Eating in the first few weeks after your baby is born
There are so many new things to think about when you've just had your baby that what to eat might not come high up on your list of priorities. But it is vitally important that you eat regular, nutritionally well-balanced meals to ensure you stay healthy and that you've got all the nutrients needed for successful breastfeeding.
There are no hard and fast rules on when and what you should eat in these early days. There are some 'old wives tales' recommending foods that should or shouldn’t be eaten, but there is little scientific support for most of these. I've heard it said that 'you need to drink milk in order to make milk' which might have been the case when foods were in short supply, but these days with a varied supply of foods available to most of us the energy, protein and calcium needed can come from other dietary sources. Similarly, although Italian mums might be told to avoid garlic, cauliflower, lentils and red peppers whilst breastfeeding, mothers and babies in India are perfectly happy whilst on a diet containing all these foods.
My best advice would be to eat and drink when you feel you need to; if you are breastfeeding, you may well find you're hungrier and thirstier than normal. Making milk 24/7 is extremely demanding and an inadequate diet could easily affect your health.
The following links on our website give you some other useful information on the foods you should include in your diet whilst breastfeeding, and foods to avoid. Perhaps you'd like to try some of our recipes too, or better still, get someone else to prepare them for you!
Until next time....
Tags: babies, bottle feeding, breast feeding, carbohydrates, dairy, dehydration, drinks, eating, foods, foods to avoid, healthy
Ideal foods for your hospital bag
So are you nearly there? After what may have seemed an eternity, is your pregnancy nearing the end?
For those of you at this stage, you may well be thinking about packing your bag that you take with you to the hospital and wondering what snacks or drinks to put in it. Of course what you take will depend on your favourites and what you think you might fancy, but some suggestions that I can recommend to help keep your energy levels up and to keep you well hydrated during your labour might be dried fruit, dry biscuits, cereal bars, glucose tablets and bottles of water or isotonic sports drinks. Of course these are all things that you can pack in advance, but on the day you might think of adding some extras, such as some fresh fruit, a sandwich or a yogurt. Don’t worry about whether these foods are healthy or not, but I suggest you keep away from any foods high in fats as these can make you feel very uncomfortable and may make you be sick!
Often mums in labour aren’t really thinking about food at all or may not be able to face eating anything. But if your labour is dragging on a bit, or if you do feel like eating something, then I suggest you stick to nibbling on snacks. A big meal will probably not be an option and you really won’t feel like it anyway. It’s a good idea to keep any eating or drinking during labour to ‘little and often’ and probably only in the early stages of labour.
Depending on how long your labour lasts, you may or may not need the glucose tablets to keep you going and the isotonic sports drinks may or may not be necessary, but best to go prepared.
And as for foods that might bring on your labour and therefore your hospital trip? - we did a survey of nearly 1800 new mums and perhaps not surprisingly of the mums that responded to the question “If you ate a particular food to try and bring on labour, what was it and did it work?”, eating ‘spicy food’ including curries came out as top favourite choice, followed by drinking red raspberry leaf tea and eating pineapple. In many cases these didn’t work, but many would argue they were worth a try!
Good luck with your preparations.
When should I start reducing the amount of milk that my baby takes?
I often get asked 'when should I start reducing the amount of milk that my baby takes? I have just started weaning him and am confused as to when one of his bottle feeds should be dropped.'
It is quite common for parents to be concerned and confused about this as the last thing they want to do is leave their babies short of energy and important nutrients during weaning, yet they don't want to be overfeeding them either. Weaning can be a bit of a hit and miss affair until both of you have established a routine, and babies will often eat more on some days than others for no apparent reason, so their milk intake can fluctuate quite a lot.
So, I encourage parents to be as relaxed and flexible about this as possible and to follow a few basic principles -
- At the start of weaning, continue to give your baby's usual milk feeds at mealtimes, preferably after you have given them food. The quantities of food eaten at this stage are small and your baby still relies on milk to meet all his nutritional needs.
- Usually at around 6-7 months, or once your baby has got used to eating solid foods at 3 mealtimes each day, try dropping one of his milk feeds (at lunchtime, say) and offer water or diluted fruit juice in a feeding beaker instead at that mealtime. Often babies show you themselves that they don’t need milk at a mealtime by gradually taking less as they start to eat more; this is a good time to drop this feed, but remember to offer another drink instead to make sure your baby doesn’t get thirsty.
- Throughout weaning and up to the age of 1 year your baby still needs plenty of breast milk or formula each day, usually with a milk feed morning and evening and other feeds in between as required. The exact amount will depend on how much solid food your baby eats and you should let your baby decide how much milk he has. As a rough guide, formula fed babies will need about 500-600ml (1 pint) formula per day once weaning is established.
Hope this helps!
Bye for now,
Tags: babies, baby, bottle feeding, breast feeding, dehydration, drinks, eating, food, Helen, Hipp Organic, juice, milk, nutrition, weaning
Categories: Baby development, Milk feeding, 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