HiPP Organic

HiPP's Baby & Nutrition Blog

The “weaning window” and why it’s so important

Posted on 12 August 2016 by Admin

 

 

Among the many, many bits of advice you’ll likely get when weaning your baby - “Try purees first!” “Don’t touch purees! Let them feed themselves!” “No, spoon-feeding is best!” - there’s one you really will want to pay a bit of attention to.

It has to do with choosing the right time to start the weaning process, and it’s important for a good reason. You see, it turns out your baby’s sensory development gives you what some have called a “window of opportunity” for introducing them to a wide variety of food flavours.

That sounds rather technical, but it’s really just a period of time when your baby is particularly open to trying new flavours – which also makes it a great chance to add lots of tasty new favourites to your baby’s menu. Babies in this stage of development are often happy to try tastes they may resist later on, particularly some of the more savoury/bitter flavours found in broccoli and other green leafy vegetables.

This “prime time” for new tastes is different for each baby, but it usually falls somewhere between six and nine months of age. It’s not truly a “window” in the sense of a one-time opportunity that can be “missed” - so please try not to agonise about whether you’ve timed it right – but it’s an opportunity that’s worth keeping an eye out for.

The trick lies in spotting the signs that your baby is interested in and developmentally ready for trying solids. Again, every baby is different, and you know your baby better than anyone - but once your baby is around 6 months (definitely not before 4 months), and you notice the tell-tale signs of readiness, it’s worth offering a first taste of real food to see how your baby reacts.

Of course, introducing a wide variety of tastes to your little one can’t guarantee that you’ll sail right through the dreaded picky-eating phase later on – but it’s less likely!

 

Have you offered your baby any solid food yet? How did it go? We’d love to hear from you on our Facebook page, or in the comments section below!

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Organic is the name of the game these days – especially for babies!

Posted on 28 July 2016 by Admin

We modern parents are pretty savvy customers. Thanks to our friend Google – and plentiful advice from friends and knowledgeable strangers on Twitter and Facebook – we pretty much know what’s what in the world of babies.

What to do about a fever? Check. Best place to snag bargain baby clothes in the sales? Check. You name it, and if it relates to our kids, we probably know about it.

Which goes some way to explaining the phenomenal popularity of organic baby food here in the UK. According to Brandwatch, British parents spend more than £600 million on baby food and milk annually – and nearly 60% of the baby food market is spent on organic baby foods. Only 3% of the milks market is organic, and that’s just us!

Parents tell us that it’s because they trust organic to be the safest, purest choice for their babies, and we couldn’t agree more! In fact, we’ve been saying exactly the same thing for 60 years – ever since Georg Hipp took what was then the very unusual step of converting his family farm in Bavaria to organic farming practices.

Just like any other family, we want our children and grandchildren to grow up happy and healthy in a world that’s worth living in. That’s why we’ve always been dedicated to sustainability – protecting nature, truly caring more about the environment and keeping our farmland rich and nutritious for the future. 

Our partner farms grow only the best varieties of organic produce for babies – hand-selected for their optimum nutrition and low acid content - and we regularly inspect each farm to make sure they meet our own strict organic standards (which are often even tougher than the EU standard required by law!)

Yes, other baby food brands might think we’re a bit mad to take such painstaking care with our ingredients – but we don’t mind. (Lots of people doubted Georg Hipp at the time, too, but that didn’t stop him! And 2 generations later our philosophy is unchanged.)

After all, we’ve been pioneers in the organic movement since 1956 for one simple reason: we truly believe that organic is the best possible option for our children, and our planet.

 

Why do you choose organic for your baby? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page or Twitter feed! Use the hashtag #hipporganicbabies so we can find your post.

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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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Combining foods to make a balanced diet for your baby

Posted on 30 October 2012 by Helen

Hi,

Last time I was talking about how to prepare your baby for a good balanced diet and a good relationship with food.  But I didn’t really talk about what foods a baby needs to eat to achieve this balance and to get all the nutrients they need for optimal growth and development.

The important thing to remember is that no single food can give a child all the necessary nutrients after 6 months of age (obviously before this breastmilk, or formula, can), so from 6 months we must eat a combination of foods from 5 different food groups. These are:

Cereals and potato – e.g. breakfast cereals, bread, chappati, pitta, rice, couscous, pasta, potatoes.  These should be included in each meal.  Aim for 3-4 servings a day and offer as much variety as possible over the course of a week.

Fruits and vegetables – includes fresh, frozen, tinned and dried.  Again offer them at each meal and as snacks too.  Aim for 5 small portions each day, with lots of different types of fruits and vegetables being introduced.  There are plenty to choose from.  Remember, fruit juices can only count as one of their ‘5 a day’.

Milk and dairy foods – e.g. milk, cheese, yogurt, fromage frais.  Aim for 3 servings a day.  Obviously, before your baby is fully weaned onto a mixed diet comprising 3 meals a day they will probably be taking more than this.  Remember too that all milk and dairy products should be full-fat until your baby is at least 2 years old.

Meat, fish and alternatives – e.g. meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and pulses. Aim for 1-2 servings a day if your child eats meat and fish, but if they are vegetarian they should have 2-3 servings a day.  Whole nuts should not be given before the age of 5 years, and if there is a family history of allergies then you should check with your health visitor or doctor before introducing any nut products into your baby’s diet.

Foods high in fat and sugar – active toddlers and children need some of these foods to help provide energy and some important fats and vitamins, but the quantities eaten should be small to avoid excess weight gain.  And of course too much sugar can increase the risk of dental caries, especially if eaten in large amounts and at certain times.

Provided your baby eats a good mix of foods from these 5 food groups they should meet all their nutritional needs and this will pave the way for a good balanced diet throughout childhood and beyond.  Don’t worry too much about serving sizes, these will grow as your baby grows, but if you are concerned at any time you should speak to your health visitor or ask to speak to a paediatric dietitian who will be able to fully assess your baby’s diet.

Best wishes.
Helen

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Baby-led weaning versus conventional weaning

Posted on 2 August 2012 by Helen

Hi,

I don’t know about you guys, but we’re all caught up in Olympic fever here and competition seems to be on our minds constantly.  So if baby-led weaning was to compete with conventional weaning which would win?  Are there any real advantages of one over the other?  Do you have to choose one method or can you in fact combine the two?

Baby-led weaning is definitely winning the race in popularity with many parents at the moment and this was boosted by the media coverage earlier this year that claimed that ‘spoon feeding makes babies fatter’.  This story was based on a research study carried out at Nottingham University which looked at the impact of weaning method on food preferences and health outcomes in early childhood.  However, this study has been criticised for its small size, with only 155 babies (92 baby-led, 63 spoon-fed), with most of the babies in each group being of a healthy weight.  Many factors can affect a child’s food preferences and body weight, including genetic factors, exercise, social and demographic backgrounds, and as this study only asked questions about eating habits at a single point in time rather than over a period of time it only gave a snapshot of the situation. Some of the findings may also have been due to chance, so in fact this study probably proves very little.  For a more detailed review of this study you might be interested in this article on the NHS website.

Although many parents would back the more conventional approach to weaning as the deserved winner, there is probably a case for combining elements of both approaches to get the best for babies. Babies should be encouraged to feed themselves when they appear ready and you should allow your baby to take control of their own food intake. When they appear to have had enough, don’t force them to eat any more.  It is important that you offer a good variety of foods with different tastes and textures, including a wide variety of finger foods, and babies should be given a spoon to feed themselves with as soon as possible.  We know weaning is a messy business, but we need to accept and prepare for this and not discourage independence.

Of course, as parents we like to know how much food our baby is eating and this is often easier with more traditional weaning methods, but we have to accept that with childhood obesity rates on the rise we must keep an open mind about what is the best way to wean a baby.  A much larger study looking at feeding of babies from the start of weaning over several years would give us much needed and invaluable information on which to base the best weaning advice for you all in the future.

Let me know about your experiences – which weaning approach do you favour?

Best wishes

Helen

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