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Archive for Nutrition

Food Effects Baby and Toddler Sleep

Food has a calming effect on the body or an energizing effect.

When you have children who do not sleep well, knowing what type of food fuels energy and what type of food fuels the release of sleep-triggering hormones serotonin and melatonin is helpful.

Sleep-triggering snack 30-minutes before bed

The effect of food on the body begins about 30-minutes after eating. Therefore, give your baby or toddler an appropriate snack or drink 30-minutes before you expect him to sleep. If on solids, this does not mean holding off his dinner but rather giving him a little something extra after dinner as well.

Get a suitable routine for your child’s age

Too busy digesting to sleep

Give red meat, sausages, ham, simple carbohydrates such as white rice, pasta and sugary foods (including fruit) earlier in the day to avoid the effect of increased energy in the night. Complex-carbohydrates such as brown rice and wholegrain bread are better choices for sleep.

Protein foods that contain the amino acid tryptophan are suitable choices for an evening meal and pre-bedtime snack because they boost the sleep-triggering hormone melatonin and control hunger.

Dinner and evening snack ideas

  1. Wholegrain cereal with warm milk
  2. Natural yoghurt and sliced apple or banana
  3. Wholegrain rice cake spread with natural peanut butter
  4. Melted hard cheese on wholegrain toast
  5. Cashew or peanut butter spread on a dry wholegrain and oat wheat-bix
  6. Cottage cheese and tuna with avocado and wholegrain pasta
  7. Cooked eggs and wholegrain toast fingers
  8. Rice pudding made with brown rice
  9. Banana smoothie made with coconut milk.

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Signs Baby is Ready for Solid Food

By Jan Murray

It’s recommended that solid food not be given to babies under 17 weeks of age as studies have shown they are not developmentally ready to tolerate solids at this age.

If your baby is hungry and not gaining weight before the age of 17 weeks you can increase their weight by providing extra breast feeds or introduce an additional bottle of Infant Formula. Seek professional guidance for the appropriate Infant Formula to use for your baby.

Sometime after babies’ reach 17-weeks of age they will begin to show signs that indicate they are ready to start eating solid food.

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Signs to start solid food include:

  • The ‘tongue thrust’ present in younger babies is gone. This reflex has allowed for sucking, but is now ready for the next stage of chewing and swallowing
  • Baby is able to sit in a semi-controlled, upright position. Not being able to sit or hold his back reasonably straight will prevent him focusing on eating
  • Baby’s weight gain has slowed down
  • Baby is waking at erratic times overnight when previously he had been sleeping through
  • Baby is constantly dissatisfied when being breastfed. They are constantly pulling off and on the nipple and feeding is becoming less enjoyable
  • Baby is wanting to breastfeed more regularly during the day instead of spacing it out to every four hours
  • Baby is watching you eat with greater interest and could even be trying to take the spoon or food from your hand.

If you see any or some of these signs start your baby on some soft and sloppy foods.

Start your baby on soft solids once a day during their awake-time after a milk feed. This is best offered after the mid morning feed when your baby is alert and less tired. Add another solid feed mid-afternoon when your baby looks ready and willing for more.

Milk is still important for your baby’s nutrition so avoid introducing too much food too quickly. Introduce a third meal within a few weeks.

More information on solids with recipes here

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Quantity

This can vary depending on:

  • Individual metabolism
  • Energy requirements, especially if they are sick or very active
  • Interest in food
  • Whether they are eating in a stressed or rushed atmosphere.

Bon Appetit!!

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Introducing Egg

By Jan Murray

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The introduction of egg has recently changed.

Babies used to be given cooked egg yolk at around 8 months and cooked egg white around 11 months. From research (references through link) it is now suggested that cooked egg be given (in small amounts) to babies before 6 months of age.

Egg is best give to babies initially in very small amounts (little fingernail size) then increase as tolerated. Eggs are potentially allergic but a reaction doesn’t necessarily mean allergy, it could mean a sensitivity or intolerance to the amount given at the time. Often there are other factors (environmental or social) that add stress to the body making food intolerance levels lower.

egg-allergy

This 6 month old baby was enjoying fruit and vegetables and lentils and had no known family history of allergy to egg. His parents ate eggs with no allergic reactions and he was breast fed.  This rash occurred within a few hours after he was given two teaspoons of scrabbled egg mid-morning. It resolved next day and didn’t worry him in any other way. He’ll have another try in a week or two in a smaller quantity.

Research has shown there is possibly a ‘window of opportunity’ between 4 – 7 months for foods to be introduced with further suggestion that withholding foods could increase allergic response.

It is recommended that babies be introduced to solid foods while they have the immune protection of breast milk.

More advice on infant feeding in ‘taste it’

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

How Important is Weight Gain in Your Baby?

By Jan Murray

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Weight gain is important to keep an eye on during the early years as it is an important indicator of growth and development. Your baby’s weight may differ from others weight of the same age. But whatever the weight, you want it to increase at a steady rate. If weight gain is too fast research shows babies are at risk of childhood obesity and associated diseases. If weight gain is too slow baby risks developing physical or psychological problems. The brain is growing rapidly during these first years and it requires essential nutrients to keep up.

You can expect growth patterns to change at different ages. In the first four months babies are expected to put on between 100 and 200 grams per week—but each baby is different. The rate slows a bit from four to six months then slows again from six months. You can see this growth pattern if you plot the weights on the growth chart in your babies ‘Personal Health Record’ (PHR) that you got at the birth.

Growth charts act as a guide to show long term growth patterns in either a breastfed or formula fed infant. It is important for health professionals to watch whether the growth curve is rising rapidly, plateauing or dropping. Variations could indicate underlying psychosocial or medical problems that require further investigation. If you move states at any time keep this book safe for health professionals to refer to.

Weight gain may vary when using different scales so aim to stick with the same scales. Don’t panic if the weight reading is too low or high on occasions as it is the long term pattern that’s important.

If your baby’s expected weight gain is too slow, feeding patterns can be changed to improve intake, which is where a child health professional can help.

It could mean increasing breastmilk supply or the frequency of breastfeeds. In a baby who is fed infant formula it may mean readjusting the intake amount or checking that the scoop size to water ratio is correct. If older than four months slow weight gain may indicate the need to start solid food. Download ‘taste it’ eBook for advice on feeding baby solids. If older than seven months it may be the type of foods and the frequency that needs adjusting—often more protein and essential fats are necessary to fuel the increased activity demands at this age.

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If weight gain is too rapid your baby may be getting too many feeds without hunger cues or an older baby may not be expending enough energy between feeds or eating the wrong foods. Offering three to four hourly breastfeeds or bottles of infant formula during the day and a couple of times overnight in the first four months is generally plenty of nutrients for a good weight gain, providing the milk source is ample and there are no underlying medical issues.

The balance of weight gain and activity is helpful in maintaining regular, soft bowel actions.

There is an old wives tale that mothers sometimes aspired to: ‘a fat baby is a happy baby’ but research now shows that rapid weight gain during the first year of life is one of the factors that leads to childhood obesity—which now effects one in four Australian children. But don’t panic and go to the other extreme where you give your baby or toddler ‘reduced’ or ‘no-fat’ dairy products and no snacks between meals—infants require essential fat and regular food intake for brain growth and development.

Comfortably nourished babies and toddlers will generally sleep well and while asleep the body releases a ‘growth stimulating hormone’. For this reason poor sleep patterns can cause slow weight gain. Poor infant sleep and slow weight gain can become a viscious cycle leading to exhausted parents and further sleep and feeding issues. To avoid getting caught in this cycle it is recommended parents seek professional child health advice early. Download ‘Putting them to Sleep’ eBook now for advice on how to get more sleep.

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Robinson, S. Y. (2102). A narrative literature review of the development of obesity in infancy and childhood. Journal of child health care. doi:10.1177/1367493512443908

Davies, P. W. (2012). Growth Charts evaluation CDC and WHO. Infant Nutrition Update. Brisbane.

Robinson, S. Y. (2102). A narrative literature review of the development of obesity in infancy and childhood. Journal of child health care. doi:10.1177/1367493512443908

Infant Formula for Babies and Toddlers

By Jan Murray

Breast milk is the best milk for your baby during the first year. If breast milk is unavailable there are suitable Infant Formula alternatives. Which one do you choose?

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Previously, babies were given watered down ‘carnation milk’, ‘condensed milk’ or cow’s milk. Research shows these milks are not the best choices for babies and can do harm. Today, in 2016, Infant Formula is researched, modified and tested to provide milk that is closest to breast milk. It is commercially synthesised and fails to reach the premium standard of breast milk but it is a better alternative than our ancestors used.

Until the age of 12-months babies require Infant Formula for optimum digestion and nutrients. There are many types and brands of alternative milks listed under the age categories of starter (1), follow on (2) or toddler (3).

‘Starter’ and ‘Progress’ formulas are complete food substitutes but ‘toddler milk’ is not. ‘Progress’ (2) formulas have added iron and nutrients for optimal growth and development. However, if ‘starter’ formula is more convenient and solid foods have been introduced there’s no need to change formulas at 6-months.

Cow’s milk based Infant Formula.

This is commercially modified cow’s milk to resemble breast milk and is suitable for most babies. It is not suitable when babies have a cow milk protein allergy, lactose intolerance or have parents who want to keep away from animal based foods. Some milks have been further enhanced with added docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) Omega – 3 fatty acids and prebiotics and probiotics for added immunity and digestion. Research is ongoing for more refinements.

Goat milk based Infant Formula.

This commercially modified goat milk contains slightly less lactose than cow’s milk with the protein similar to cow’s milk but forms a softer non-clustered curd. These facts may make goat milk formula easier to digest for some babies. It is more rapidly digested therefore may be helpful for a baby with reflux.

Soy based Infant Formula

This milk is commercially made from the soya beans that have similar protein content to cow’s milk. It contains lactose. During processing the protein is isolated without its co-factors that are needed for digestion and metabolism and is not suitable for babies under 6-months of age.

Lactose free Infant Formula (LF).

This milk is usually cow milk based and has no lactose. This formula may help young babies who suffer from excessive wind, explosive poos and unsettled sleep patterns due to lower bowel pain. Lactose is important for immunity and should not be removed from an infant’s diet unless necessary.

Anti Reflux Infant Formula (AR).

This is usually a cow milk based formula that has been thickened using either carob bean gum or maltodextrin (enzymatically derived from any starch but usually corn or wheat). This thickened milk is for babies who have difficulty keeping milk down (reflux). Depending on the thickening agent used this milk may not be suitable for babies who are lactose or wheat intolerant.

Protein modified cow milk Infant Formula (HA).

In this milk the cow milk protein has been broken down to make it easier for babies to digest and has been used as an alternative milk for babies who are a primary risk of dairy allergy. However, evidence is not strong on whether HA milk prevents the development of dairy allergy.

Protein free Infant Formula.

An extensively hydrolysed 100% whey protein specialty formula for babies with a diagnosed dairy protein or soy allergy. Medical supervision is required for babies on this formula and in Australia this milk is only available by script.

Casein dominant or whey dominant Infant Formula.

Whey and casein are the proteins found in milk. Whey dominant formula is the most common on the market, is closest to breast milk, and digested quicker than casein based milk. Very hungry babies are thought to do better on casein dominant formula. ‘Follow on’ Infant formula is usually casein based.

Weaning onto solids ‘taste it’

From 12-months of age

After 12-months of age a baby’s gut is usually mature enough to progress onto cow’s milk or an alternative such as rice milk, oat milk, soy milk, goat milk, almond milk or toddler milk. The choice of which one to use is yours. Babies require full fat milk until at least 2 years old.

Goat milk.

Goat milk has a similar protein in a comparable quantity to cow’s milk but forms a softer, non clustered curd and contains slightly less lactose, possibly making it easier to digest. It is more rapidly digested and may be helpful for an infant with reflux or frequent positing. It is usually not tolerated by those who have a cow milk protein allergy.

Cows milk.

Cow milk is a nutrient dense food when ingested in its raw organic form (breast milk or unpasteurised milk) but unfortunately vitamins and minerals are lost today with the pasteurisation and homogenisation process (heating it to make it better for us!) There is also a difference in milk produced from relaxed cows grazing in open fields of grasses and flowers to a mass produced commercially fed cow living in overcrowded cement floor stalls. A2 milk has been found to be better tolerated by some. Milk just isn’t the same milk as years past. Lactose free cow’s milk is also available.

Soya milk.

Soya milk is made from soya beans. Soy milk has the equivalent amount of protein to cow’s milk and is not a good alternative for cow milk protein allergy. Research shows processed soy can prevent the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. The commercial processing involved in isolating the protein in soya beans omits natural digestive and metabolism co-factors, making soya milk difficult to digest.

Rice milk

Rice milk is made from brown rice and has no lactose. It is usually fortified with vitamins and minerals, and is higher in carbohydrate and lower in protein and calcium. Rice milk is a suitable milk alternative when cow, goat and soy milks are unsuitable.

Oat milk

Oat milk is made from whole oats and is higher in fibre than other milks. It is usually calcium fortified and naturally sweet.

Toddler milk

Toddler milk is marketed for toddlers (1 to 3-years of age) and contains added nutrients and iron. This milk is not for toddlers who are gaining weight and developing appropriately. However, these milks can increase appetite by improving iron levels when the required amount of 1 – 2 cups is given. More than this amount slows eating as milk is filling but NOT a substitute for food.

I am nearly 6 months old’ eBook

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Breast Feeding

Important Breastfeeding Tips

  1. Breast feeding is a complete source of nutrition for the first 4 – 6 months of your babys life
  2. Be comfortable with your choice to breast feed then sit comfortably and relax to establish breastfeeding.Three significant factors in the success of establishing breastfeeding are:

    Efficient milk removal
    Requires good attachment and effective sucking

    Milk removal
    When your milk is ‘in’ feed long enough to clear foremilk (carbohydrates and sugars) and hind milk (fat and protein) from one breast before changing to the other breast. The times vary with each baby but this usually takes 35 – 40 minutes in their first 6 weeks.

    Express a small amount to create softness in the nipple area if it is firm and preventing the baby to latch.

    Frequency of milk removal
    Feed approximately every 3 hours during the day and whenever your baby wakes overnight during the first 3-4 months.

  3. Be organised and have things you will need within arms reach. This would include things you may need for your toddler as well.
  4. All is not right with breast feeding when you experience any of the following.
    – Cracks, blisters, abrasions, itching or tender nipples
    – Painful lump(s) in your breast. The lump can be usually released within 24 hrs with warmth and gentle massage and continued feeding or expressing.
    – Reddened, hot and painful area on your breast with or without suffering from general headaches and flu like symptoms
    – A baby who is continually asking to be fed more than every 3 hours during the day and has poor weight gain
    – An unsettled baby that doesn’t relax after a feedIf you do experience any of the above, we recommend you seek professional help from your Child Health Nurse, Lactation Consultant or General Practitioner.
  5. If you are feeling self conscious about feeding in public, try draping a soft scarf over your shoulder and breast while you are feeding.
  6. Enjoy your breastfeeding journey and share your experiences and concerns with your Child Health Nurse, Lactation Consultant, GP and mothers groups.

For more information about breastfeeding? For more information on breast feeding and everything else relating to a babies normal development read ‘mum & baby together we learn’

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Be Healthy From the Very First Mouthful

I am sure that I am not the only adult who has battled weight gain. Today, merely looking at a piece of cheesecake adds centimetres to my hips. Could this be linked to my poor childhood eating habits? Research reveals, yes. Unfortunately, obesity is not just a physical problem restricting movement but it leads to the body breaking down with conditions such as liver disease, heart disease and diabetes. Add to this low self esteem and social awkwardness leading to relationship challenges and behaviour disorders and the future looks pretty bleak. One in four children suffers obesity in Australia today. As quoted by Jamie Oliver at TED awards “these children are looking at a future with a life expectancy 10 years less than their parents”. Statistically, diet related disease is fast approaching as the number one killer and is a generational and global problem.

 

Obesity is a preventable disease largely due to the following four areas:

One: The increase consumption of processed and takeaway foods. Everything needs to be quick or better still instant and readily available with minimal preparation. I am not just talking about teenagers; it is starting with babies. 

Two: A poor understanding of natural foods and why they are important for good health. Children start their life with canned and packaged foods with no involvement in the preparation or culture around healthy eating.

Three: Minimal outside play. We live in a community with larger houses and smaller backyards and the fear of paedophiles and kidnappers in our streets. Parks can have hidden needles on the ground leaving inside activities a safer more appealing option.

Four: Tired parents who are working and stressed keeping up with the demands of life and financial pressure, take the easy option for pre prepared foods. Children are often tired and cranky after being in care and getting home late. Giving them what they demand isn’t always the healthiest option but it prevents arguments.

Would you like some practical insight and ideas into how you can live with your toddler? Being a Toddler 

Here are four easy steps to start a healthy future for your baby or child

One: Be kind to their developing liver and limit or better still avoid highly processed and packaged foods containing preservatives.

Two: Decrease their likelihood of developing obesity and related diseases by limiting or avoiding simple carbohydrates and refined sugars which are stored as fat if not used.

Three: Encourage plenty of supervised playtime in the fresh air. Create bigger backyards.

Four: Take control. Shopping shelves are stacked with nutritionally lacking foods but it is you who chooses what stays out and what goes in your trolley.

When you familiarize babies and children with whole foods eaten at regular intervals with daily physical activity, you are demonstrating healthy habits for life. Weight gain and associated lifestyle changes creep up slowly and insidiously, robbing us of abundant life. Don’t do this to your babies and children. Be healthy from the very first mouthful. ‘taste it – easy baby & toddler recipes along with professional child health advice’ will give you practical guidelines for a healthy start to your baby’s eating habits.

If you would like to include this article in your newsletter or website; you can, providing you include the following blurb with it:

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Don’t Force Your Baby or Toddler to Eat or Drink

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There can be any number of reasons why babies and toddlers refuse to eat or drink. But continually forcing them to take something into their mouth can create a negative emotion towards the experience of eating. Overtime, this recurring negative event becomes a conditioned response to the act of eating, even if the food is normally enjoyed. This is known as feeding aversion.

Babies and toddlers learn skills and perform tasks best when they are relaxed and enjoying themselves. If drinking or eating causes babies and toddlers to become frightened or stressed it sets up a negative feeling. This can become an ongoing feeding aversion. Some of the situations that could create an aversion include:

  • Force feeding—making babies and toddlers take in food or drink against their will
  • Choking episodes—where babies and toddlers have swallowed something that occluded the airway requiring help to be dislodged
  • A stressful environment while feeding such as loud angry talking or fighting
  • Discomfort or pain is often the first reason explored by professionals when babies and toddlers are presented with a feeding aversion. However, in most cases, pain doesn’t usually just happen when feeding begins there is usually other signs of pain between feeds
  • Unpleasant but necessary medical interventions such as tube feeds
  • Hypersensitivity to texture, taste, smell or temperature—often linked to allergy or intolerance associated with particular foods and fluids.

A feeding aversion is constant and continues overtime. Some things that may suggest a feeding aversion are:

  • Appearing hungry but refuse to eat
  • Fussing and crying when bib is placed around the neck
  • Fussing and crying when placed into a feeding position or when the bottle is presented
  • Clamping their mouth shut and turning their head away from the breast, bottle, spoon or food
  • Skipping feeds or meals without distress
  • Only taking a few sips of liquid or a small portion of food offered before pulling away or arching their back and crying. (Back arching can also be a tired sign)
  • Only feeding while drowsy or asleep
  • Consuming less milk or food than expected for their age
  • Displaying poor growth and possibly diagnosed as ‘failure to thrive’.

Unresolved feeding aversion can lead to a break down in relationships between babies and toddlers and their parents. It may also make mothers feel inadequate or embarrassed to take their child out during a time that involves feeding.

Constant food refusal can lead to poor weight gain and a lack of important nutrients, which can lead to reduced energy and motivation to explore and discover their world. Rectify feeding problems by seeking professional advice early.

 

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children. For more online resources visit

Baby Feeding and Recipes

As a parent raising children, it is important to understand that solids are not only commenced to fill a hungry tummy and to aid growth but are also to:

  • Develop and enhance their five senses – sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell.
  • Develop their immune system for optimum health and illness recovery.
  • Develop their digestive system to allow for successful absorption of nourishing foods and the control of constipation, diarrhoea and bowel spasms.
  • Strengthen bones and muscles allowing for fluid movement and the protection of internal organs.
  • Develop and stabilise their nervous system.
  • Develop a strong pumping heart.
  • Stabilize hormones for metabolism and emotional and physical balance.
  • Effective functioning of the urinary tract to eliminate toxins.
  • Developing facial muscles to facilitate language production.
  • Introduce the culture and pattern around eating.
  • Provide certain nutrients such as iron, zinc and vitamin C that are not ingested in adequate amounts through breast milk or infant formula from 6 months old.

Read more about developing babies in ‘Mum, Baby & Toddler – together we learn’

Yummy and easy recipes:

Fish cakes

1 large tin of pink salmon (squash bones for added calcium) also use tuna
2 large mashed potatoes (use white sweet potato if baby does not like potato texture yet
1 cup frozen peas and corn
Sprinkle of dill
1 egg

Method

1. Combine all together in a bowl.
2. Roll into patties and coat in breadcrumbs or oat bran.
3. Fry in a pan with a little oil

“I serve the kids with mayo and ours with sweet chilli sauce. My kids love fish and they always enjoy this recipe.” – Provided by Belinda Dowling

Yummy porridge

½ cup Rolled oats
1 cup water
Fruit puree
Sprinkle of cinnamon

Method

1. Put oats and water in a bowl and cook for 2 minutes on high in microwave or in a saucepan on the stove until soft
2. Scoop out 1 – 2 tbsp and porridge (you eat the rest)
3. Mix in 2 tsp of pureed apple, pear or pawpaw – Provided by Jan Murray

Peanut butter building blocks

Spread smooth peanut butter on a white slice of bread
Spread pure fruit jam on a wholegrain slice of bread
Spread butter on a slice of rye bread (use any 3 favourite spreads)

Method

Stack bread slices on top of each other and cut into fingers and square shapes before serving – Provided by Jan Murray

More easy to follow recipes in ‘taste it – easy baby & toddler recipes along with professional child health advice’  plus holds loads of practical information to get you and your baby started on good eating habits as well as yummy recipes to try.

If you would like to include this article in your newsletter or website; you can, providing you include the following blurb with it:

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Healthy Eating During Pregnancy

This is an excerpt taken from ‘Mum, Baby & Toddler – together we learn’

Good nutrition during pregnancy is vital for a healthy mother and her growing unborn baby. As long as you are not eating junk food or foods that risk bacterial contamination you can pretty much eat in moderation what appeals to you.

Seafood is an important source of Omega 3 and protein during pregnancy, however limit intake to one or two servings per week to avoid ingesting high levels of mercury and consume seafood fresh and cooked to minimise bacterial or parasite contamination.

 

Take note of your cravings as this is usually what your body requires. Foods void of nutrients such as processed biscuits and cakes would best be substituted with something naturally sweet.

Eat small frequent quantities of food for comfort and to assist with the slowed passage of food and fluids that occurs during pregnancy. Extra folic acid is required for the growth and replication of new cells. Include a variety of all foods from the list below to ensure protein, zinc, iron, Vitamin C, calcium, Vitamin D, iodine, (DHA) omega 3 and folic acid are consumed:

  • Dairy foods including cheese, milk and yoghurt
  • Wholegrain breads and cereals
  • Lean meat, chicken, small fish varieties and eggs
  • Cooked dried beans and lentils
  • Variety of vegetables (especially green leafy) and fruits
  • Variety of nuts and seeds especially almonds
  • Avoid saturated fat and refined sugars that are found in takeaways, white and pre packaged foods
  • Drink at least eight glasses of fresh water a day and limit herbal tea to three per day
  • Include a little sea salt unless advised otherwise due to raised blood pressure
  • Regular sunshine on your skin.

While you are pregnant; a good approach to your diet, is eating to satisfy your appetite. It is not the opportunity to eat for two. Monitor your weight and avoid indulging in any food with empty kilojoules. In other words, increase the nutrients not the kilojoules. Keep your diet balanced and varied with natural goodness. Poor nutrition during pregnancy has been shown to develop poor nutrition programming in an unborn baby.

 

An acceptable weight gain over the course of pregnancy is determined by a healthy pre-conception weight. A woman in a healthy pre-conception weight can expect to gain between 11.5 to 16 kg. It is important to discuss your expected weight gain with your Dietitian or Doctor. Excessive weight gain has an increased risk of:

  • Birth by caesarean
  • High blood pressure
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Weight retention postpartum
  • Miscarriage
  • Wound infection
  • Depression
  • Foetal anomalies
  • Birth complications.

In a multiple pregnancy, where the mother is expecting twins or triplets, a higher kilojoule intake is required and greater weight will be gained.

Listeria

Listeria is a bacterium that can cross into the placenta and cause miscarriage and premature birth. To minimise acquiring Listeria contamination from food:

  • Ensure fresh foods are washed well
  • Avoid eating leftovers after 24 hours in the fridge
  • Cooked foods need to be eaten while still hot
  • Heat all deli foods such as soft cheeses and meats to at least 70°C which will kill any Listeria bacterium present.

If you would like to include this article in your newsletter or website; you can, providing you include the following blurb with it:

 

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children. For more online resources visit http://www.settlepetal.com