HiPP Organic

HiPP's Baby & Nutrition Blog

Holiday tastes for the littlest ones

Posted on 19 December 2014 by Lindsay

Christmas is a time of joy, of course, but if you're in the middle of weaning your baby right now, you might be forgiven for also feeling a tiny bit unlucky – after all, it's not the easiest thing to be pureeing organic pumpkin whilst simultaneously preparing turkey and trimmings for twelve.

But fear not, wise parent:  Christmas is actually the perfect time to add some amazing flavours to your baby's repertoire. (And if you're way too busy for the food processor right now, that's okay – we're here to help!)

Taste matters – now and for the future!

Flavour is definitely important – in fact, it's one of the key parts of weaning, and it's something to keep in mind from the very beginning.

Here's why. Your baby is born with a taste for sweet, high-fat foods – not coincidentally, like breast milk – because they provide lots of energy for that growing little body. Young babies also tend to be wary of bitter tastes initially, which is probably a protective instinct to keep them from putting mouldy or poisonous things in their mouths. (Clever little sprouts!)

When weaning time comes around, though, it’s a golden opportunity to expand your baby’s taste horizons. At around 6 months, babies tend to be more open to new tastes and textures than they may be later on – and several studies have found that introducing stronger flavours early on has a direct effect on babies’ food preferences later in life, as well as their tendency toward fussy eating habits.

In short, if you want a toddler who noshes happily on broccoli or loves a mild curry, it’s best to introduce them to plenty of exciting flavours from the start. Of course, these new tastes are a bit of a shock at first – keep the camera handy, as the faces they make are often priceless! But if your baby refuses a new food that’s nutritious, keep trying.  Babies are more likely to accept a new taste the more they are exposed to it – and a bit of enthusiasm and praise from Mum and Dad will often help the spinach (or swede, or parsnip) go down.

Don't skip the lumps

Texture is important, too: one study of nearly 8,000 children showed that if babies were introduced to lumpy foods before nine months of age, they ate significantly more food groups at age 7 (including a whopping 10 kinds of fruits and veggies). And those lumps and bumps also help your baby develop the mouth and tongue muscles that will soon come in handy for talking!

Of course, nothing you do can guarantee your baby will skip the dreaded picky-eating stage, and most toddlers do end up with a few ‘difficult’ foods during this time. But offering plenty of variety early on is your best bet – and it will help set your baby up for a lifetime of healthy, happy eating to come.

Holiday tastes for your baby to try – and a few to avoid

At this time of year, most of us have foods in the house that don't get a look in the rest of the year – and that's a shame! Many of them are perfect for your baby to taste as well. Here are a few:

Brussels sprouts: If you're roasting or steaming some sprouts for the adults, try pureeing or fork-mashing a few for your baby, too. Brussels sprouts and other brassica vegetables are ultra-healthy, so giving your little one a taste for them now is a move that will definitely pay off down the road!

Turkey: Mild and full of protein, turkey makes great baby food. Older babies can hold and gnaw on larger bits, and even the littlest ones can taste some breast meat, maybe pureed with a bit of breast or formula milk (and some roast pumpkin, if you have any!)

Cranberry relish: A tiny bit of this zingy condiment will be sure to get your baby's taste-buds tingling! Offer a bit on a clean spoon or finger and watch the reaction...

Mash: Set a bit aside before adding any salt, and let it cool – your baby will probably be quite happy to dig in even without a spoon (if you can handle the mess factor!)

Cheese: A holiday cheeseboard is a great chance to let your baby try bits of stronger flavours like hard or pasteurised goat's cheese and aged Cheddar – just cut off tiny slivers and let the fun begin!

However, not everything on your festive table is baby-friendly: you'll want to avoid anything that's got alcohol in it, obviously (so no plum pudding or egg nog!), and steer clear of choking hazards like whole nuts, grapes and chipolatas until your baby is older and very comfortable with finger foods.

And of course, if you have a dozen for dinner and it all gets a bit too hectic to puree, we've got your back: My First Sunday Dinner is a moreish blend of healthy veg and roast turkey, perfect for an easy and nutritious holiday meal!

What's on your baby's festive menu this year?

 

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Baby’s first Christmas

Posted on 16 December 2011 by Helen

 

Hi again,

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.

 

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How can I get my baby to switch from smooth foods to lumpy Stage 2 foods?

Posted on 3 February 2011 by Helen

Hi everyone,

I've just had an email from a mum asking for some advice with helping her baby switch from smooth foods to lumps so I thought I'd share my advice with you all.

Learning to chew is an important stage in your baby's development and although it can take a while for your baby to control lumps in their mouth, it is important to persevere with lumpier foods at around 7 months. Learning to chew helps in the correct muscle development and use of the tongue needed for speech, and of course is also a vital step in them adapting to family-style meals. Sometimes if the lumps haven’t been chewed well enough your baby may cough up the lumps for more chewing and you may think your baby is choking, but this is quite normal. Of course, there is always the possibility of choking, however, so never leave your baby on their own whilst they are eating. If your baby does choke then calmly lift him and turn him upside down. Try to do it gently and without panicking so that you don't frighten your baby.

Try introducing soft lumps at first by mashing soft ripe fruit, cooked vegetables, pasta and cooked fish. You could try mixing a Stage 1 food with some Stage 2 food in the same bowl (choosing similar or complementary varieties), gradually increasing the amount of the lumpier food as your baby gets used to chewing. Alternatively, you could try mashing the Stage 2 food with a fork slightly before you feed it to your baby so that it has a mashed rather than lumpy consistency, and then gradually mash it less and less. Some babies can find lumpy foods in a bowl difficult but have no problems if finger foods are offered to them alongside a smoother meal in a bowl. Try introducing a selection of accompanying finger foods such as pieces of cooked meat (e.g. chicken or ham), grated cheese, cooked pasta shapes, pieces of hard-boiled egg or dried fruits, to encourage chewing.

If your baby still will not take to lumps, try leaving it for a few days and then try again. They will get there in the end!

Let us know about your experiences of introducing lumpy foods or if you’ve got any tips for other mums to try.

Bye for now,

Helen

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Introducing your baby onto lumpier foods

Posted on 8 December 2010 by Helen

Hi!

Weaning advice generally recommends that babies should be introduced to lumpier foods between 6-9 months of age. However, research studies have shown that a significant number of babies (13-18%) are not introduced to lumps in this period, and babies not given lumps until after 9 months of age are more likely to be difficult, picky eaters. These problems are still evident at 15 months and even at 7 years of age. It appears that there is a critical period in the second half of infancy during which babies more readily accept new tastes and textures and consequently it is important that babies are encouraged to eat more challenging textures during this period.

Learning to chew is also important in the correct muscle development and use of the tongue needed for speech. Some babies find the move from smooth weaning foods with no lumps to the lumpier foods quite difficult, but it is worth persevering.

If you're preparing your own baby foods then you should adjust the consistency according to what your baby can cope with, aiming for more and more lumps and a coarser texture as you go. Start by introducing soft lumps at first by mashing soft fruits, cooked vegetables or cooked pasta, perhaps with some mashed fish or pureed meat. If on the other hand you are using commercial baby foods like HiPP Organic, switch from Stage 1 to Stage 2 foods that are specially designed for this next stage of feeding. Don’t be surprised if your baby spits out lumps to begin with, or if lumps get coughed back for more chewing – this is normal. 

If your baby is finding the change from smooth baby foods to lumpier Stage 2 baby foods difficult, why not try mixing smooth Stage 1 baby food with some lumpier Stage 2 food in the same bowl (choosing similar or complementary flavours), gradually increasing the amount of the lumpier food as baby gets used to chewing. Alternatively, you may want to try mashing the Stage 2 food with a fork slightly before you feed it to your baby, and then gradually mash it less and less.

Until next time.....
Helen

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