HiPP Organic

HiPP's Baby & Nutrition Blog

Combining foods to make a balanced diet for your baby

Posted on 30 October 2012 by Helen

Hi,

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.
Helen

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Categories: Weaning, Baby development

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Follow on milks – to feed or not to feed?

Posted on 18 July 2012 by Helen

Hi Everyone!

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...
Helen

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Should you move your toddler onto a Growing up milk?

Posted on 18 July 2012 by Helen

Hi!

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.

Helen

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Friendly bacteria

Posted on 27 June 2012 by Helen

Hi everyone,

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....
Helen

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Importance of good dental hygiene for babies and young children

Posted on 23 September 2011 by Helen

Hi Everyone,

Babies are born with a preference for sweet-tasting foods and a baby’s sole source of nutrition for the first few months of life, breastmilk or infant formula, tastes sweet (with the sweetness coming from the carbohydrate lactose). But once weaning onto solids starts, whether your baby’s teeth have started to appear yet or not, it is important to limit the amount and frequency of sugars in their diet. Controlling sugars intake will help to ensure a baby eats a more balanced diet and does not put on too much weight, and will help reduce the risk of dental caries (decay). You can’t remove sugars from a baby’s diet completely and actually sugars can be a really useful source of energy in babies, especially with their small stomachs and high energy requirements. But it’s all about getting the balance right, introducing them to lots of different tastes, avoiding high-sugar foods and drinks, and giving sugar-containing foods and drinks at the right times.

Foods containing sugars should be eaten at mealtimes and should be avoided between meals to keep the risk of dental caries to a minimum. Milk and water remain the preferred drinks for babies and toddlers, but you can give diluted fruit juice as well occasionally at mealtimes. An advantage of fruit juices with vitamin C is that they help the body to absorb vitally necessary iron, but as they contain naturally occurring sugars they should be used sensibly. Try to introduce your baby to a feeding cup or beaker instead of a feeding bottle as early as possible to avoid prolonged contact of sugars with growing teeth.

Cleaning your baby’s teeth needs to become part of their daily routine as soon as teeth start erupting. Use a pea-sized amount of children’s fluoride toothpaste on a soft toothbrush or cloth, cleaning using small circular movements, front and back, in the morning and last thing before bed. Get your toddler used to going to the dentist too - start them off by coming with you for your check-up so that they can get used to the environment – dentists try hard to make children feel comfortable and will often give out stickers too!

For more information on diet and dental health have a look at the following links:-

 

Bye for now.
Helen

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