Organic is the name of the game these days – especially for babies!
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.
Follow on milks – to feed or not to feed?
I often get asked whether a baby who is happily feeding on a ‘first infant milk’ needs to change onto a follow on milk when the baby reaches 6 months, or if a baby is switching from breastmilk to formula at 6 months or older whether they should use an infant milk or a follow on milk. There usually isn’t a definite answer to these questions and it will usually involve me asking the parent several other questions before I’ll give my advice, and even then it may not be a straightforward “yes” or “no” to using a particular milk formula.
Generally, if a bottle fed baby is happy on their infant milk there is usually no reason to change them onto a follow on milk just because they’ve reached the age of 6 months. Infant milks are perfectly suitable for babies from birth up to the age of 1 year and beyond, and they will provide valuable vitamins and minerals as well as energy and protein needed by babies throughout the weaning process. However, some parents seem keen to move their babies onto the next stage of formula at this age and I wouldn’t stop them from doing so.
Follow on Milks are intended for use from 6 months onwards when a baby has moved onto a mixed diet including a range of foods. If parents choose to switch their babies onto a follow on formula at this stage they will generally not have any problems with this, and the formula along with a variety of foods will meet the nutritional requirements of babies at this age.
A key nutritional advantage of follow on milks over infant milks is that they contain significantly more iron than infant milks (HiPP Organic Follow on milk contains twice as much iron as the first infant milk - 1mg vs 0.5mg iron per 100ml) and it is this characteristic of follow on milks that might lead me to actively encourage some parents to swap their babies from an infant to a follow on milk at 6 months onwards. Babies are born with a store of iron that generally lasts about 6 months (longer if baby is formula fed from an early age) and once this is depleted then external sources of iron (i.e. foods in the diet that are a good source of iron, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, pulses) are needed. In the absence of enough iron in the diet a baby is likely to become iron deficient which can make them tired and irritable and more susceptible to infections. A baby who doesn’t eat many iron-containing foods can really benefit from this extra iron in a formula.
For babies that have been exclusively breastfed up to 6 months there is a chance their iron stores may be very low. Weaning foods containing iron must be actively encouraged at this stage. If a mum wants to introduce formula feeding at this stage I would say an infant milk, which is closer to the composition of mature breastmilk, would be fine if sufficient iron sources are present in the weaning diet. However, choosing a follow on milk might on the other hand offer greater assurance that her baby’s iron requirements are going to be met and she might want to consider this instead.
So, if you’re in the situation of not knowing which formula to choose for your baby, I hope this helps. However, if you have any other specific queries you can always contact myself or one of the other health professionals on our team for advice at the following link.......
All the best...
Should you move your toddler onto a Growing up milk?
As your baby approaches his/her first birthday, you might start thinking about whether you should be keeping them on the same milk feeds or not. Although they need less of it, milk is still an important part of a toddler’s diet and provides them with valuable protein, energy, vitamins and minerals such as calcium. From the age of 1 year, they should be getting about ½-¾ pint (about 300-400 ml) milk each day. You shouldn’t let them drink much more than this as it reduces the appetite for other valuable foods.
Toddlers are often switched from formula milk feeds to whole cows’ milk at the age of one. But is this the best thing to do or are there any benefits in sticking with formula milk instead and if so which one should you use? Cows’ milk can give your toddler lots of the nutrients that he or she needs, but certain nutrients such as iron and vitamin D are found in much higher amounts in formula milks and this can been a nutritional advantage.
Toddlers are particularly susceptible to iron deficiency. It is estimated that 1 in 8 toddlers in the UK may be anaemic, with the problem being even greater than this in some groups. Babies are born with enough iron stores to last until about 6 months of age and after this they rely on food sources, but some toddlers may not eat enough of these iron-containing foods to meet their needs. Fussy eating during toddlerhood can certainly make the situation worse.
If your toddler is a fussy eater or their intake of iron-containing foods such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, lentils and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals is limited, then they could very well benefit from the continued use of a formula milk such as a Growing up Milk from the 12th month. These Growing up Milks usually contain 40 times more iron than whole cows’ milk. But this doesn’t mean that you can stop encouraging them to eat these other foods; variety is key to a healthier diet for your growing child.
For vitamin D is another nutrient that toddlers may be lacking. It is only found in a limited number of foods e.g. oily fish, eggs, fortified margarines and cereals, and although it can also be made by the action of sunlight on skin this synthesis may be reduced if the skin has limited exposure to sunlight (as a result of clothing worn, living conditions or use of sunscreens). Growing up Milks are fortified with vitamin D and can help safeguard toddlers against a deficiency of this vital vitamin which is important for the normal growth and development of bones and teeth and for nerve and muscle function.
For more advice on milk and other drinks at this age, you might want to have a look at the HiPP Baby Club website.
Bye for now.
A look around your supermarket will reveal an increasing number of foods on sale that contain probiotics, or ‘friendly bacteria’, such as live yogurts and fermented milk drinks. These ‘friendly bacteria’, when added to foods, are considered to have ‘a beneficial effect on the health and well being of the host’. They are different to ‘prebiotics’ which are found naturally in some foods, e.g. bananas, chicory, artichokes, and added to others which are not the bacteria themselves but non-digestible food components which stimulate the growth and/or activity of friendly bacteria in the gut.
The health claims that can be made for foods containing ‘friendly bacteria’ is severely limited by the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulations and so far none of the claims submitted to the European Food Standards Agency for inclusion in the ‘permitted health claims’ list have been approved, so it is likely to become increasingly difficult for consumers to get information and understand how these ‘friendly bacteria’ could benefit their health.
However, one food you won’t find on the supermarket shelves that does contain ‘friendly bacteria’ but is known to benefit health is human breastmilk. Once thought to be sterile, research in recent years has confirmed that breastmilk actually contains a wide range of bacteria, including lactic acid bacteria with probiotic potential, although the exact composition of this bacterial component of breastmilk varies between individual women.
By providing a continuous supply of bacteria to a baby through lactation, breastmilk plays a significant role in the initiation and development of the gut flora of an infant which doesn’t become fully developed until around the age of 2 years. Researchers believe it is the presence of ‘friendly bacteria’ in breastmilk that could help to explain why breastfed babies suffer from fewer and less severe infections and lower incidence of allergies than non-breastfed babies.
Until next time....
Losing weight after childbirth
It seems that not a week will go by without photos in the media showing celebrities looking super-slim shortly after the birth of their babies. Just last week Beyonce Knowles was looking slim and healthy 10 weeks after having her daughter, but if the stories are to believed this has only come about after a crippling 4 hour a day exercise programme and a restrictive diet of protein shakes, egg-white omelettes, pineapple chunks and lots of ice-cold water! Not something most of us would want or be able to do, I think.
But is this the best way to lose weight after birth? The concern is that these celebrity mums pressurise, although not intentionally, other women to lose weight too fast after the birth putting their health and well-being at risk. Crash dieting can have health consequences. As I'm sure many of you already know, having a baby is a tiring business and severely restricting your diet can only make this worse. A lack of energy will mean you won't be in the best state to look after your baby properly and it may well slow down your recovery from your pregnancy. Of course if you are breastfeeding it may well affect your breastmilk supply too.
Weight loss after birth takes time - a pregnancy usually takes 9 months and it can take at least this long to get your weight back to normal. Losing weight gradually can help mums to maintain a healthier weight in the long term, whereas crash diets don't encourage the best eating habits or healthy weight loss or maintenance.
The best advice is to eat a nutritious, varied diet from the start, eating when you are hungry, and not to even think about slimming for at least the first 6 weeks or so after your baby is born. Breastfeeding mums are often hungry and will need to eat more calories than a bottle feeding mum due to the demands of breastfeeding, but some of these extra calories can be met from using body fat stores, so breastfeeding can help with post-pregnancy weight loss. Have a look at our website for advice on eating well while breastfeeding.
Whether you are breastfeeding or not, it is important that you eat healthy meals and avoid eating too many high energy meals and snacks, and that you adjust your portion sizes to suit your appetite.
And don't expect to do 4 hours exercise a day. You can start to do some gentle exercise (walking, pelvic floor exercises, stretching) as soon as you feel up to it after your baby is born, but you should wait six weeks or so before taking up more strenuous exercise. Why not look at our website for some postnatal exercise tips?
Until next time.