Dr. Gill Rapley
Gill trained as a nurse and health visitor (similar to a public health nurse) in the mid-1970s and practised as a health visitor for around 20 years. She branched off briefly in the late 1980s to train and practise as a midwife, subsequently returning to health visiting. Her abiding areas of interest are breastfeeding and the introduction of solid foods.
Gill became a voluntary breastfeeding counsellor in 1986 and qualified as a lactation consultant in 1994. From 1996 to 2010 she worked for the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative, throughout which she pursued her interest in the introduction of solid foods in her spare time.
For her Master’s degree in 2001/2, Gill undertook a small piece of research, which showed that babies of six months could feed themselves with solid foods, rather than needing to be spoon fed. She subsequently pioneered the approach known as baby-led weaning (BLW) – not inventing it, but giving it a name.