Preparing for pregnancy with a healthy diet
Whether you’re planning your first baby or you’re thinking about having another, a healthy diet makes good sense for both you and your partner. Your eating, weight and lifestyle habits have a significant influence on your health, your fertility and once you’ve become pregnant on the growth and development of your unborn baby.
Now is a great time to reassess your diet and to check that you are eating a wide variety of healthy foods. You need to have a good balance between starchy carbohydrate foods; moderate amounts of protein foods; low fat dairy products and plenty of fruits and vegetables. A healthy balanced diet should supply you with all the nutrients you need, but one vitamin that is particularly important pre-conceptually and in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is folic acid and so you should take extra folic acid (400mcg/day) in the form of a supplement during this time.
There are also a couple of other nutrients that need special attention at this time. You should make sure you’re eating enough iron-rich foods to build up your body stores in preparation for your pregnancy, so include red meat, fish, poultry, beans, dark green leafy vegetables and wholegrain cereals regularly. Omega 3 fatty acids play a critical role in the development of the brain and nervous system of a baby so it is a good idea to top up your stores of these too by eating two portions of fish per week (at least one of these portions as oily fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel).
Both you and your partner should reduce your alcohol intakes in line with official recommendations and aim for a healthy weight. Being a healthy body weight can help you to conceive – being very underweight or obese can reduce your chances of conceiving, and being obese while pregnant can increase the risk of complications. And for your partner, it is worth checking the diet contains enough zinc and selenium containing foods as these have been shown to be linked with sperm quality. Lean red meat, wholegrain cereals, seafood and eggs are good sources of these nutrients.
If you want to read more, here are two good links which you may find useful:
Until next time....
Tags: carbohydrates, dairy, healthy, iron, minerals, obesity, pregnant, prepare, preparing for baby to arrive, supplements, vitamins, zinc
Baby’s first Christmas
Your baby’s first Christmas is a magical time for them and for you. It’s a time when you can re-live some of the wonderful traditions that you grew up with at this time of year and maybe even introduce some new ones. Of course your little one will probably be too young to appreciate it all, but will undoubtedly enjoy the lights and sparkling decorations, the extra attention of family and friends, and of course the presents (or more specifically what they’re wrapped up in!).
With everything that’s going on it might be quite hard but do try and keep your baby’s routine as close to normal at this time. Babies prefer it this way and they (and you) will stay calmer and happier as a result. There’s no need to splash out on extravagant presents when they’re tiny (and as a mother of 3 teenagers I can assure you their requests will get more costly as they get older so hold onto your money while you can!). And remember to take lots of photos of these special times.
Continue with your normal mealtime routine, but why not offer them a Christmas Day menu? For breakfast, try HiPP Apple & Cranberry Breakfast (either on its own or added to baby’s normal cereal); a Christmas lunch from HiPP's selection of festive recipes, followed by a fruity HiPP dessert; and of course whatever your baby fancies in the evening.
We all hope that you and your baby have a fabulous Christmas!
Helen and the HiPP team.
The importance of a healthy lifestyle for our children
The last few weeks have seen a huge amount of media coverage on the impact of diet and activity levels on the long-term health of our children. This follows the publication of two Government reports looking at these important areas.
The Department of Health commissioned SACN (Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition) to review the influence of maternal, fetal and child nutrition on the development of chronic disease (e.g. obesity, heart disease, diabetes) in later life.
They have also issued guidance on the level of activity we should all, including children, should undertake.
These reports highlight how important it is for us parents to encourage our children to take regular and sufficient physical activity and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Of course, we’re often hearing about how a good, well-balanced diet with sufficient, but not too much, energy is vital for good health at all stages of life, but this is the first time we’re being told how much exercise our young children should actually be doing.
In the UK, pre-school children have been shown to spend on average 2-2.5 hours a day being active, but the new recommendation is that they should do at least 3 hours per day, once they can walk unaided. This could be any form of activity, ranging from riding a bike, running, climbing, jumping, skipping, walking to swimming. Even before they can walk unaided, you should encourage your baby to take part in floor-based play such as rolling, reaching for and grasping things, pulling and pushing objects, and water-based activities. The report also discourages all of us from keeping our under 5s restrained in buggies, car seats or baby bouncers, or leaving them sitting in front of TV or computer screens, for extended periods.
Are your children active enough, what is their favourite activity, do you have any issues with this new recommendation, is this advice practical for you and your family? We’d love to hear from you.
Off for a run now!
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 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