When is best to start weaning?
I’ve just come off a call from a really confused mum. Her son has been showing lots of signs that he is probably ready to start solids, but he’s only 19 weeks old and she had read that she should wait till he was 6 months before giving him any foods. She wanted to know if she could start with some foods now as he really doesn’t seem content with just his milk feeds anymore.
I get asked this sort of question on a very regular basis and of course there isn’t a standard answer that applies to every baby. Although the Department of Health recommendation is that weaning should start at around 6 months, some babies might be ready earlier than this. One purpose of weaning onto solids is to provide extra energy and nutrients when milk doesn’t supply enough to sustain normal growth and optimal health and development any more. If there are signs that a baby is hungry between milk feeds or is demanding milk feeds more often, they may well be ready for solids, and in fact to delay the introduction of solids might actually compromise their optimal growth and development. In this particular case, I suggested to mum that she could start offering some baby rice mixed with some of his usual milk at one mealtime a day for a few days and then take it from there. There’s lots of advice on weaning on the links below -
Or download our handy guide to the first four weeks of weaning
Of course, it’s important to remember that weaning shouldn’t start too early (not before 17 weeks/4 months), and equally, delaying weaning beyond 6 months of age isn’t recommended either as it can increase the risk of nutrient and energy deficiencies, such as iron deficiency anaemia and rickets.
Are you unsure if your baby’s ready for weaning, when did you start weaning, what do you think about current weaning recommendations?.......We’d love to know.
Best wishes - Helen
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
New Mums - how do you restart your eating habits?
For all you new mums out there, you’ve probably realised by now what a tiring business being a new mum is!
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!
You don’t need to eat anything special, nor do you need to eat a lot more food than normal, just a healthy range of foods, including plenty of fruit and veg, starchy carbohydrates (such as bread, pasta, rice, breakfast cereals), protein foods (e.g. lean meat, fish, eggs, beans and pulses), and dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurts, etc.). You should also make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids – at least 1.2litres per day is recommended (6-8 glasses) - and the advice to always have a drink beside you when you sit down to breastfeed is a really good idea.
Make sure you avoid eating too many foods which are high in sugar, such as chocolate, cakes, biscuits and fizzy drinks. Although they will give your body an instant energy rush when you eat them, after a short while your blood sugar levels will drop, and with them your energy levels too. This can make you feel irritable, more tired and lethargic. Although these sugary foods might be very tempting, keep them as a special treat and when you need something sweet, eat some fruit instead.
Next time, I’ll be talking about the foods that you’ve enjoyed as an energy boost and what foods you should avoid whilst breastfeeding.
Best wishes! - Helen
After Baby is born...
For those of you that have recently had your baby – Congratulations! Of course you’ve got plenty of things to be thinking about now that your baby’s arrived, but it’s really important that you give some thought to what foods you are eating.
29% of respondents from our HiPP Baby Club Survey said they felt more hungry as a new mum, so I would try and keep a selection of healthy snacks to hand to keep yourself ticking over between meals.
Recently, we have been working on a range of recipe booklets for mums-to-be, new mums, babies and toddlers. When
I was looking for recipes for the new mums’ recipe book I really tried to concentrate on keeping the recipes quick and easy to prepare and full of nutritious organic ingredients so that I could be confident that they would supply lots of wholesome nourishment.
If you would like a copy of this recipe book or any of the others in the series join the HiPP Baby Club and we’ll be sure to send one out to you.
Best wishes! - Helen
Tags: HiPP Organic, baby, born, eating, recipe, prepare, food, nutrition, Helen
Categories: About Hipp Organic, Pregnancy, Weaning
What to bring to eat when in labour
For those of you reaching the end of your pregnancy, you may well be thinking about packing your bag that you take with you when you go into labour and what snacks or drinks to put in.
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 labour that 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 fresh fruit, a sandwich or yogurt. Don’t worry about whether these foods are healthy or not, 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!
In our recent survey of HiPP babyclub members, over half of the mums asked ‘Did you eat anything during labour?’ said that they didn’t think of food at all or really couldn’t face eating anything during labour. But for those that did feel like eating something they generally only wanted to nibble on snacks. 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 help bring on labour, our survey suggests that spicy foods like a curry still seem to be a favourite, as does drinking red raspberry leaf tea or eating pineapple, but who knows if these really make a difference or not?!
Best wishes - Helen