Importance of good dental hygiene for babies and young children
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.
Healthy eating for babies and toddlers
The key to healthy eating for your babies and toddlers is variety! No one food can give them every nutrient they need, and a wide range of food tastes and textures experienced now will help ensure they have a healthier diet as they grow older. There are so many different foods readily available to us these days that, even if your baby has likes and dislikes, it should be possible to provide your baby with a varied, wholesome diet. Don’t worry if they go through phases of only wanting the same foods; this sometimes happens, but keep offering more different tastes along the way.
A healthy diet is one made up from a mixture of the 5 different food groups shown below:
Starchy foods - Every baby or toddler meal should be based on starchy foods such as rice, pasta, potatoes, bread, chapatti, cereals, yam or plantain (and offer starchy foods at some snack times).
Fruit and Veg - At every one of the mealtimes include some sort of fruit and/or vegetables. Aim for 5 portions per day and choose as many different colours of fruit and veg as possible.
Protein - Once weaning is established, aim to give two to three servings of ‘protein' foods such as meat, fish, eggs, beans or pulses, each day.
Dairy - Give them about three servings a day of dairy products such as milk, yogurt or cheese. From 6 months up to around the age of one year, your baby should be drinking about 500ml milk (breast or formula) per day, but this should decrease to around 360ml for toddlers from 1 year onwards.
Fats or sugar - Foods that are high in fat and/or sugar can be a valuable source of the extra energy that babies and toddlers need, but should only be given in limited quantities.
Of course, as weaning progresses and your baby reaches the end of their first year, the range of different foods they can eat should have increased. There is lots of helpful advice on feeding a balanced diet to your toddler, you might also like to visit the Little People Plates website.
Diabetes in children
14th November every year is World Diabetes Day, a globally-celebrated event to increase awareness of diabetes. This date is chosen because it marks the birthday of Frederick Banting who co-discovered insulin with Charles Best in 1922.
Insulin is a hormone, produced in the pancreas, which in diabetes is either not produced in enough quantities or the body isn’t able to use properly. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, and insulin helps this glucose in the blood get into the cells of the body where it is converted into energy. In diabetes, sugar levels in the blood build up and this can cause all sorts of problems.
The most common type of diabetes in children is ‘Type 1 diabetes’ and this needs to be treated with daily insulin injections and a carefully controlled diet in order to bring blood glucose levels within a healthy range. This type of diabetes cannot be cured and the exact cause remains a mystery. Thankfully, diabetes in children is a relatively uncommon disease, but the overall incidence of diabetes amongst children is rising. In recent years there has been the emergence of children suffering from another form of diabetes known as ‘Type 2 diabetes’, which is associated with increased levels of obesity and unhealthy diets. This form of the disease can usually be treated with lifestyle changes, including a healthier diet and more exercise.
Early warning symptoms of Type 1 diabetes include thirst, tiredness, weight loss, stomach aches and frequent urination. Diagnosis will be followed up with specialist care by specifically trained medical staff and a specialist dietitian. Diabetic children can eat exactly the same food as non-diabetics, but it is essential the diet is balanced and healthy, and particular care must be taken to balance the amounts of carbohydrate in the diet with the insulin injections the child receives. Exercise also plays an important role in all children with diabetes.
Of course, this isn’t the time or place to go into more details about the specific details of raising a child with diabetes, but if you’re interested in finding out more why not visit the following links:
Bye for now,
Tags: babies, healthy, Helen, Hipp Organic, nutrition, symptoms, insulin, diabetes, glucose, sugar, carbohydrates, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes
Categories: Baby development