offer all foods on occasions - withholding or prohibiting them does seem likely to raise their profiles whereas offering them without comment, as part of...

  • Hi Veronica - thanks for sharing your story. Sounds like you've done all you can do to support your children to be 'good eaters'. I agree that not pressuring but still offering - regardless of whether it will be eaten or not - is a good approach. My guess is that if you continue to do that, your son may learn to include vegetables in his diet. This will be...

  • Hi Reyna, having some rules around eating - like we eat at the table, not running around; we sit together for x number of minutes (ie we don't sit watching you play with your food for long periods of time) - are sensible approaches. We do after all life lives dominated by expectations (rules?) so not surprising that these may be functional in the eating...

  • Thanks for posting Christie - seems similar approach but different because I'm thinking you won't have the punitive bit (you can't leave the table) while you will have the value-free consequence - that is, this is what's for our meal - there is nothing else. Do others remember being punished for not eating - or rewarded when they did eat with dessert perhaps?

  • Hi Rachel - love you comments here. Thanks for contributing.

  • Hi Alice and all, we would agree that porridge is a cheap, nutritious, excellent food for a growing family - however - given that many children's iron status is precarious at around six months of age, and that food intakes are small, iron fortified infant cereals can play a very important role in supporting a child's iron status. The need for such fortified...

  • Hi Gemma - thanks for commenting - you raise an interesting point. It is true that a high fibre diet can affect iron absorption but in the context of a diet where we are conscious of including high iron sources from the start of solids introduction, introducing higher fibre foods as alternatives to lower fibre options is appropriate. Fibre tends to be low in...

  • HI Myla, great to have your reflections of growing up in the Philippines. I like the sound of your family meals very much.

  • Hi Maria, thanks for your comment. Which country are you from?

  • HI Van - lovely to have your input to this discussion. Seems there is much similarity across our cultures.

  • HI Amanda, thanks for your comment. Breastmilk gradually moves from being the most important source of nutrition for your baby at 6 months of age, to being just one of the nutrient sources (a very valuable one) as they move closer to turning one. Here our advice is that breastmilk (or formula) should be offered before food until around 8 months, and then we...

  • Thanks for your post Hellene - the advice in Australia is to make this switch at around 8 months.

  • Lisa - could I encourage you to post your question in the last step of the MOOC - your questions answered please. It's an important question and I know many will be interested.

  • In Australia, data suggests the meats very frequently consumed by children are sausages and chicken nuggets. This is likely related to their softness and saltiness (ie children like them!), but as Ela notes above, the salt content - and the saturated fat content of these meats is high - and relatively, their iron contents are low. In all, not a good choice for...

  • While the original reviews were undertaken in 2012, the infant feeding guidelines were revisited in 2016 in light of the increased interest in allergy prevention. As you'll see in the guidelines released from the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy...

  • Hi Meeka, thanks for your numerous additions to our discussions - great to see. We're working hard to keep up - but with more than 9000 comments thus far - it's not easy! Regarding the Australian guidelines for the introduction of solids. We lean on our Australian Infant Feeding Guidelines because they have been produced by a strong team of academics with...

  • Thanks for your comment Zainab - interested to know which country you're from. I agree that other people's perceptions of how much salt is enough can be tricky - but as another reader has noted, ideally we'd all have the option to add salt at the table if we wanted it rather than have our food pre-salted.

  • Hi Alice and thanks for posting. Here in Australia we do have a Food Standards Code that sets rules around how much sodium can be added to foods marketed for babies and toddlers. I'm interested to hear from others regarding food standards in other countries also.

  • Hi Holly - thanks for your post. You'll notice that Dr Grimes talks about looking out for lower sodium cheeses in her video rather than necessarily cutting cheese out of their diets all together.

  • Hi Michelle, agree we need to address salt on many levels! Reducing salt in the food supply is another example of a very effective way to reduce everyone's sodium intakes without people even being aware. This has in the past been well done in the UK.

  • Thanks for your comments Alisha and Michelle. We'd agree that an emphasis on providing foods that the family enjoys is a sensible way to go. Perhaps with the exception of fortified infant cereal - there's no need for special baby foods which add unnecessarily to the complexity and cost of feeding babies. Having said this you'll be interested to see Dr...

  • Sounds like you're having fun Elizabeth! Thanks for your post.

  • HI Barbara, thanks for joining our discussion.
    You'll be interested in step 2.4 where we discuss the pros and cons of offering blended versus individual foods, and also the practice of offering less sweet vegetables first.

  • Thanks Zainab - I'd love to know which country you're from - helps to provide context. I'm particularly interested to hear more about the herbal drinks - what kind of herbs and by cramps - do you mean stomach cramps and crying?

  • Thanks Myla - as we discuss in week 2 - meat and other iron rich foods are considered to be very important first foods.

  • Hi Sanowber - thanks for posting. Which country are you talking about here?

  • Hi Jesse - interested to know where you are getting your information from? Thanks for contributing!

  • Renae - you only complete things you'd like to be involved in:) No compulsion - the activities are meant to aid your engagement and learning. I'm loving the padlet page - so many posts from so many countries! Perhaps that's why its so messy!

  • Thanks Nhu - is your country Vietnam? I'm very interested to hear more - is the rice porridge home made? What's the 'recipe' - perhaps just ground up with milk?

  • Hi Jessica - sounds similar to Australia although perhaps a stronger emphasis here on holding off to six months.

  • Thanks to all of you for your comments in this busy part of the MOOC.
    Many of you have had advice regarding when to introduce solids, and it seems that many of you have been advised that it's good to introduce foods from four months of age to prevent allergy. Guidelines regarding avoiding allergy in at risk infants (e.g. from families where there is a...