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.
Introducing toddlers to family meals
Sorry, it’s been a while since I was last in touch – must be something to do with all the Bank Holidays we’ve had recently!
For those of you whose little ones have already reached the toddler stage, you’ve probably already read about the importance of healthy eating for your toddler and the influence their eating habits now can have on their future health. No doubt you’re trying to make sure your toddler has a healthy eating routine and you’re offering a good variety of nutrient-dense foods to make sure they meet all their nutritional requirements. At this stage, you should be able to offer your toddler many meals that are being eaten by the rest of the family, maybe just chopped up a bit if necessary, but this isn’t always the case. Just when you think life might start getting a bit easier now that you don’t have to prepare meals especially for your baby, fussy eating might be getting in the way! Look out for my next blog for some hints and tips on handling fussy eating.
When planning your family’s meals, there are a few important things you should remember about a toddler’s dietary needs that might influence the foods they can eat and any adaptations you might want to make to family meals –
- Energy needs are high as toddlers become more active, but they still have relatively small tummies and appetites can be small
- Toddlers like routine, so work out when they can eat 3 meals and 2-3 snacks each day, planned around their sleeping time
- Toddlers need more fat and less fibre than older children and adults – use some butter or fat in cooking, use a mixture of white and wholegrain cereals, occasionally offer cakes and biscuits not just fruit for pudding
- Combine foods from all five food groups in your toddler’s diet – fruits and veg; starchy foods e.g. pasta, potatoes, cereals, bread; meat, fish and alternative protein sources; milk and dairy foods; foods and drinks containing fats and sugars (use in moderation)
- Make mealtimes enjoyable and eat together as a family whenever possible
You might also want to click on the following links as they contain a lot more useful information:
Looking forward to next time!
Tags: babies, eating, food, Hipp Organic, nutrition, recipe, snacks, toddlers, weaning
Categories: About Hipp Organic, Baby development, Milk feeding
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 and nutrition - what's best to eat?
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