My baby is constipated, what should I do?
I’m often asked for advice about bowel habits! One of the occupational hazards of being a nutritionist/dietitian I guess. If a parent comes to me saying that their baby is not passing frequent stools and the stools are hard, often pellet-like, and baby appears to be in some pain, it’s likely they are constipated. Constipation is most common in bottle fed babies (in which case I always check that the formula is being prepared correctly), and also in babies who have started eating more solids and drinking less milk. Caused by dehydration, in these cases I often advise parents to offer extra drinks of water or diluted juice which will help to rehydrate and relieve the constipated baby.
If baby has started weaning onto solids, it’s a good idea to give a variety of different pureed or chopped fruits (adjust consistency to suit age of baby), such as apples, apricots, blueberries, grapes, pears, plums, prunes, raspberries or strawberries. These are all fibrous foods that can help relieve constipation and are worth a try. Babies can also have some wholewheat pasta or breakfast cereals, porridge or wholemeal bread to increase the amount of fibre in their diet, but the amounts of these should be kept fairly small and not given every day as they can be a bit bulky for babies.
Giving a warm bath can sometimes help relax babies and relieve constipation, as can baby massage. Also, I often suggest that parents try lying their baby on his/her back and move their legs in a bicycling motion – this can often help.
If these home treatments have not worked, or if your baby’s constipation is severe, a doctor or pharmacist may suggest a laxative, probably lactulose, but only try this with their guidance.
Some useful websites to look at for more advice are:
The nhs website
Weaning advice on hipp.co.uk
Bye for now,
Does my baby or toddler need vitamin or mineral supplements?
Of course, none of us want our kids to be missing out on anything important in their diets and if there is a risk that they might not be getting enough of any particular vitamin or mineral we will probably want to give them a supplement of some sort, so when are supplements necessary?
In fact, the Government recommends that all children between 6 months and 5 years are given vitamin drops containing vitamins A, C and D. Even if your child is eating a wide variety of different foods, giving this vitamin supplement can safeguard them against vitamin deficiencies and so makes good sense.
A couple of important considerations –
- If you are breastfeeding your baby and you didn’t take a vitamin D supplement during pregnancy, you may be advised to give your baby a vitamin D supplement from 1 month of age, not 6 months
- If your baby is formula fed and is drinking more than 500ml formula per day, they will be getting the vitamins they need from this formula and so you won’t actually need to give them any extra vitamin supplements until they’re drinking less formula.
- It’s important to remember that too much of some vitamins is as harmful as not enough, so don’t give your baby two vitamin supplements at the same time.
Ask you health visitor for advice on which vitamin drops to use and if you’re eligible for free vitamin supplements for your baby.
Unlike vitamins, most babies won’t need mineral supplements.
One mineral parents often worry about is ‘iron’, but if your baby is eating some meat or fish every day, and eating other foods that are a good source of iron, such as fortified breakfast cereals, dark green vegetables, bread, beans and lentils, eggs, dried fruits (eg. apricots, figs and prunes), then they are likely to be getting enough iron to meet their needs. But if you are still concerned about your baby's iron intake, talk to your doctor and if they think a supplement is necessary then they can advise you on which one to give.
For most babies, milk and other dairy products will provide all the calcium a baby needs, but if your baby has a milk intolerance then it’s worth checking with your doctor if they are likely to be getting enough calcium and if a supplement is necessary.
I hope this helps. Until next time…
Fussy Eating in babies and toddlers
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
Tags: babies, baby, food, healthy, Helen, Hipp Organic, weaning, fussy eater, toddlers
Categories: About Hipp Organic, Baby development, Weaning
Introducing toddlers to family meals
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:
Looking forward to next time!
Tags: babies, eating, food, Hipp Organic, nutrition, recipe, snacks, toddlers, weaning
Categories: About Hipp Organic, Baby development, Milk feeding
Introducing toddlers to cows’ milk
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,
Tags: babies, baby, Babyclub, bottle feeding, dairy, drinks, healthy, Helen, Hipp Organic, milk, toddlers
Categories: About Hipp Organic, Baby development, Milk feeding