Not eating for two, staying healthy for two!
Looking after yourself during your pregnancy is important for you and will also give your baby the best start in life. I believe, and I hope you will all agree, that making sure your diet is as good as it can be makes good sense at this special time, to optimise your own health and also that of your growing baby.
During pregnancy, you should eat as wide a variety of different foods as possible to make sure you get all the nourishment you both need. Where there might be concerns that dietary intake might not be enough to meet requirements then supplements are recommended. This is considered to be the case with folic acid which is so important in the early stages of pregnancy, and vitamin D supplements are recommended nowadays too. Speak to your doctor if you want more information on vitamin supplements, or if it’s easier then the NHS website is really helpful.
For advice on healthy eating during pregnancy, rather than me listing it all out here, can I ask you to visit the HiPP website.
Here you will find lots of valuable information about your pregnancy diet, foods to avoid, recipes to try and what to do if you have concerns about food allergies. And if you have any questions that you can’t find answers for, you can always ask either me or one of my colleagues and we will be more than happy to help if we can.
Good luck with your pregnancy.
Until next time...
Preparing for pregnancy with a healthy diet
Whether you’re planning your first baby or you’re thinking about having another, a healthy diet makes good sense for both you and your partner. Your eating, weight and lifestyle habits have a significant influence on your health, your fertility and once you’ve become pregnant on the growth and development of your unborn baby.
Now is a great time to reassess your diet and to check that you are eating a wide variety of healthy foods. You need to have a good balance between starchy carbohydrate foods; moderate amounts of protein foods; low fat dairy products and plenty of fruits and vegetables. A healthy balanced diet should supply you with all the nutrients you need, but one vitamin that is particularly important pre-conceptually and in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is folic acid and so you should take extra folic acid (400mcg/day) in the form of a supplement during this time.
There are also a couple of other nutrients that need special attention at this time. You should make sure you’re eating enough iron-rich foods to build up your body stores in preparation for your pregnancy, so include red meat, fish, poultry, beans, dark green leafy vegetables and wholegrain cereals regularly. Omega 3 fatty acids play a critical role in the development of the brain and nervous system of a baby so it is a good idea to top up your stores of these too by eating two portions of fish per week (at least one of these portions as oily fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel).
Both you and your partner should reduce your alcohol intakes in line with official recommendations and aim for a healthy weight. Being a healthy body weight can help you to conceive – being very underweight or obese can reduce your chances of conceiving, and being obese while pregnant can increase the risk of complications. And for your partner, it is worth checking the diet contains enough zinc and selenium containing foods as these have been shown to be linked with sperm quality. Lean red meat, wholegrain cereals, seafood and eggs are good sources of these nutrients.
If you want to read more, here are two good links which you may find useful:
Until next time....
Tags: carbohydrates, dairy, healthy, iron, minerals, obesity, pregnant, prepare, preparing for baby to arrive, supplements, vitamins, zinc
Does my baby or toddler need vitamin or mineral supplements?
Of course, none of us want our kids to be missing out on anything important in their diets and if there is a risk that they might not be getting enough of any particular vitamin or mineral we will probably want to give them a supplement of some sort, so when are supplements necessary?
In fact, the Government recommends that all children between 6 months and 5 years are given vitamin drops containing vitamins A, C and D. Even if your child is eating a wide variety of different foods, giving this vitamin supplement can safeguard them against vitamin deficiencies and so makes good sense.
A couple of important considerations –
- If you are breastfeeding your baby and you didn’t take a vitamin D supplement during pregnancy, you may be advised to give your baby a vitamin D supplement from 1 month of age, not 6 months
- If your baby is formula fed and is drinking more than 500ml formula per day, they will be getting the vitamins they need from this formula and so you won’t actually need to give them any extra vitamin supplements until they’re drinking less formula.
- It’s important to remember that too much of some vitamins is as harmful as not enough, so don’t give your baby two vitamin supplements at the same time.
Ask you health visitor for advice on which vitamin drops to use and if you’re eligible for free vitamin supplements for your baby.
Unlike vitamins, most babies won’t need mineral supplements.
One mineral parents often worry about is ‘iron’, but if your baby is eating some meat or fish every day, and eating other foods that are a good source of iron, such as fortified breakfast cereals, dark green vegetables, bread, beans and lentils, eggs, dried fruits (eg. apricots, figs and prunes), then they are likely to be getting enough iron to meet their needs. But if you are still concerned about your baby's iron intake, talk to your doctor and if they think a supplement is necessary then they can advise you on which one to give.
For most babies, milk and other dairy products will provide all the calcium a baby needs, but if your baby has a milk intolerance then it’s worth checking with your doctor if they are likely to be getting enough calcium and if a supplement is necessary.
I hope this helps. Until next time…
How much fruit and veg should baby eat a day?
I often get asked “how much fruit and veg should my baby be having a day?” For adults and older children the message is pretty clear and can be seen everywhere – on supermarket shelves, food labels, TV and magazine adverts, healthy eating literature, websites (see below) – eat 5 portions a day, each portion being 80g.
Visit the NHS website - 5 a day
Although fruits and vegetables are staple foods during weaning and it’s hard to imagine most babies not getting enough, as yet health departments in the UK haven’t quantified the recommended fruit and veg intakes for babies and so parents often don’t know whether their little ones are getting enough.
Fruit and veg are full of lots of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fibre, and to make sure your baby benefits from the full array of nutrients these foods have to offer it makes good sense to include lots of different types - a mix of green vegetables (e.g. broccoli, cabbage, green beans), yellow or orange vegetables (e.g. carrots, squash, swede, sweet potato), and fruits (e.g. apricots, mangoes, bananas, peaches). Include some fruit and veg at every meal if possible, and aim for 5 servings a day, but don’t worry if some days, especially at the start of weaning, this is less.
With regards to portion sizes for babies, official advice only says that the amount is smaller than the adult recommendation of 80g, but how much smaller? The Caroline Walker Trust has recently published advice on portion sizes for toddlers aged 1-4 years and they quote 40g fruit/veg as a portion. They are publishing advice on infant portion sizes later in the year but until this is available, my thinking is that 30-35g makes a sensible portion size. This equates to approximately half a small pear, apple, banana or peach; one small plum; one small carrot or parsnip; 3 cauliflower florets; 1 tablespoon peas. Most HiPP Organic baby foods contain 1-2 fruit or veg portions per jar or pot, so they can really help boost fruit and veg intakes.
Let me know whether you think your baby is getting enough.......
Best wishes - Helen
Pregnancy and healthy eating
I’m really getting quite excited about this new blog of mine! It was great to hear back from you all about your own experiences on the last post and I’m hoping I can pass onto you all some really useful nutritional advice!
As I mentioned to you in my last post, we recently did a survey with the HiPP Baby Club members and one of the first questions we asked pregnant mothers was ‘Are you following any guidelines on what you should eat during pregnancy?’ Half of the respondents said they have only followed some of the guidelines and have been quite relaxed about their diets, whilst just over a quarter said they have followed their natural instincts on what they should be eating. This left less than a quarter saying they have followed the guidelines religiously. This got me thinking, are health professionals like myself and the Government overloading mums-to-be with advice on what to eat/not to eat during pregnancy and if we were to prioritise, what are the most important bits of dietary advice for pregnant mums?
I believe, and I’m sure you will all agree, that as a parent the most important thing always is to make sure your baby is safe. For this reason I would say that you should definitely follow the advice to avoid certain foods on food safety grounds e.g. raw meat/eggs, unpasteurised cheese, certain fish. Why not download a copy of our Foods to avoid card from our Baby Club that gives a ready-reckoner on what foods you should not eat during your pregnancy.
On top of that, I would definitely recommend that mums-to-be should eat as wide a variety of different foods as possible to make sure they get all the nourishment mum and baby needs. And of course, there are folic acid supplements that are so important in the early stages of pregnancy, vitamin D supplements important for some........so the list goes on!
But remember the advice that is given is based on the most up-to-date knowledge and as a health professional I hope you mums feel able to take on board as much of this advice as possible, for your own benefit and to help ensure your baby can get the best start in life as possible.
Let me know what you think – are health professionals like me and the Government giving the best dietary advice to pregnant mums?
Best wishes - Helen
Tags: Helen, HiPP Organic, Babyclub, pregnant, healthy, eating, mums, supplements, vitamins, nutrition
Categories: About Hipp Organic, Pregnancy