HiPP Organic

HiPP's Baby & Nutrition Blog

Managing your stress during your pregnancy

Posted on 16 March 2015 by Amber



Managing stress during pregnancy

For most mums-to-be, pregnancy is a happy and exciting time.  However, for some, pregnancy can be a source of stress and anxiety.  We all know about the importance of physical health during pregnancy, but we can be less likely to consider the effects of emotional health.

Experiencing occasional stress and anxiety during pregnancy is very normal, and for many women, these feelings will come and go.  However, for around 15% or pregnant women, it can be more serious, and potentially harmful.

Rest assured that most women will go onto have a healthy pregnancy and baby even if they’re stressed. 

But if you’re feeling stressed and anxious all the time, don’t struggle on alone, ask your doctor or midwife for help.  There’s some evidence that continuous high levels of stress may have adverse effects on your baby.  It’s thought that the stress hormone, cortisol, can cross the placenta and impact the baby’s brain development.  High levels of chronic stress can also increase your chance of premature labour or a low birth weight baby.

Whist you mustn’t feel guilty or be hard on yourself, trying to overcome your stress or seeking help if you need to, will be beneficial for both you and your baby.

Here are some positive steps you can take to reduce your stress during pregnancy:

Talk about it
Sharing your concerns and feelings with your partner, friends, or family will help relieve some of your anxiety.  Don’t bottle things up.  Turning to others for support and sharing your concerns can really help you feel better. 

If you have worries about your baby’s wellbeing, or a personal matter, you can always turn to your caregiver.  There are many resources out there, so if you are honest about how you feel, you are more likely to get the support you need.

Talking to other mums-to-be can be another excellent source of support, as they’re probably experiencing the same anxieties as you are.  There are plenty of antenatal, exercises or mum-to-be classes available, where you can meet others in the same position as you.

Rest and relaxation
Make slowing down a priority.  You need to be kind to yourself and allow time to rest without feeling guilty.  Treat yourself to some ‘you’ time and put your feet up, have a long bath, or read a good book.  If you feel exhausted, go to bed early or take a nap if you can.  Growing a baby is tiring work and it’s important to listen to your body and get all the rest you need.

Complementary therapies are another great way to unwind.  Reflexology or massage in particular can be a wonderful way to de-stress.  Many spa and beauty salons provide pregnancy treatments, but if you don’t want to put money aside, you can always ask your partner or a close friend or family member to give you a back, neck or foot massage.

Deep-breathing exercises, yoga, or stretching are wonderful to relieve built up stress and tension.  You can teach yourself meditation, breathing exercises and visualisation techniques, they’re free, and you can do them anywhere.  These are ways of relaxing by concentrating your mind on one thing and they’re often used in yoga.

Try to find a pregnancy yoga class near you.  However, if you can’t join a class for whatever reason, there are many pregnancy yoga DVDs available, allowing you to practice in the comfort of your own home.

Look after yourself
If you’re used to caring for others, give your all at work, or find it hard to say “no”, making yourself a priority may seem unnatural, or even selfish.  But looking after yourself is an essential part of looking after your baby.  Now’s as good a time as any to get rid of the notion that you can do it all.  Practice saying “no” and get used to the idea of asking your friends and family for help. 

Take good care of your body and your mental health will improve too.  Do your best to eat healthy food, drink plenty of water and take regular gentle exercise such as walking or swimming. 

Laughter is one of the body’s best ways of relaxing, so meet up with friends, go out for a meal or watch a film at the cinema.

Pregnancy is also a great time to treat yourself to all the treatments you don’t normally splash out on or have time for.  If your bump gets too big to paint your toe nails, have a pedicure, or create your own pampering session at home if you’re saving money.

Prepare for the birth
If the prospect of giving birth is worrying you, learning more about what happens during labour can make you feel more in control and less anxious.  Understanding the process, stages of labour and most importantly, your choices, can put your mind at rest.

Being prepared can really help relieve stress.  Antenatal classes are a great way of being well informed, and if you’re having your baby at a hospital or birth centre, you may be able to have a tour of the delivery suite, or an online tour should be available.  Having a birth plan written up is also one less thing to worry about. 

Speak to your midwife about your worries.  Most likely they are completely normal and you won’t be the only woman having had the same anxieties.  If your fear of birth is so overwhelming, the right support may help you overcome your doubts.  Hypnobirthing is also a great way of feeling positive about the birth.

Money worries
Times are financially difficult for many people at the moment, and with a baby on the way, it can cause considerable stress for some.  But try not to worry; a baby doesn’t actually need that much in the early stages.  Try and write a list of the essential things you really need and stick to it.  You’ll also probably be pleasantly surprised by how much you can borrow, or get things in great condition second hand.

Make sure you know about your entitlements regarding maternity pay, and you may also be entitled to other supplementary benefits too.  Speak to your midwife as they may be able to help you with equipment grants or pointing you in the direction of Charities that will give you good quality cots and prams for example.

What if your stress continues?
If you’re extremely anxious, feel unable to cope or manage your stress, or have a specific reason to be concerned about your baby’s health, consult with your care giver.  They may be able to recommend some professional counselling.  Some women can also experience depression during pregnancy, and this can be treated, so talking to your doctor or midwife can really help.




Tags: , , , , ,

Categories: Pregnancy

Actions: Permalink | Comments (7832)

Holiday tastes for the littlest ones

Posted on 19 December 2014 by Lindsay

Christmas is a time of joy, of course, but if you're in the middle of weaning your baby right now, you might be forgiven for also feeling a tiny bit unlucky – after all, it's not the easiest thing to be pureeing organic pumpkin whilst simultaneously preparing turkey and trimmings for twelve.

But fear not, wise parent:  Christmas is actually the perfect time to add some amazing flavours to your baby's repertoire. (And if you're way too busy for the food processor right now, that's okay – we're here to help!)

Taste matters – now and for the future!

Flavour is definitely important – in fact, it's one of the key parts of weaning, and it's something to keep in mind from the very beginning.

Here's why. Your baby is born with a taste for sweet, high-fat foods – not coincidentally, like breast milk – because they provide lots of energy for that growing little body. Young babies also tend to be wary of bitter tastes initially, which is probably a protective instinct to keep them from putting mouldy or poisonous things in their mouths. (Clever little sprouts!)

When weaning time comes around, though, it’s a golden opportunity to expand your baby’s taste horizons. At around 6 months, babies tend to be more open to new tastes and textures than they may be later on – and several studies have found that introducing stronger flavours early on has a direct effect on babies’ food preferences later in life, as well as their tendency toward fussy eating habits.

In short, if you want a toddler who noshes happily on broccoli or loves a mild curry, it’s best to introduce them to plenty of exciting flavours from the start. Of course, these new tastes are a bit of a shock at first – keep the camera handy, as the faces they make are often priceless! But if your baby refuses a new food that’s nutritious, keep trying.  Babies are more likely to accept a new taste the more they are exposed to it – and a bit of enthusiasm and praise from Mum and Dad will often help the spinach (or swede, or parsnip) go down.

Don't skip the lumps

Texture is important, too: one study of nearly 8,000 children showed that if babies were introduced to lumpy foods before nine months of age, they ate significantly more food groups at age 7 (including a whopping 10 kinds of fruits and veggies). And those lumps and bumps also help your baby develop the mouth and tongue muscles that will soon come in handy for talking!

Of course, nothing you do can guarantee your baby will skip the dreaded picky-eating stage, and most toddlers do end up with a few ‘difficult’ foods during this time. But offering plenty of variety early on is your best bet – and it will help set your baby up for a lifetime of healthy, happy eating to come.

Holiday tastes for your baby to try – and a few to avoid

At this time of year, most of us have foods in the house that don't get a look in the rest of the year – and that's a shame! Many of them are perfect for your baby to taste as well. Here are a few:

Brussels sprouts: If you're roasting or steaming some sprouts for the adults, try pureeing or fork-mashing a few for your baby, too. Brussels sprouts and other brassica vegetables are ultra-healthy, so giving your little one a taste for them now is a move that will definitely pay off down the road!

Turkey: Mild and full of protein, turkey makes great baby food. Older babies can hold and gnaw on larger bits, and even the littlest ones can taste some breast meat, maybe pureed with a bit of breast or formula milk (and some roast pumpkin, if you have any!)

Cranberry relish: A tiny bit of this zingy condiment will be sure to get your baby's taste-buds tingling! Offer a bit on a clean spoon or finger and watch the reaction...

Mash: Set a bit aside before adding any salt, and let it cool – your baby will probably be quite happy to dig in even without a spoon (if you can handle the mess factor!)

Cheese: A holiday cheeseboard is a great chance to let your baby try bits of stronger flavours like hard or pasteurised goat's cheese and aged Cheddar – just cut off tiny slivers and let the fun begin!

However, not everything on your festive table is baby-friendly: you'll want to avoid anything that's got alcohol in it, obviously (so no plum pudding or egg nog!), and steer clear of choking hazards like whole nuts, grapes and chipolatas until your baby is older and very comfortable with finger foods.

And of course, if you have a dozen for dinner and it all gets a bit too hectic to puree, we've got your back: My First Sunday Dinner is a moreish blend of healthy veg and roast turkey, perfect for an easy and nutritious holiday meal!

What's on your baby's festive menu this year?



Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categories: About Hipp Organic, Baby development, Weaning

Actions: Permalink | Comments (11126)

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,


Tags: , , ,

Categories: Pregnancy, Weaning, Baby development

Actions: Permalink | Comments (0)

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.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Weaning, Baby development

Actions: Permalink | Comments (0)

Setting your baby up for one of life's greatest pleasures

Posted on 5 October 2012 by Helen

Hi Everyone,

What every parent wants is for their child to grow up happy and healthy.  One of life’s great pleasures is food and we are very fortunate in the Western world to have many tasty, nutritious and exciting foods available for us to enjoy.  What parents don’t want is for their child to grow up being really fussy about the foods that they eat and for mealtimes to become a battleground.  So what can you do to help ensure that your baby enjoys his/her meals and gets all the nutritious benefits that a well balanced diet can provide from the first stages of weaning into childhood and beyond?

Although the first solids you offer will be bland and arguably uninteresting, steadily you can start to introduce a wide variety of different foods with different tastes and textures.  As your baby is able to take on the challenge of finger foods, lots of different shapes and colours can be explored with their hands and mouths to add to this enjoyment of foods.  It is really important to offer as much variety as you can during the period of 6-12 months of age as babies are very open to trying new foods and tastes during this time.  Unfortunately, during their second year they start to become much more particular about what they’ll eat. Research has shown that those babies who have plenty of variety early on are less likely to become fussy and faddy with their eating as they get older.

Your facial expressions and verbal encouragements during the weaning period play a really important role in getting your baby to eat a varied diet.  Remember to smile and offer as much encouragement as possible, especially when trying something new, and try to make mealtimes a pleasure for both of you.  Develop a good mealtime routine, based around your baby’s daytime sleeps, and try to avoid feeding times when your baby is likely to be too tired to enjoy food.  By 11-12 months of age, most babies should be able to enjoy family meals sharing many of the same foods as everyone else at the table, and using their own spoon and fork.  Very grown up!

Next time I will talk a bit more about what makes up a good balanced diet for babies and toddlers.

Until then, happy eating!



Categories: Baby development, Weaning

Actions: Permalink | Comments (0)