HiPP Organic

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Which fish? How much? When?

Posted on 23 January 2013 by Helen

Hi Everyone,

Last week a new scientific study from researchers at the University of Southampton found that babies born to mothers who had eaten more omega-6 polyunsaturated fats (found mainly in vegetable oils and nuts) during pregnancy had a greater fat mass. They suggested that reducing omega-6 intakes and increasing omega-3 polyunsaturated fat intakes (found mainly in fish oils) during pregnancy may have a beneficial effect on the body composition of the developing child (less fat and more muscle and bone).

For some time, public health messages have been that we should all be eating more fish in our diets and this new research seems to add more weight to this advice. But which fish are safe in pregnancy, whilst breastfeeding, and for babies and young children, and how much is recommended? The recommendations can be quite confusing, so I have summarised these in the table below:


Oily fish are an excellent source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fats and are important for pregnant women and during breastfeeding because they help a baby’s nervous system to develop.  However, oily fish and some white fish can contain some pollutants at low levels, so intake of these fish should be limited.

White fish and some shellfish e.g. squid, crab, mussels, are also a source of omega-3 fats but at much lower levels than oily fish.  White fish are low in total fat, making them a healthy option to red meat in the diet, and there are no restrictions on their intake.

Some fish should not be eaten at all by children, pregnant women and women who are trying to become pregnant because they contain more mercury than other fish – these are swordfish, shark and marlin.  Babies, children and pregnant women should also avoid raw shellfish to reduce the risk of getting food poisoning.

Does this make it clearer?! For some further reading about eating fish you might like to have a look at the following links:

Until next time,


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Categories: Pregnancy, Weaning, Baby development

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Combining foods to make a balanced diet for your baby

Posted on 30 October 2012 by Helen


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.


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Categories: Weaning, Baby development

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