HiPP Organic

HiPP's Baby & Nutrition Blog

Expert mums pick their top five must-haves for weaning (plus three items you can probably do without)

Posted on 24 June 2016 by Lindsay

At some point between 4 and 6 months of age, you’ll probably start to notice a change in your baby’s behaviour. For instance, you’ll no longer be able to take a bite of your dinner without a small pair of eyes watching intently – sometimes accompanied by a small hand reaching for your fork! If your little one is also sitting up unaided and can grab a bit of your dinner and get it to their mouth successfully, chances are good you’re ready to start the weaning journey!

As with many aspects of modern parenthood, this seems to come with a bewildering variety of gear... and, as you’ve got some parenting experience under your belt by now, you’ve probably twigged that not all of it will get much use. Which is why we’ve collected advice from lots of veteran mums to help you choose what you really, really need – and what you don’t.

Here are their top five must-have picks:

  1. A high-chair. Keeping an active baby in one place is a must for messy activities like eating (and believe us, it WILL get messy!) A good high-chair doesn’t need to be expensive, though – often simple is better. It just needs to be really easy to clean... preferably with a hose in the back garden. (And no, we’re not really kidding here.)
  2. Several bibs. Yes, you could always strip your little darling down to a nappy for all meals, but when that’s not practical, a good full-coverage bib will save you a lot of washing! Look for one with sleeves that you can chuck in the wash when you’re finished. These tend to be more pricey than the smaller version, but you’ll probably be using them for messy-play coverups for at least a couple of years, so they’re worth the investment.
  3. Floor protection. Did we mention there will be mess? Unless you really love your mop and bucket, you might want to use some sort of drop-sheet under the high chair to catch crusts, crumbs and general splatter. Again, this doesn’t need to be pricey – a cheap shower curtain will do the trick, and that way you can just shake off the big bits and pop it in the washing machine when mealtime’s over. (If all else fails, we’ve heard a Labrador does the trick, too.)
  4. Some small, soft spoons. At the beginning, your baby will still be learning how to chew and swallow solid food, so big bites are not really the go. Weaning spoons are small and shallow, perfect for getting little tastes into little mouths. (Having several is key; not only do they frequently end up on the floor, you may well need one for you and one for your baby to avoid grabbiness!)
  5. A steamer. Whether you use it to cook up veg for pureeing, or to make steamed carrot sticks as finger food, a good steamer can be a weaning parent’s best friend. Microwave steamers and traditional bamboo steamer baskets are inexpensive and easy to use, or you might prefer to buy an insert that will work with your existing saucepans. 

 

Three things you can probably leave on the shelf:

  1. That fancy multi-function electrical baby-food steamer/processor/steriliser you’ve had your eye on. Not only do gadgets like this cost a mint, they are among the most likely items to languish unused in your cupboard (even before you’ve finished weaning your little one!) Babies tend to figure out this whole eating lark pretty efficiently, and it’s not long before you’ll be feeding them a version of what you eat yourself, rather than ultra-smooth purees.
  2. Fancy high-chairs with lots of padding. Yes, they look lovely and comfortable... but all those folds of material are a beast to keep clean. And your little one isn’t likely to want to spend long enough in the high chair to need the “recline” feature.
  1. Large pots for freezing extra puree. If you make more than you need, or open a jar and only use half, a standard silicone ice-cube tray is your best bet for freezing. That way, you can pop out and store the cubes, and take out only as many as you need for the next meal.

Note: If you’re planning to freeze jarred food, make sure you don’t dip into the jar with your baby’s spoon while feeding; this can introduce bacteria that could make the leftovers unsafe. Instead, use a clean spoon to take out only what you need, then freeze what’s left in your ice cube tray. As there can be hygiene risks when freezing foods and again when defrosting them. 

HiPP does not recommend freezing their baby foods.  However, should you wish to freeze HiPP foods, it is important that you take the utmost care when handling the food, ensuring hands and all utensils are thoroughly cleaned beforehand.

Rating:

Tags:

Categories:

Actions: Permalink | Comments (0)

How to breakfast like a champion...baby & toddler-style!

Posted on 13 June 2016 by Lindsay

It’s an old cliché that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – but it’s got a grain of truth to it, especially when it comes to little ones!

Why? Young children have very small stomachs, so by the time they wake up in the morning, the food they ate at dinner last night is long gone. A nutritious breakfast will refuel them with plenty of energy to get the day off to a good start – and because tiny tummies fill up so much faster, it’s extra-important to make sure that their breakfast also gives them other nutrients growing bodies need, like vitamins, minerals (especially calcium and iron), and protein.

What’s more, getting your child used to eating a nutritious breakfast will help to make it a life-long habit – and studies show that kids who consistently eat breakfast are much more likely to meet their daily nutritional requirements. Kids who skip breakfast, on the other hand, unfortunately don’t tend to make up for those missed nutrients later in the day.

Nobody wants a grumpy child to deal with, so it’s a good thing that a nutritious breakfast has also been shown to improve children’s moods, as well as their concentration and mental performance (which will come in quite handy in a few years when they start school!) Eating well in the morning can also help ward off cravings for unhealthy foods later on – which, in turn, will come in handy when you’re running the treat-filled gauntlet that is the checkout queue at the supermarket.

So what does the perfect small-person breakfast look like? We’re glad you asked! Here are the basic building blocks. (Younger babies who are still weaning might have just a few tastes from one or two of these groups, while toddlers usually love choosing from a plate of finger-food options; as long as it’s all healthy, it’s a win-win for everyone!)

  • Starchy foods such as cereals or bread. The best options have a little bit of fibre and low or no added sugar.
  • Fruit and veg. Breakfast is the perfect time to get a head start on your little one’s 5-a-day; try chopped fruit alongside their cereal, or maybe tomatoes or mushrooms on toast.
  • Milk and dairy. Yogurt and milk are a treasure-trove of calcium, protein, and vitamins – all of which makes them a valuable addition to the breakfast menu.
  • Protein-rich foods. Eggs and baked beans are great breakfast options, and the protein they contain is important to fuel the rapid growth young children are doing.
  • Drinks. Young babies still get a lot of their hydration from milk, but toddlers are extremely busy little people, so keeping them hydrated can be a challenge. Offering a cup or beaker of milk, diluted fruit juice, or water at breakfast will give you a head start.

But what if you’re eating and running? We all know that there are mornings when you need to get the day off to a flying start – maybe you’re off to childcare, or have an appointment to get to. Relax, we’ve got you covered. Our delicious new porridge pouches for 6 months+ are a perfect on-the-go choice for younger ones, and we’ve created two fun (and nutritious) new cereals that are sure to catch your toddler’s fancy – Fruity O’s and Fruity Muesli with Crispy Ducks.  (Psst... if you’re really in a hurry, the O’s make perfect finger food!)

Now, about your breakfast...

 

Rating:

Tags:

Categories:

Actions: Permalink | Comments (0)

Eleven things you probably will need in your hospital bag (and four you almost certainly won’t)

Posted on 7 June 2016 by Lindsay


By the time you enter your third trimester, your thoughts will probably be starting to turn toward what comes next: actually having the baby! It’s a topic that preoccupies most pregnant women at some point – we tend to spend a lot of time mulling over the specifics of birth plans, considering the various merits of exercise balls and birth pools, and trying to decide when it’s okay to yell for an epidural. (Hint: If you feel the need, then it’s pretty much automatically okay.)

We also tend to read lots of articles like this one, all about how to pack for what’s likely to be the most life-changing trip you’ll ever take. (No pressure!) The trick is to make sure you have what you definitely will need, and leave out what you probably will never use. And to make sure we’ve given you the best advice, we’ve asked a few dozen experienced mums to help us out, based on their own experience. Because when you need to know the honest truth, who else would you ask but a mother?

 Here is our panel’s hand-picked list of top things to pack in your hospital bag:

  1. Baby clothes, and a warm baby blanket. You’ll almost certainly need more teeny-weeny outfits, hats and nappies than you think – newborns can be messy little mites, and you’ll still be figuring out the art of the nappy change and the post-feed spit-up. Aim for at least 4-6 sleepsuits/babygrows, a couple of hats, plus muslins, baby wipes, nappy disposal sacks and a pack of newborn nappies (unless your hospital provides them; it’s worth checking, as they take up a lot of room!) You may also want to bring a couple of onesies that are bigger and smaller than you think you’ll need, just in case.
  2. A nightshirt or nightgown for you. No, we don’t mean anything frilly – more like your oldest, softest, most comforting bit of nightwear. The one you reach for when you’re coming down with something and just want to feel cosy. Believe us, it’ll come in handy. You may also want to throw in a pajama top or nightdress that opens at the front if you’re planning to breastfeed.
  3. Several pairs of knickers and socks. The same rationale goes here – you want to pack the large, comfy granny undies, preferably some old enough that you won’t mind if you need to chuck them in the bin afterwards (or go for the disposable kind). Warm socks can be your best friend if you end up walking the halls to get your labour going.
  4. A hand-held, battery-powered fan. This might sound like an unnecessary luxury, but many of our mums said it turned out to be the best thing in their bag, especially during the hard work of pushing.

    Take a hand held mini fan and extra batteries for your birthing partner to hold near you - a must for keeping cool when pushing ...My daughter said it was the best item I bought for her bag.”
  5. Maternity pads – lots of ‘em. The birth may be over in a matter of hours, but your body is going to take some time to recover – and parts of that can get a bit messy. In the first few weeks postpartum, you’ll have what’s known as lochia – which is basically your hard-working uterus tidying up after the big job of giving birth. It’s like a very heavy period, and normal pads just won’t cut it – trust us. (Tampons are also a no-go at this time; not only will you not want to use one, it’s not a good idea while your uterus is healing.)
  6. Toiletries. It may well be the last thing on your mind during labour, but before long, you’re really, really going to want to have a shower. Pack as you would for a long weekend away: shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, deodorant, hairbrush, toothbrush/toothpaste, plus any regular medications you’ll need. If your hair is long, a few hair bobbles could be a real lifesaver, and many mums find lip salve and nipple cream are a must.

    Vaseline is great for around your stitches if you have an episiotomy, and it also works wonders for getting sticky meconium off your baby’s bum!”
  7. Mobile phone charger. If you’re like us, you’ll probably remember to bring your phone, but you’ll need the charger, too. (Your relatives will never forgive you if your battery runs out before they get a picture of the new arrival!) Don’t forget to program in the numbers of the maternity unit, your midwife, and anyone you’ll want to ring after the baby is born.
  8. Clothes to go home in. You probably won’t need to plan this for fashion photo-ops, à la Kate Middleton, but you’ll want a clean, comfortable outfit to go home in. Pick something you wore at around 6 months pregnant to make sure it’s roomy enough – your abs won’t be back to their pre-baby shape for a while yet. You’ll also need a maternity or nursing bra, and probably some nursing pads (even if you’re not planning to breastfeed, they’ll come in handy for containing leaks).
  9. Paperwork. Print a couple of copies of your birth plan, if you have one, so your midwife and attending nurse can keep it handy. (We have a handy template you can use!) You may also want to print a copy or two of a feeding chart template (Mummypages.co.uk have a nice, simple breastfeeding tracker and input-output chart to download, or you can use an app on your phone). This may seem like a bit of a faff now, but when you’re sleep-deprived, having a written record is a wonderful thing!

    “Don’t forget your maternity notes!! I left mine at home – my husband had to go back for them and almost missed the birth!”
  10. Treats, and/or change to buy them with. Don’t underestimate the value of a bar of chocolate or a packet of your favourite salty snacks, especially if it’s 3am, you’re desperate for an energy hit, and everything in the hospital is closed. A sports drink can also be useful for quick energy, especially if your midwife doesn’t want you to eat in the second stage of labour.


I packed three bags: one each for me, my husband and the baby. My husband's bag was such a good idea - I put in snacks, drinks, a fan, magazines, and paracetamol in case of headaches due to the hot wards! Plus a change of clothes for everyone, toothbrush, etc. I was in labour for 3 days, so we both used lots of the hospital bag stuff!”

  1. A towel – preferably a black one. This is an item that’s all too easy to forget, but you may well not be given one in the hospital. A dark colour is best, as bleeding is a fact of life in the postpartum period (see lochia, above).

Phew, looks like a lot, doesn’t it? Never fear, we’ve also come up with a few items you can probably leave out if you need to save space. Our expert panel of mums found these were the most likely to languish unused in the bottom of the hospital bag:

  1. Massage oil. A lovely massage during labour with some lavender-scented oil just sounds so nice, doesn’t it? Only problem is, it almost never happens – so unless your partner is a massage therapist (in which case, we’re officially jealous!) you can probably leave this out.
  2. A breast pump. Ask your hospital if you’re unsure about this one, but in our experience, they’re bulky to bring along, and your midwife can usually get you one in hospital if you need it.
  3. A dressing gown. You’ll see this on a lot of “must-have” lists, and it’s certainly up to you – but in our mums’ experience, they take up a lot of room, and you’re more likely to be too hot than too cold. A nice soft cardigan is less bulky, and more versatile.
  4. Motivational CDs. Again, totally up to you – they don’t weigh much, so you may want to bring them for moral support if nothing else. But our mums found they didn’t get much use on the big day.

It’s a good idea to get all this sorted at least a few weeks before you’re due (whether or not you’re planning on a hospital birth – remember, things don’t always go to plan!) If it’s looking like way too much to lug in whilst you’re in labour, you can divide it between a “labour bag” to bring in first thing, and a “post-delivery bag” to keep in the car and send your partner or a helper out for later on. Oh, and if you’re driving, don’t forget to install the car seat well in advance!

 

Do you agree with our panel of mums? What was your can’t-do-without item during labour? Or the thing you brought but never used? Let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter (#HiPPlabouressentials) or Facebook!

Rating:

Tags:

Categories:

Actions: Permalink | Comments (0)

Seven ways to help convince your baby to drink from a bottle – at least some of the time!

Posted on 27 May 2016 by Lindsay

As a way of nourishing your baby, breastfeeding has a huge number of advantages: it’s efficient, natural, convenient and gives your baby the best possible nutrition – not to mention being free! But it does have one potential drawback: the person with the breasts needs to be on hand for every feed. Which, let’s face it, isn’t always possible.

If you’ve got a big occasion coming up, or you’re facing the end of your maternity leave, you’ll be familiar with this dilemma. The obvious solution is to teach your baby to take some feeds from a bottle – but for many breast-fed babies, this proves to be easier said than done. And to be fair, we can understand their reluctance: why on earth would they want to take milk from a rubber nipple when the real thing is just a few layers of clothing away?

Never fear, we’re here to help! Whether your baby is on a full-fledged nipple strike, or you’re just not sure how to go about introducing a bottle, here are a few strategies to help make this transition a bit easier.

  1. Start by pumping. If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, you might not have been doing much of this, but it’s a good idea to start using a breast pump or hand express some of your milk in between feeds. For one thing, your baby is a whole lot more likely to accept a different way of eating if the taste is familiar! Building up a store of breastmilk in the freezer will also give you more flexibility once your baby is used to taking some bottle feeds from a caregiver. Stored milk can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days at 40 or lower. It can also be stored for 6 weeks in the ice compartment or or for up to 6 months in a freezer. Defrost the milk in the fridge and once it is thawed use it straight away.


Note: It’s generally a good idea to wait until your baby is at least 4 weeks old (the UNICEF guidelines say “a little older”) and your supply is well-established before you start storing expressed milk for bottle feeding. This will also help avoid ‘nipple confusion’ while your young baby is still learning to breastfeed efficiently.

  1. Go nipple shopping. Yes, this is a thing! If you’ve never browsed the bottle-feeding section before, you may be surprised at how many options there are. A good rule of thumb is to look for teats in a shape that’s similar to your own breast, with a good-sized bit at the end for your baby to latch onto. If your baby is still fairly young, choosing a low flow rate will help avoid spluttering. Many mums find they need to try multiple brands before finding one their baby will accept, so it’s a good idea to buy several types to test. Remember to check the teats regularly as they can perish after a while and this could present a choking hazard.

    Don’t forget that you’ll also need to buy several bottles, a bottle brush to wash them with, and sterilising equipment.
  2. Enlist a helper. It should come as no surprise that many babies are much more reluctant to take a bottle from Mum; after all, they’re no dummies, and they know the good stuff is right there! Asking your partner or caregiver to introduce the bottle instead can really help with getting your baby to accept it, especially if that bottle contains your breastmilk. (Plus, it gives these other important people a new and wonderful role in your baby’s life!)
  3. Be a bit of a tease. When you think about it, it’s completely understandable for your baby to be a bit confused by having a rubber nipple; after all, he has no way of understanding that this is another way to get food! Squeezing a drop of milk onto the outside of the nipple will let him smell and taste it, and sometimes this is all it takes. Hold the baby close as you would whilst breastfeeding and allow him to lap on the teat and draw it in himself as this is much more natural. Look into your baby’s eyes when feeding feeding as this helps them to feel safe and loved.
  4. Mix it up a little. It’s important that there is consistency in who is feeding the baby in the 1st year. Try and limit the number of people feeding your baby to as few as possible to help you baby develop that all important strong attachment to their primary caregivers. If your baby is used to sitting in the same chair when you breastfeed, and/or nursing in one or two favourite positions, one way to combat bottle reluctance is to change the scene a bit. Ask whoever is giving the bottle to move to a different room, or hold your baby in a different position... or even walk around while feeding. If your baby isn’t getting those familiar breastfeeding cues, she may be more willing to give the bottle a try.
  5. Play it cool. Some babies prefer all their milk at body temperature, but others seem to prefer bottle feeds to be cooler. If your little one just isn’t having a bar of a warm bottle, it might be worth popping it under cold water for a few minutes and then trying again. (Keep in mind, though, that you shouldn’t save or re-warm the milk after doing this.) Made-up formula should be used within two hours at room temperature or four hours in a cool bag with an ice-pack. Remember to make up a feed only when pour baby needs it.
  6. Change your tack altogether. Some exceptionally determined babies are really very good at refusing a bottle in any shape or form. If this sounds like your little one, it might be a better bet to try offering some breastmilk in a soft-spouted baby beaker, or even from a spoon. Slightly older babies may even be happier switching straight to a cup.

NEVER LEAVE YOUR BABY ALONE WITH A BOTTLE OF MILK AS THERE IS A RISK THEY MIGHT CHOKE.

As with many aspects of parenthood, patience is the key here. It may help to know that most babies need a bit of time to get used to the idea of a bottle before they agree to give it a try! Starting ‘bottle training’ a few weeks before your big event or your return to work will give you both plenty of time to ease into the transition, which will hopefully lead to fewer tears from everyone!

 

Got any clever bottle feeding strategies to share? We’d love to know what worked for you! Get in touch via the comments section below, or you can catch up with us on Twitter or Facebook.

Rating:

Tags:

Categories:

Actions: Permalink | Comments (0)

Getting up in the night and dealing with sleep deprivation

Posted on 24 May 2016 by Lindsay

 

It’s something every parent knows, and there’s no sugarcoating it: Having a baby means you will be tired. Sometimes more tired than you knew it was possible to be. Your new addition has a tiny stomach and an even tinier bladder, so waking in the night is pretty much a given (and in the early days, it tends to be more like two or even three times a night!)

Still, there are millions of apparently sane parents in the world... so how do they do it?

Here are some of our best tips for dealing with night wakings:

  • Know what you’re dealing with. It can help to understand why young babies wake so often (no, they’re not doing it to torment you!) In addition to having tiny tummies, babies also sleep differently to adults. We spend most of our sleeping time in deep sleep, but babies alternate between deep sleep and lighter sleep periods – which means they wake more easily. And when they do wake, they may not have the skills to go back to sleep on their own... or they may realise they’re hungry, or have a wet nappy.

Falling asleep is a skill, and if your baby can learn that skill during the daylight hours, it will be easier for you in the middle of the night. Try putting your little one down in the cot or bassinet for daytime naps when he or she is drowsy, but still awake. A calm word, a stroke or a lullaby may be all you need to help settle your baby for naptime.

None of this can completely prevent the sleeplessness, of course, but it can help to think of night waking as a normal part of having a new baby. No, it’s not fun... but it does end (and boy, does that first full night of sleep feel good!)

  • Set the stage. Another thing your baby is still working out is the difference between night and day, so it can help to keep night-time feeds or nappy changes quiet and brief, and keep the lighting very dim. This helps give the cue that night time isn’t the right time for playing.
  • Fill ‘er up. Some parents find that giving their baby a brief, half-awake “dream feed” late in the evening helps top up the tummy and leads to a longer night-time sleep. If you’re being roused several times a night, this technique might be worth a try.
  • Experiment with your sleeping arrangements. Putting your baby in his or her own cot isn’t the only option out there. If you’re comfortable with the concept, co-sleeping can help some mums and babies get more rest, especially if they’re breastfeeding. (Make sure you’re familiar with the current safety recommendations from NICE and the Lullaby Trust before you try co-sleeping.)

    If three in a bed is too much, but a cot seems too far away, you can also try a bassinet that’s designed to sit next to the bed, putting you in arm’s reach for a quick feed and a speedy return to sleep. (However, it’s important to make sure this type of bed conforms to British safety standards.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
  • Be prepared. If you’re breastfeeding, keep a glass or jug of water near where you’ll be feeding, and have nappies nearby to streamline night feeds. If you’re bottle-feeding, you can have sterilised bottles at the ready (with the cap and retaining ring in place to keep them sterile). You can also pre-measure the formula powder into a small, clean, dry container, which can save a good bit of midnight fumbling.

    The one part of bottle-feeding you can’t do very well in advance, unfortunately, is boiling the water; it needs to be hot when you add the formula powder in order to kill any harmful bacteria. However, if you tend to be VERY bleary-eyed at 3am, you can store boiled water in a vacuum flask (one that’s clean and used only for your baby). If the flask is full and securely sealed, the water will stay above 700 C for several hours. (Remember to cool the bottle before giving it to your baby by holding the bottom half under running water, and always test the temperature before feeding!)
  • Divide and conquer. The way you handle night feeds will depend on your family situation, but many parents divvy up the night hours to maximise rest for the most exhausted one (sorry to say, this is usually Mum!) Bottle feeding can, of course, be done by either parent, but even if you’re breastfeeding, you can always hand your baby over to your partner for a nappy change and a lullaby, while you drop straight back into the blissful Land of Nod.

    If you’ve decided together that one of you will handle all the night feeds, you might consider making weekends that person’s “catch-up time” to have a lie-in while the other partner takes care of the baby. Or if your partner is a night owl, you might head to bed early to get a few hours’ uninterrupted snoozing before the night shift begins. If you think it might work for you, it’s probably worth a try!

Whatever system you use, it’s worth remembering that while it can sometimes seem like this sleep-deprived time will never end, most babies start to sleep for longer periods by about three months... so mark your calendars, the end is in sight!

 

Have you made it through the sleepless nights, and got the t-shirt to prove it? What were your best strategies? Please do share them with us (and some very grateful newbie mums!) on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below.

Rating:

Tags:

Categories:

Actions: Permalink | Comments (0)