Dairy for babies
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:
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.
Tags: dairy, cheese, yogurt, fromage frais, babies, baby, breast feeding, eating, drinks, gluten, healthy, Helen, Hipp Organic, iron, milk
Categories: Baby development, Milk feeding, Weaning
How much food should my baby be eating?
Well, this is an interesting question but as every baby is different there is no standard answer, whatever their age, so if you are wondering if your baby is getting enough foods I might not be able to set your mind at rest here I’m afraid :-(. However, there are some basic pointers we can use to work out how much food your little one should be eating and I hope you find these useful.
- Between 4-6 months of age, most babies can be satisfied by milk alone without the need for solid foods until 6 months.
- However, there are others who seem to need some solid foods before 6 months as milk alone doesn’t seem to satisfy them. Remember that even in these cases milk still provides most of the nourishment baby needs and usually only a few teaspoonfuls of food are needed at any mealtime. Of course, you can increase the amount of food gradually as baby gets used to it and seems to want more, but make sure they keep their milk intake at more-or-less the same level (babies at 4-5 months usually need about 900ml milk per day).
- From 6 months of age, the situation is a bit different. All babies will need to include a variety of different foods in their diets, including foods with a higher energy density than milk, to make sure their nutritional requirements are being met. As the amount of food given increases, at one then two and then three mealtimes, you will find that baby needs less milk to satisfy him/her. Once baby is on 3 reasonable meals a day, the volume of milk needed falls to about 600ml per day and you can usually cut out a milk feed or two. Offer other drinks instead e.g. water or diluted fruit juice, to ensure baby gets enough fluids.
- For quantities of foods, the best advice I can give is to be guided by your baby’s appetite. Don’t worry about giving your baby too much food – they will normally turn their heads and refuse to open their mouths when they are full.
- At the end of the day, as long as your baby is well and wetting and soiling his nappies regularly and is putting on weight steadily, it is likely that you are doing everything you need to do.
Does this help? Let me know.
Tags: babies, baby, drinks, eating, food, healthy, Helen, Hipp Organic, milk, nutrition, weaning
Categories: Baby development, Milk feeding, Weaning
The right age to wean a baby?
There’s been a lot of media coverage today about the best age to start weaning babies, with the question being raised whether current weaning advice to start at 6 months of age is appropriate for all babies. So what is the right age?
Although breastfeeding is undoubtedly the best way of feeding a baby for the first few months of life, the research team of highly respected paediatricians in the UK who have today published their report in the British Medical Journal believe that exclusive breastfeeding for the whole of the first 6 months of life might not be the best for all babies. From reviewing the latest evidence they believe this may increase the risk of food allergies and iron deficiency anaemia in some babies and that they would benefit from earlier weaning, sometime between 4-6 months of age. Recent reports from the European Food Safety Authority (2009) and the British Dietetic Association (2010) also acknowledge that some babies might be ready for weaning before 6 months and that it is safe to do so between four to six months.
The UK research team were keen to point out that they support the World Health Organisation’s advice for exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months for babies in developing countries where the circumstances are quite different to the UK, but from their review of the evidence accumulated since the publication of the WHO’s advice in 2001 they believe the official advice for the UK should now be revisited.
Other professional bodies and charities like the NCT are, however, standing by the current advice, whilst the Department of Health’s nutrition committee is due to report on infant feeding later this year. So it looks like the debate will continue for some time to come!
Lots of mums complain to me about the amount of conflicting advice they receive about infant feeding and I guess this latest media flurry isn’t going to help them one little bit. But, as always, I would advise that you discuss weaning with your health visitor and then choose the best age for your baby with them. Each baby is different and it’s foolish to think that weaning at exactly the same age is going to suit all babies, but what is important is that the powers-that-be look at the best evidence and come up with the best advice for babies to ensure they achieve optimal growth and development. Nobody can dispute that surely?!
Until next time....
Tags: babies, baby, breast feeding, eating, food, healthy, Helen, Hipp Organic, milk, nutrition, weaning
Categories: Baby development, Milk feeding, Weaning
When to introduce finger foods
I’m often asked when it is safe for babies to have ‘finger foods’. As soon as a baby is able to handle these foods properly and shows an interest in doing so is probably the best answer, and for most babies the fine finger control needed develops at around 7 months of age. Introducing some independent feeding using foods that baby can safely eat and which involve some chewing is fun and will help with speech development and the overall progress of babies towards family-type meals. Don’t worry if your baby hasn’t got any teeth yet, their gums are hard enough for them to manage many finger foods quite easily now.
You can choose a variety of nutritious finger foods of different shapes and colours for your baby to enjoy, offering some at each mealtime alongside their normal meal. Start off with softer foods such as pieces of ripe fruit e.g. banana, melon, mango, pear, or lightly cooked vegetables e.g. carrot sticks, broccoli florets, baby sweetcorn, and gradually as they become more competent you can try other foods like those listed below:-
- fingers of pitta bread, toast or bread, rice cakes
- cooked pasta shapes
- cooked pieces of chicken or turkey, or fish
- quarters of hard-boiled egg, or scrambled egg
- grated cheese or cubes of cheese
- dried fruits e.g. apricots, raisins, sultanas
- raw vegetables e.g. tomatoes, cucumber, peppers
- roasted vegetable pieces, e.g. parsnip, carrot, sweet potato
For a selection of dip recipes to try with some finger foods, have a look at the weaning recipes on the HiPP Baby Club.
HiPP Organic offers a variety of finger foods for different stages, including Little Nibbles Rice Cakes for your baby to enjoy.
But remember, always stay with your baby and make sure they are sitting up straight while they’re eating, and avoid giving hard foods such as raw carrot, apple or whole grapes until you are confident that they can handle them without the risk of choking.
Hope it goes well.
Tags: babies, baby, Babyclub, eating, food, healthy, Helen, Hipp Organic, nutrition, organic, recipe, snacks, weaning, finger foods
Categories: About Hipp Organic, Baby development, Weaning
Breastfeeding when returning to work
Someone asked me on Twitter if you can continue to breastfeed when returning to work and the answer is definitely yes.
Obviously it will depend on how many hours that you work and the times of the day that you will not be around to feed your baby that will determine how you will work around this. It will also depend on the age of your baby as to how workable this will be, with babies over 6 months being easier to leave with bottles generally as they are getting used to foods other than milk at this time too.
If possible you may well choose to breastfeed your baby before you go to work and then leave either expressed breastmilk or formula to be given to your baby at other feeds until you return from work. You will then be able to continue to breastfeed for the rest of the day.
It is important to remember that the volume of breastmilk your body produces is determined by the level of demand, so if you're giving your baby less of your milk the amount you produce will also reduce. Expressing milk will help to maintain this supply but if you are giving formula feeds then this supply will diminish. However, combination feeding can be very successful as long as the demand for breastfeeds continues.
Hope this helps, let me know if you have any more questions.
Have a nice weekend,