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HENRY is an eight-week course supporting families with young children to develop healthy lifestyles. The course is also offered on a one-to-one basis for families that may struggle to attend fixed sessions. One single mum, Tasmida, 23, has really benefited from this approach, with Better Start Bradford’s Sally Teasdale delivering HENRY in Tasmida’s home.

Tasmida’s story

I was very worried about my one year old son, Sohail, as he was not eating solids and did not want to eat food. He would only drink milk from a bottle or eat baby rice. No matter what foods I tried with him, he would refuse and get upset, which in turn was very upsetting and stressful for me. It was as if he didn’t like food at all. I voiced my concerns to the health visitor and they recommended the HENRY course to me. HENRY sounded ideal. Not only did I like the idea of helping Sohail eat more foods, but I also welcomed advice around healthy activities and routine. I decided to choose the HENRY 1-1 approach because as a single mum, I struggle with childcare and at the time I felt it would be more beneficial for the course to take place in my home. Sally, who delivered the course, was so nice and understanding and explained everything to me in a way that was easy to understand. I also loved the bag of educational goodies you get when you do the HENRY course, which included a video, books for reading, and a ball among many other things.

Sally made everything seem so easy

My son is nearly two and is unable to speak yet and can be very apprehensive around strangers, but it only took him a couple of sessions to get used to Sally and be comfortable in her company – she just made everything feel so easy. I remember watching a video Sally showed me about how babies eat and that their stomach is only the size of their clenched fist - this really surprised me as I thought he should be eating a lot more than that. Because I didn’t think Sohail was getting enough nutrition through his milk, I had also been giving my son a milk supplement with cereal in it. I didn’t realise how much sugar was in it and how damaging this was for his teeth. Sally also emphasised the importance of good oral health and dental care through the programme.

Sally taught me to be more relaxed with the foods that I gave Sohail

Sally taught me to be more relaxed with the foods that I gave Sohail and not to try and force him to eat. She also taught me to look for signals where my son was showing that he was hungry, or to try  when he was more alert, rather than when he was tired. I started to feed him when he wanted rather than when I thought was right. Eventually he started to try different types of food. Sohail still does enjoy his milk; however, he now drinks from a sippy cup rather than a bottle, which is better for his teeth. He eats fruit, especially bananas and grapes. He even tried and enjoyed fish the other day. The new techniques and approach to my son’s eating have made life much easier and I am much less stressed these days.