When to introduce finger foods
I’m often asked when it is safe for babies to have ‘finger foods’. As soon as a baby is able to handle these foods properly and shows an interest in doing so is probably the best answer, and for most babies the fine finger control needed develops at around 7 months of age. Introducing some independent feeding using foods that baby can safely eat and which involve some chewing is fun and will help with speech development and the overall progress of babies towards family-type meals. Don’t worry if your baby hasn’t got any teeth yet, their gums are hard enough for them to manage many finger foods quite easily now.
You can choose a variety of nutritious finger foods of different shapes and colours for your baby to enjoy, offering some at each mealtime alongside their normal meal. Start off with softer foods such as pieces of ripe fruit e.g. banana, melon, mango, pear, or lightly cooked vegetables e.g. carrot sticks, broccoli florets, baby sweetcorn, and gradually as they become more competent you can try other foods like those listed below:-
- fingers of pitta bread, toast or bread, rice cakes
- cooked pasta shapes
- cooked pieces of chicken or turkey, or fish
- quarters of hard-boiled egg, or scrambled egg
- grated cheese or cubes of cheese
- dried fruits e.g. apricots, raisins, sultanas
- raw vegetables e.g. tomatoes, cucumber, peppers
- roasted vegetable pieces, e.g. parsnip, carrot, sweet potato
For a selection of dip recipes to try with some finger foods, have a look at the weaning recipes on the HiPP Baby Club.
HiPP Organic offers a variety of finger foods for different stages, including Little Nibbles Rice Cakes for your baby to enjoy.
But remember, always stay with your baby and make sure they are sitting up straight while they’re eating, and avoid giving hard foods such as raw carrot, apple or whole grapes until you are confident that they can handle them without the risk of choking.
Hope it goes well.
Tags: babies, baby, Babyclub, eating, food, healthy, Helen, Hipp Organic, nutrition, organic, recipe, snacks, weaning, finger foods
Categories: About Hipp Organic, Baby development, Weaning
Breastfeeding when returning to work
Someone asked me on Twitter if you can continue to breastfeed when returning to work and the answer is definitely yes.
Obviously it will depend on how many hours that you work and the times of the day that you will not be around to feed your baby that will determine how you will work around this. It will also depend on the age of your baby as to how workable this will be, with babies over 6 months being easier to leave with bottles generally as they are getting used to foods other than milk at this time too.
If possible you may well choose to breastfeed your baby before you go to work and then leave either expressed breastmilk or formula to be given to your baby at other feeds until you return from work. You will then be able to continue to breastfeed for the rest of the day.
It is important to remember that the volume of breastmilk your body produces is determined by the level of demand, so if you're giving your baby less of your milk the amount you produce will also reduce. Expressing milk will help to maintain this supply but if you are giving formula feeds then this supply will diminish. However, combination feeding can be very successful as long as the demand for breastfeeds continues.
Hope this helps, let me know if you have any more questions.
Have a nice weekend,
Hints and tips on changing from breast to bottle feeding your baby
Breastfeeding is best, few people will dispute this fact. But, it isn’t always possible or desirable. Some can’t or choose not to breastfeed their baby from the start, whereas others start breastfeeding but then for one reason or another need to switch over to the bottle, either totally or partially. Whatever choice you make, it makes sense to discuss your feeding options with a health visitor or breastfeeding counsellor who is trained to give support and handy advice.
So, if you find yourself in the position of needing to switch over from breastfeeding to bottle feeding, perhaps because you’re returning to work, do I have any hints or tips to help make the changeover easier?
1. Start to introduce a bottle a few weeks ahead – just in case it takes a while for your baby to get used to it
2. Decide whether you are going to give your baby expressed breastmilk or formula, and if you go for the latter, decide which formula you want to use. Sometimes babies take to the bottle better if it contains the familiar taste of your breastmilk at first, before moving onto a formula a bit later
3. Make sure the milk you’re offering is warm
4. Choose the perfect time to try the bottle, when baby is alert and slightly hungry (don’t wait until your baby is really hungry as they won’t be in the mood for trying something new if they are), and you are relaxed and not in a rush
5. Hold your baby so they are turned away from you so they are not trying to find your nipple
6. Stay calm and reassuring; try not to show any frustration you might feel if it doesn’t work out straightaway
7. Perhaps ask your partner or someone else close to the baby to give the bottle rather than you if they seem reluctant to take the bottle from you
For more information and tips, visit the HiPP Baby Club.
Have you tried to switch over from breast to bottle? What were your experiences? I’d love to hear from you.
Tags: babies, baby, Babyclub, breast feeding, bottle feeding, healthy, Helen, Hipp Organic, milk, mums
Categories: Baby development, Milk feeding
Should babies be weaned onto a vegan diet?
Further to my post about vegetarian diets on 27th October, a couple of mums have asked me for more information on vegan diets for babies. As I said before, I believe vegetarian diets are suitable for children, provided parents take care to ensure the diet is varied and contains adequate energy, sources of iron and vitamin C at mealtimes to aid iron absorption.
Meeting all baby’s nutritional needs with a vegan diet excluding all animal products is not so easy, however, and should only be embarked upon after very careful consideration and consultation with a dietitian/doctor. It is too easy for the vegan diet to be deficient in energy or essential nutrients unless the parent really understands the importance of nutrition and makes appropriate food choices.
As a vegan diet is usually bulky and high in fibre, babies get full up before they have taken enough energy so it is really important that high calorie foods such as tofu, avocados, bananas and smooth nut and seed butters (e.g.tahini, cashew or peanut butter) are given. Extra energy can be added to foods by using vegetable oils or vegan fat spreads. For protein, beans and pulses, cereals, tofu and soya yogurts are useful, and of course breast milk or a soya-based formula milk formula will help ensure baby gets enough protein. This milk will also help to provide much-needed calcium. Iron deficiency can be avoided by including dark green leafy vegetables, beans and pulses, and dried fruits (particularly apricots). Omega 3 fatty acids are found in some vegetable oils (linseed, flaxseed, walnut and rapeseed) and it is good to use these oils in place of other oils (sunflower, safflower or corn) to help meet omega 3 requirements.
Parents must also pay particular attention to baby’s vitamin requirements. A vitamin supplement containing vitamins A, C and D is recommended for all babies from 6 months up to 5 years. Since the only reliable sources of vitamin B12 in the diet are meat, eggs and dairy products, vegans must get their B12 from fortified foods such as yeast extracts, fortified breakfast cereals or soya formulas, and a B12 supplement may also be needed.
What do you think- should babies ever be weaned onto a vegan diet? Should parents impose their dietary beliefs on their children?
Let me know.
Tags: babies, baby, Babyclub, eating, fibre, food, healthy, Helen, Hipp Organic, nutrition, organic, vegan, vegetarian
Categories: Baby development, Weaning
How much does my baby need to drink?
If I’m asked the question ‘How much drink should my baby have?’, I look at their age, weight, milk intake, stage of weaning, health, environmental conditions, and so on, and then consider how much they should have to meet their needs and to avoid dehydration.
Generally, babies less than 4-6 months should not be offered any additional drinks (water, diluted juice or others) other than their usual milk. Milk alone, either breast milk or formula, should be able to meet all their needs for nutrition and fluids up to at least 4 months of age, and giving additional drinks can be harmful if they reduce milk intake. However, an occasional additional drink may help if the baby has a fever, in hot weather or in centrally-heated houses where there is the possibility of dehydration, and a small volume of cooled, boiled water once or twice a day should do the trick in these situations.
For babies who have already started weaning onto solids, a small drink of water or diluted fruit juice can be given at mealtimes to ensure baby doesn’t get thirsty. Between meals, only water or milk should be offered because of the risk of dental decay caused by drinks containing sugars (whether naturally occurring or added). Milk continues to be really important throughout the weaning period though and milk feeds should be given 3-4 times a day, with at least a pint of milk (about 600ml) being consumed.
Toddlers need less milk (about 360-500ml each day), but they still need fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated.
You should always keep an eye on how well hydrated your baby is. Regular wet nappies are important and signs of dehydrated should be acted on swiftly:
- Dark yellow urine
- A sunken fontanelle (soft spot)
- Dry or sticky lips and mouth
- Skin that has lost its elasticity
Hope this helps. Let us know if you’re not sure if your baby is getting enough.
Bye for now.
Tags: baby, breast feeding, healthy, Helen, Hipp Organic, milk, drinks, babies, toddlers, boiled water, juice, dehydration
Categories: About Hipp Organic, Baby development, Milk feeding