Posted on : 11-04-2014 | By : Cindy | In : Babies, Kids nutrition
When my baby hit six months I freaked out. Breast feeding had been easy – no planning or thought. Now I had to start cooking for this tiny human and my brain was still in sleep deprived mush. So I dug up all the articles I had ever written about feeding babies to remind myself what to do!! Advice has changed since then so The New Zealand Healthy Food Guide (a great magazine which you can read online) asked me to write an update to the fraught subject of Baby’s First Foods. Here is a shortened version of it.
When should I start giving my baby solids?
Start your baby on solids at around six months. As with adults every baby is different and some may need solids a little earlier but definitely not before four months of age.
Starting solids too early (before 4 months) will stress your baby’s immature digestive system and kidneys, and increase the risk of developing eczema, asthma, type 1 diabetes, coeliac disease or food allergy. If food replaces some of the milk at this early age, your baby may miss out on vital nutrients and energy for growth.
A full term baby is born with enough iron and zinc stores to last around six months. Around the six month mark it is very important that your baby start to eat some iron rich foods. Breast milk contains just small amounts of iron. More than 90% of a breast fed baby’s iron requirements must come from food once the initial iron stores are used up. Starting solids later than six months also increases your baby’s risk of developing a food allergy.
Breast milk is the number one source of nutrients and energy for babies. Babies should be exclusively breast fed for around six months and ideally during the introduction of new foods.
What should I start with?
Most mums start off with an iron rich food such as iron-fortified baby rice cereal thinned with breast milk or infant formula.
I wake from a peri-menopausal sleep and glance at my watch. 6.15am. I jump out of bed, peeling off the sweat soaked PJ’s and race to the shower. I am already 15 minutes late.
I hurry downstairs to chop the apple and almonds for the Swiss Muesli. I stir in plain yoghurt and currants to the apple juice soaked oats and plop a fry pan with a dash of canola oil on the gas for an egg. The leisurely breakfasts and 9am start of primary school are finished. This year it’s high school and a 7.15am start to catch the bus.
My husband is already sipping his coffee and checking his ipad for news, stock prices and mail. The red teapot sits waiting for me on the bench. He’s made me tea and I gratefully pour the amber liquid into my favourite cup. Nothing like a good cup of tea in the morning. I flip the egg, pour a glass of water and place it all on the table with the Swiss Muesli. My son stumbles downstairs, already wired to his ipod and grunts a good morning. I sit down with my cup of tea for a few minutes of meaningful conversation.
“Just let me finish listening to this song, Mum.” He munches on his muesli. Eventually he unplugs himself and is ready to chat. The clock ticks relentlessly towards 7.15. My brain switches from meaningful conversation to task oriented talk.
Fish has been known as brain food for decades, if not longer. Now we have the science to prove it. The WHO and FAO jointly recommend that pregnant and nursing mothers eat seafood twice a week to optimise brain and nerve development in the growing fetus and infant.
For toddlers and older kids it’s all about creating healthy habits. Whatever food kids learn to enjoy will be the food they most likely choose once they leave home. Teach your kids to love seafood. Don’t give up at the first screwed up nose. Set an example. Make it a habit. How about making Friday ‘Fish Day’?
Posted on : 20-08-2011 | By : Cindy | In : Kids nutrition
When the latest Dietitian’s newsletter arrives it’s like Christmas! I pull open the magazine and out drop a whole lot of brightly coloured advertisements, mini newsletters and information sheets telling me about the nutritional benefits of all sorts of healthy products – yoghurt, grain bread, eggs etc. This week the one that caught my eye was Dairy Australia’s current campaign to Aussie mums. It’s called kids need 3 and it’s a timely reminder to all us mums to make sure we are feeding our kids three serves of dairy a day.
It’s not a new message but I appreciated the reminder. Calcium is critical for children. This is the time they are growing most rapidly and it is their “window of opportunity’ to store up lots of calcium in their bones. Once they hit their twenties and their bone growth is complete, the ‘window of opportunity’ is shut.