HiPP Organic

HiPP's Baby & Nutrition Blog

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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Dairy for babies

Posted on 4 March 2011 by Helen

Hi Everyone,

Recently I have been asked by confused mums why, even though their health visitor has told them to avoid giving dairy products until baby is at least 6 months, there are baby food jars labelled as suitable from 4 months when they contain cow’s milk and cheese. Also, if cow’s milk isn’t suitable as a drink until a year of age, is it really safe for inclusion in weaning foods anyway?

Of course, weaning shouldn’t be started until baby is ready for solids, usually around 6 months and definitely not before 4 months of age. If baby is ready at 4 months, however, cow’s milk and other dairy products such as small amounts of cheese, yogurt, fromage frais and milk-based dishes can be used in weaning foods from the start and there is no reason to suggest otherwise. The foods that you should avoid giving before 6 months are shown at the link below:

http://www.nhs.uk/Planners/birthtofive/Pages/Weaningfirststeps.aspx

Previously, concerns about including these ingredients in weaning foods were based on their potential to cause allergic reactions. However, recent statements by the British Dietetic Association Paediatric Group and other specialists in Europe and the United States have highlighted that current evidence indicates that there is in fact no need to delay the introduction of certain potentially allergenic foods e.g. milk, cheese, yogurts, egg, fish, wheat, gluten, until a certain age as doing so will not reduce the likelihood of allergies developing.

Remember that cow’s milk shouldn’t be given as baby’s main drink until 1 year of age as it doesn’t contain enough iron and other nutrients to meet baby’s needs. Breast milk or an infant or follow on formula should be given up until this age. Toddlers can be introduced to cow’s milk from year as they should be able to get enough iron from other foods in the diet, but if you are concerned about their intake of iron from foods then continued use of formula or introduction of a Growing up Milk can be very reassuring.

Bye for now.
Helen

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