HiPP Organic

HiPP's Baby & Nutrition Blog

Fussy Eating in babies and toddlers

Posted on 25 May 2011 by Helen

Hi Everyone.

Refusing to eat certain foods can mean different things for different babies at different times. It may just be their way of getting your attention. It may just be that they don’t like the taste or texture of a particular food at a particular time, but this doesn’t mean they will always refuse the same food. For some foods you may need to offer it more than ten times before they’ll happily eat it. My daughter refused peas for years, I even resorted to hiding them in her mashed potato to try and get her to eat them (although of course she always found them!), but now she loves them!

How many of you are having to deal with your baby being fussy about the food at the moment? It can be exasperating having the foods you’ve lovingly prepared for your little one being refused, but you can be sure you’re not alone. Particularly for toddlers, food refusal is all part of them wanting to exert their new-found independence on the world around them! It is a normal phase that many of them go through and you shouldn’t worry too much.

However, there are a few things you can do to help during this phase:

  • Stay relaxed, don’t rush mealtimes, be patient
  • Eat with your baby whenever possible
  • Offer mainly familiar foods, but try new foods in small quantities too
  • As they get older, let your toddler be involved with shopping and preparing meals so they feel more in control
  • If a food is refused, don’t force them to eat it.  Withdraw it without any fuss, and then try it again another time. 
  • Praise your child when they have completed a meal, but don’t scold them when they don’t. 

For more advice on feeding a fussy eater, have a look at our expert advice on hipp.co.uk

Good luck!
Helen

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Introducing toddlers to family meals

Posted on 12 May 2011 by Helen

Hi Everyone.

Sorry, it’s been a while since I was last in touch – must be something to do with all the Bank Holidays we’ve had recently!

For those of you whose little ones have already reached the toddler stage, you’ve probably already read about the importance of healthy eating for your toddler and the influence their eating habits now can have on their future health.  No doubt you’re trying to make sure your toddler has a healthy eating routine and you’re offering a good variety of nutrient-dense foods to make sure they meet all their nutritional requirements.  At this stage, you should be able to offer your toddler many meals that are being eaten by the rest of the family, maybe just chopped up a bit if necessary, but this isn’t always the case.  Just when you think life might start getting a bit easier now that you don’t have to prepare meals especially for your baby, fussy eating might be getting in the way! Look out for my next blog for some hints and tips on handling fussy eating.

When planning your family’s meals, there are a few important things you should remember about a toddler’s dietary needs that might influence the foods they can eat and any adaptations you might want to make to family meals –

  • Energy needs are high as toddlers become more active, but they still have relatively small tummies and appetites can be small
  • Toddlers like routine, so work out when they can eat 3 meals and 2-3 snacks each day, planned around their sleeping time
  • Toddlers need more fat and less fibre than older children and adults – use some butter or fat in cooking, use a mixture of white and wholegrain cereals, occasionally offer cakes and biscuits not just fruit for pudding
  • Combine foods from all five food groups in your toddler’s diet – fruits and veg; starchy foods e.g. pasta, potatoes, cereals, bread; meat, fish and alternative protein sources; milk and dairy foods; foods and drinks containing fats and sugars (use in moderation)
  • Make mealtimes enjoyable and eat together as a family whenever possible

You might also want to click on the following links as they contain a lot more useful information:

http://www.nhs.uk/Planners/birthtofive/Pages/Solidsthenextsteps.aspx
http://www.hipp.co.uk/expert-advice/9-plus-months-and-toddlers/feeding-your-toddler

Looking forward to next time!
Helen

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Introducing toddlers to cows’ milk

Posted on 11 April 2011 by Helen

Hi everyone!

At 1 year of age, although they need less of it, milk is still an important part of a toddler’s diet and provides them with valuable protein, energy, vitamins and minerals such as calcium. They should be getting about ½-¾ pint (about 300-400 ml) each day. You shouldn’t let them drink much more than this as it reduces the appetite for other valuable foods.

Toddlers are often switched from formula milk feeds to whole cows’ milk at the age of one. But is this the best thing to do or are there any benefits in sticking with formula milk instead? Cows’ milk can give your toddler lots of the nutrients that he or she needs, but one thing it lacks that is found in much higher amounts in formula milks is iron.

Toddlers are particularly susceptible to iron deficiency. It is estimated that 1 in 8 toddlers in the UK may be anaemic, with the problem being even greater than this in some groups. Babies are born with enough iron stores to last until about 6 months of age and after this they rely on food sources, but some toddlers may not eat enough of these iron-containing foods to meet their needs. Fussy eating during toddlerhood can certainly make the situation worse.

If your toddler is a fussy eater or their intake of iron-containing foods such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, lentils and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals is limited, then they could very well benefit from the continued use of a formula milk such as a Growing up Milk after 1 year. These Growing up Milks usually contain 40 times more iron than whole cows’ milk. But this doesn’t mean that you can stop encouraging them to eat these other foods; variety is key to a healthier diet for your growing child.

Remember, if you are giving your toddler cows’ milk, don’t switch to semi-skimmed milk until they are at least two years old and only do this if they are a good eater and have a varied diet. Skimmed milk should not be given to children under five years old as it is too low in fat and energy.

Have a look at the HiPP Baby Club for more advice on milk and other drinks at this age.

Bye for now,
Helen

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Night-time milk feeds

Posted on 22 March 2011 by Helen

Hi Everyone!

I've just come off a call from the mother of a 11 month old baby who keeps waking up at night wanting milk. She wanted to know what she should do.

The first thing I did was to reassure her that this is quite a common problem and she's not alone. Babies often wake up a number of times throughout the night. Their crying might make you think they are hungry and needing a feed, but most babies don't need night time feeds after the age of about 6-8 months from a nutritional point of view. They should be getting enough energy and nutrition from their milk and foods during their day to meet their requirements.

The aim is to get them to fall back to sleep again without needing the cue of being fed first. Although it may seem much easier to feed them than trying to work out another way of settling them (especially if they are breastfed), feeding your baby during the night won't help them sleep better; in fact, it may prolong the problem and make it worse.

When they wake during the night, you should make sure they are comfortable and then try to settle them in a way that suits you and your baby. There are various things you might want to try –

  • Make sure you have a consistent bedtime routine and stick to it whenever possible. If your baby wakes at night, try to be consistent at these times too
  • If your baby wakes up at night, give them a few minutes to settle themselves before going to them. If they keep crying, talk to and comfort them, but don't pick them up, take them to your bed, or feed them. If absolutely necessary, offer a drink of water, not milk.
  • Let them find their own way back to sleep using self-comforting techniques such as thumb sucking, cuddling a soft toy or comfort blanket.

I know it probably sounds easier said than done, but it usually works if you stick with it. You can find more advice and tips on helping your baby get a good night's sleep on the HiPP Baby Club.

Until next time...

Helen

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Dairy for babies

Posted on 4 March 2011 by Helen

Hi Everyone,

Recently I have been asked by confused mums why, even though their health visitor has told them to avoid giving dairy products until baby is at least 6 months, there are baby food jars labelled as suitable from 4 months when they contain cow’s milk and cheese. Also, if cow’s milk isn’t suitable as a drink until a year of age, is it really safe for inclusion in weaning foods anyway?

Of course, weaning shouldn’t be started until baby is ready for solids, usually around 6 months and definitely not before 4 months of age. If baby is ready at 4 months, however, cow’s milk and other dairy products such as small amounts of cheese, yogurt, fromage frais and milk-based dishes can be used in weaning foods from the start and there is no reason to suggest otherwise. The foods that you should avoid giving before 6 months are shown at the link below:

http://www.nhs.uk/Planners/birthtofive/Pages/Weaningfirststeps.aspx

Previously, concerns about including these ingredients in weaning foods were based on their potential to cause allergic reactions. However, recent statements by the British Dietetic Association Paediatric Group and other specialists in Europe and the United States have highlighted that current evidence indicates that there is in fact no need to delay the introduction of certain potentially allergenic foods e.g. milk, cheese, yogurts, egg, fish, wheat, gluten, until a certain age as doing so will not reduce the likelihood of allergies developing.

Remember that cow’s milk shouldn’t be given as baby’s main drink until 1 year of age as it doesn’t contain enough iron and other nutrients to meet baby’s needs. Breast milk or an infant or follow on formula should be given up until this age. Toddlers can be introduced to cow’s milk from year as they should be able to get enough iron from other foods in the diet, but if you are concerned about their intake of iron from foods then continued use of formula or introduction of a Growing up Milk can be very reassuring.

Bye for now.
Helen

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