Baby led weaning
Have any of you tried baby led weaning? For those of you that haven’t or don’t really know what it is, baby led weaning is where the baby is encouraged to feed themselves a variety of solid ‘finger’ foods from the start, and it has attracted a lot of attention in the last year or so. For those that have tried this new approach to weaning, how was it?
Although some parents swear by it and I can see why some parents might be attracted to it, it does tend to take more time and create more mess which won’t suit a
ll parents and babies. Also, from my point of view the lack of research into baby led weaning is a concern, particularly if parents’ nutritional knowledge is limited or if baby is relatively developmentally delayed. So the advice I give, and the Department of Health’s official advice, still focuses on a more conventional approach to weaning using spoon feeding and purees at the start.
Of course, finger foods should be included in traditional weaning from around 6-8 months anyway to encourage babies to chew and to feed themselves. This helps with speech development and overall progress of babies towards family-type meals. Offering a selection of nutritious finger foods really encourages independence and will suit some babies who tend to be more ‘picky’ about what they eat. But remember, always stay with your baby and make sure they are sitting up straight while they’re eating.
Read our suggestions for finger foods to offer your baby.
Have a good week! - Helen
Getting enough iron in baby's diet
Did you know that the iron stores
babies are born with are often depleted by around 6 months of age? Unless the diet contains enough iron to replenish these stores babies and young children will be at risk of becoming iron deficient? Anaemia (iron deficiency) is particularly a problem when weaning onto a mixed diet is delayed and large volumes of milk continue to be given at 8 months of age and beyond. Formula fed babies are likely to have their iron stores better preserved than breastfed babies, with the problem arising with babies receiving 6 or more breastfeeds per day or cow’s milk instead of formula as their main milk drink.
Too much milk and iron deficiency levels in babies
For all babies, a variety of iron-containing weaning foods should be introduced from the age of 6 months to safeguard against iron deficiency. Meat and poultry-containing weaning foods can in fact be given from the start of weaning (before 6 months if babies are starting between 4-6 months), although often parents will choose to give cereal and fruit/vegetable based foods first. The iron found in meat, poultry and fish (known as ‘haem iron’) is better absorbed than the iron found in fortified cereals, vegetables, beans and pulses, so it makes sense to introduce these haem iron-rich foods as soon as possible. To help with the absorption of the ‘non haem iron’ found in these other foods it is important to serve foods containing vitamin C at the s
ame meal. Alternatively, there are a selection of manufactured baby foods like HiPP Organic foods containing meat or poultry that can be used at different stages of weaning to boost iron intakes. Have you got any good weaning recipes containing meat or poultry that you would like to share? We’d love to hear from you!
Bye for now! - Helen
Tags: HiPP Organic, baby, born, iron, eating, recipe, weaning, food, nutrition, Helen
Categories: About Hipp Organic, Baby development, Milk feeding, Weaning
How much fruit and veg should baby eat a day?
I often get asked “how much fruit and veg should my baby be having a day?” For adults and older children the message is pretty clear and can be seen everywhere – on supermarket shelves, food labels, TV and magazine adverts, healthy eating literature, websites (see below) – eat 5 portions a day, each portion being 80g.
Visit the NHS website - 5 a day
Although fruits and vegetables are staple foods during weaning and it’s hard to imagine most babies not getting enough, as yet health departments in the UK haven’t quantified the recommended fruit and veg intakes for babies and so parents often don’t know whether their little ones are getting enough.
Fruit and veg are full of lots of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fibre, and to make sure your baby benefits from the full array of nutrients these foods have to offer it makes good sense to include lots of different types - a mix of green vegetables (e.g. broccoli, cabbage, green beans), yellow or orange vegetables (e.g. carrots, squash, swede, sweet potato), and fruits (e.g. apricots, mangoes, bananas, peaches). Include some fruit and veg at every meal if possible, and aim for 5 servings a day, but don’t worry if some days, especially at the start of weaning, this is less.
With regards to portion sizes for babies, official advice only says that the amount is smaller than the adult recommendation of 80g, but how much smaller? The Caroline Walker Trust has recently published advice on portion sizes for toddlers aged 1-4 years and they quote 40g fruit/veg as a portion. They are publishing advice on infant portion sizes later in the year but until this is available, my thinking is that 30-35g makes a sensible portion size. This equates to approximately half a small pear, apple, banana or peach; one small plum; one small carrot or parsnip; 3 cauliflower florets; 1 tablespoon peas. Most HiPP Organic baby foods contain 1-2 fruit or veg portions per jar or pot, so they can really help boost fruit and veg intakes.
Let me know whether you think your baby is getting enough.......
Best wishes - Helen
National Organic Fortnight - 4 reasons why organic is better
As well as having to judge when’s the right
age to start weaning, another issue that parents often ponder over is whether choosing organic is that important or not when deciding which foods to feed their babies. You’re probably thinking ‘this is the HiPP Organic website, they’re bound to say organic is best’, but I really think that it is, and here are four main reasons for this:
- Babies are more vulnerable to the effects of unwanted chemicals found in non-organic foods and will benefit from weaning foods containing no GM ingredients or harmful pesticides
- Organic food is food as nature intended, and I think it often tastes better
- Organic foods are often higher in essential nutrients e.g. vitamin C and antioxidant
- Organic foods are better for wildlife, animal welfare and the environment (see the following link to the Soil Association: http://bit.ly/bGHVnw)
Of course, a lot of mums I speak to don’t exclusively use HiPP organic baby foods for weaning their babies and I always suggest that parents offer a variety of different foods and lots of different tastes and textures when weaning. Home cooking is something I encourage too as it helps to get your baby used to the foods that you eat as a family (and although it may seem difficult to imagine at the start of weaning, this is probably where you want your baby to end up!).
To help you, we have a great selection of home-made recipes to try with your weaning baby, or have a go on our meal planner which gives home-cooked alternatives to try, as well as a HiPP products.
And of course, try and use organic ingredients when you can!
Bye for now! - Helen
When is best to start weaning?
I’ve just come off a call from a really confused mum. Her son has been showing lots of signs that he is probably ready to start solids, but he’s only 19 weeks old and she had read that she should wait till he was 6 months before giving him any foods. She wanted to know if she could start with some foods now as he really doesn’t seem content with just his milk feeds anymore.
I get asked this sort of question on a very regular basis and of course there isn’t a standard answer that applies to every baby. Although the Department of Health recommendation is that weaning should start at around 6 months, some babies might be ready earlier than this. One purpose of weaning onto solids is to provide extra energy and nutrients when milk doesn’t supply enough to sustain normal growth and optimal health and development any more. If there are signs that a baby is hungry between milk feeds or is demanding milk feeds more often, they may well be ready for solids, and in fact to delay the introduction of solids might actually compromise their optimal growth and development. In this particular case, I suggested to mum that she could start offering some baby rice mixed with some of his usual milk at one mealtime a day for a few days and then take it from there. There’s lots of advice on weaning on the links below -
Or download our handy guide to the first four weeks of weaning
Of course, it’s important to remember that weaning shouldn’t start too early (not before 17 weeks/4 months), and equally, delaying weaning beyond 6 months of age isn’t recommended either as it can increase the risk of nutrient and energy deficiencies, such as iron deficiency anaemia and rickets.
Are you unsure if your baby’s ready for weaning, when did you start weaning, what do you think about current weaning recommendations?.......We’d love to know.
Best wishes - Helen