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
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
Night-time milk feeds
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...
Tags: night time, sleep, babies, baby, Babyclub, breast feeding, drinks, Helen, Hipp Organic, milk
Categories: Baby development, Milk feeding
Dairy for babies
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:
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.
Tags: dairy, cheese, yogurt, fromage frais, babies, baby, breast feeding, eating, drinks, gluten, healthy, Helen, Hipp Organic, iron, milk
Categories: Baby development, Milk feeding, Weaning
How much food should my baby be eating?
Well, this is an interesting question but as every baby is different there is no standard answer, whatever their age, so if you are wondering if your baby is getting enough foods I might not be able to set your mind at rest here I’m afraid :-(. However, there are some basic pointers we can use to work out how much food your little one should be eating and I hope you find these useful.
- Between 4-6 months of age, most babies can be satisfied by milk alone without the need for solid foods until 6 months.
- However, there are others who seem to need some solid foods before 6 months as milk alone doesn’t seem to satisfy them. Remember that even in these cases milk still provides most of the nourishment baby needs and usually only a few teaspoonfuls of food are needed at any mealtime. Of course, you can increase the amount of food gradually as baby gets used to it and seems to want more, but make sure they keep their milk intake at more-or-less the same level (babies at 4-5 months usually need about 900ml milk per day).
- From 6 months of age, the situation is a bit different. All babies will need to include a variety of different foods in their diets, including foods with a higher energy density than milk, to make sure their nutritional requirements are being met. As the amount of food given increases, at one then two and then three mealtimes, you will find that baby needs less milk to satisfy him/her. Once baby is on 3 reasonable meals a day, the volume of milk needed falls to about 600ml per day and you can usually cut out a milk feed or two. Offer other drinks instead e.g. water or diluted fruit juice, to ensure baby gets enough fluids.
- For quantities of foods, the best advice I can give is to be guided by your baby’s appetite. Don’t worry about giving your baby too much food – they will normally turn their heads and refuse to open their mouths when they are full.
- At the end of the day, as long as your baby is well and wetting and soiling his nappies regularly and is putting on weight steadily, it is likely that you are doing everything you need to do.
Does this help? Let me know.
Tags: babies, baby, drinks, eating, food, healthy, Helen, Hipp Organic, milk, nutrition, weaning
Categories: Baby development, Milk feeding, Weaning