HiPP Organic

HiPP's Baby & Nutrition Blog

Getting enough iron in baby's diet

Posted on 4 October 2010 by Helen

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Hello!

Did you know that the iron stores babies are born with are often depleted by around 6 months of age? Unless the diet contains enough iron to replenish these stores babies and young children will be at risk of becoming iron deficient? Anaemia (iron deficiency) is particularly a problem when weaning onto a mixed diet is delayed and large volumes of milk continue to be given at 8 months of age and beyond. Formula fed babies are likely to have their iron stores better preserved than breastfed babies, with the problem arising with babies receiving 6 or more breastfeeds per day or cow’s milk instead of formula as their main milk drink.

Too much milk and iron deficiency levels in babies

For all babies, a variety of iron-containing weaning foods should be introduced from the age of 6 months to safeguard against iron deficiency. Meat and poultry-containing weaning foods can in fact be given from the start of weaning (before 6 months if babies are starting between 4-6 months), although often parents will choose to give cereal and fruit/vegetable based foods first. The iron found in meat, poultry and fish (known as ‘haem iron’) is better absorbed than the iron found in fortified cereals, vegetables, beans and pulses, so it makes sense to introduce these haem iron-rich foods as soon as possible. To help with the absorption of the ‘non haem iron’ found in these other foods it is important to serve foods containing vitamin C at the s ame meal. Alternatively, there are a selection of manufactured baby foods like HiPP Organic foods containing meat or poultry that can be used at different stages of weaning to boost iron intakes. Have you got any good weaning recipes containing meat or poultry that you would like to share? We’d love to hear from you!

Bye for now! - Helen

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How much fruit and veg should baby eat a day?

Posted on 28 September 2010 by Helen

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Hi again!

I often get asked “how much fruit and veg should my baby be having a day?” For adults and older children the message is pretty clear and can be seen everywhere – on supermarket shelves, food labels, TV and magazine adverts, healthy eating literature, websites (see below) – eat 5 portions a day, each portion being 80g.

Visit the NHS website - 5 a day

Although fruits and vegetables are staple foods during weaning and it’s hard to imagine most babies not getting enough, as yet health departments in the UK haven’t quantified the recommended fruit and veg intakes for babies and so parents often don’t know whether their little ones are getting enough.

Fruit and veg are full of lots of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fibre, and to make sure your baby benefits from the full array of nutrients these foods have to offer it makes good sense to include lots of different types - a mix of green vegetables (e.g. broccoli, cabbage, green beans), yellow or orange vegetables (e.g. carrots, squash, swede, sweet potato), and fruits (e.g. apricots, mangoes, bananas, peaches).  Include some fruit and veg at every meal if possible, and aim for 5 servings a day, but don’t worry if some days, especially at the start of weaning, this is less.

With regards to portion sizes for babies, official advice only says that the amount is smaller than the adult recommendation of 80g, but how much smaller? The Caroline Walker Trust has recently published advice on portion sizes for toddlers aged 1-4 years and they quote 40g fruit/veg as a portion.  They are publishing advice on infant portion sizes later in the year but until this is available, my thinking is that 30-35g makes a sensible portion size.  This equates to approximately half a small pear, apple, banana or peach; one small plum; one small carrot or parsnip; 3 cauliflower florets; 1 tablespoon peas.  Most HiPP Organic baby foods contain 1-2 fruit or veg portions per jar or pot, so they can really help boost fruit and veg intakes.

Let me know whether you think your baby is getting enough.......

Best wishes - Helen

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National Organic Fortnight - 4 reasons why organic is better

Posted on 6 September 2010 by Helen

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Hello again!

As well as having to judge when’s the right age to start weaning, another issue that parents often ponder over is whether choosing organic is that important or not when deciding which foods to feed their babies. You’re probably thinking ‘this is the HiPP Organic website, they’re bound to say organic is best’, but I really think that it is, and here are four main reasons for this:

  1. Babies are more vulnerable to the effects of unwanted chemicals found in non-organic foods and will benefit from weaning foods containing no GM ingredients or harmful pesticides
  2. Organic food is food as nature intended, and I think it often tastes better
  3. Organic foods are often higher in essential nutrients e.g. vitamin C and antioxidant
  4. Organic foods are better for wildlife, animal welfare and the environment (see the following link to the Soil Association: http://bit.ly/bGHVnw)

Of course, a lot of mums I speak to don’t exclusively use HiPP organic baby foods for weaning their babies and I always suggest that parents offer a variety of different foods and lots of different tastes and textures when weaning. Home cooking is something I encourage too as it helps to get your baby used to the foods that you eat as a family (and although it may seem difficult to imagine at the start of weaning, this is probably where you want your baby to end up!).

To help you, we have a great selection of home-made recipes to try with your weaning baby, or have a go on our meal planner which gives home-cooked alternatives to try, as well as a HiPP products.

And of course, try and use organic ingredients when you can!

Bye for now! - Helen

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When is best to start weaning?

Posted on 27 August 2010 by Helen

Hello!

I’ve just come off a call from a really confused mum.  Her son has been showing lots of signs that he is probably ready to start solids, but he’s only 19 weeks old and she had read that she should wait till he was 6 months before giving him any foods.  She wanted to know if she could start with some foods now as he really doesn’t seem content with just his milk feeds anymore.

I get asked this sort of question on a very regular basis and of course there isn’t a standard answer that applies to every baby.  Although the Department of Health recommendation is that weaning should start at around 6 months, some babies might be ready earlier than this.  One purpose of weaning onto solids is to provide extra energy and nutrients when milk doesn’t supply enough to sustain normal growth and optimal health and development any more. If there are signs that a baby is hungry between milk feeds or is demanding milk feeds more often, they may well be ready for solids, and in fact to delay the introduction of solids might actually compromise their optimal growth and development. In this particular case, I suggested to mum that she could start offering some baby rice mixed with some of his usual milk at one mealtime a day for a few days and then take it from there.  There’s lots of advice on weaning on the links below -

http://www.hipp.co.uk/expert-advice/baby-5-to-8-months/weaning-your-baby

http://www.eatwell.gov.uk/agesandstages/baby/startingsolidfoods/

Or download our handy guide to the first four weeks of weaning

Of course, it’s important to remember that weaning shouldn’t start too early (not before 17 weeks/4 months), and equally, delaying weaning beyond 6 months of age isn’t recommended either as it can increase the risk of nutrient and energy deficiencies, such as iron deficiency anaemia and rickets.

Are you unsure if your baby’s ready for weaning, when did you start weaning, what do you think about current weaning recommendations?.......We’d love to know.

Best wishes - Helen

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Breastfeeding and nutrition - what's best to eat?

Posted on 25 August 2010 by Helen

 alt= Hi all!

In our recent survey, we asked HiPP Babyclub new mums what foods were their favourite snacks to give them energy; nearly a quarter of them said ‘CHOCOLATE’!! 

A good, varied and balanced diet will help to make sure you have the energy and nutrients needed to fuel the hard work being a new mum entails! Other foods that rated in the Top Ten were bananas, other fruits, cereal and cereal bars and nuts, so all this looks much better from a nutritionist’s point of view and goes to show that healthier foods can be popular too!

In the past I’ve been asked if there are any foods that can cause upsets for breastfed babies and should not be eaten. There are no definite foods/drinks that breastfeeding mums should avoid (apart from those mentioned below) as every mum and baby is different and will react differently to different foods, but if you suspect that a particular food you are eating is upsetting your baby, it’s a good idea if you talk to your health visitor or doctor about this before cutting this food out of your diet.  You don’t want to restrict your diet unnecessarily and you don’t want to compromise your intake of any nutrients by doing so.

Of course, there are certain foods that you are advised to avoid if you are breastfeeding your baby.  Small amounts of whatever you eat or drink can pass into your breastmilk and then onto your baby.  It’s a good idea to avoid too much caffeine, in drinks and chocolate, as it can stimulate your baby and keep them awake. An alcoholic drink now and again whilst you’re breastfeeding is not likely to do them or you any harm, but as small amounts of alcohol are transferred to the baby through breastmilk it is best not to drink more than 1-2 units of alcohol once or twice a week.  And if you can delay breastfeeding until an hour or more after you’ve had a drink, this is better for them too as the amount of alcohol in your breastmilk gradually declines with time.  

Best wishes! - Helen

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