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Eeyore

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Monday, October 26th 2009, 6:45am

WEANING - UK FOOD STANDARDS HELP & ADVICE

WEANING - FSA GUIDELINES

When to start?

You should start giving your baby solid foods when he or she is around six months old.

In recent years the advice about when to start babies on solid foods has changed. This is because we now know more about when babies are ready for starting solid foods and the effects of giving solid foods too early.

We now know that it’s usually best to wait until six months, but all babies are different so you might want to ask your health visitor or GP for advice about when is best for your baby.

If you want to introduce solid foods before six months, make sure you check with your health visitor or GP first. And don’t give any solid foods to your baby before he or she is four months old (17 weeks).

Why wait until six months?
Giving solid foods to a baby before he or she can cope with them, can increase the risk of infection and allergies.

By six months, babies are physically ready to start eating solid foods. At this age, babies can sit up with support, control their heads and move food around their mouths. Their digestive and immune systems are also stronger and they are often interested in food and want to chew.

At this age babies need more than milk alone.

If your baby still seems to be hungry on their usual milk feeds before six months, try offering more milk at each bottle feed if they are finishing the bottle and seem to be looking for more. If you are breastfeeding, try feeding more often.

If you’re concerned about your baby’s health, or you want to start your baby on solid foods before six months, talk to your health visitor or GP first.

Many foods are not suitable for babies under six months, including soft and unpasteurised cheeses, liver and foods that are most likely to cause allergies, such as peanuts, other nuts, seeds, cows’ milk, wheat, eggs, fish and shellfish.

Babies under four months (17 weeks) should not be given solid foods.

Some people think that starting solid foods before six months will help a baby sleep, but there is no evidence to support this.

If your baby was premature, talk to your health visitor or GP about the right age to start your baby on solid foods

Here are some suggestions to make starting on solid foods easier and safer:


  • Go at your baby's pace. Allow plenty of time for feeding, particularly at first. Your baby needs to learn to move solid food from the front of the tongue to the back, to swallow it. The food is going to taste and feel different - so it's bound to take time.

  • Spoon out the amount you think your baby will eat and heat this, rather than heating a large amount that then goes to waste. This is because you'll need to throw away any of the heated food that your baby doesn't eat, as it's not safe to reheat previously warmed food. It's important to heat food thoroughly and allow it to cool, stir well and test, before offering it to your baby. Also, don't refreeze any food that's been warmed or previously frozen. And remember that everything you use for feeding your baby needs to be really clean.

  • Always stay nearby when your baby is eating to make sure that he or she doesn't choke.

  • Don't rush or 'force feed'. Most babies know when they've had enough to eat. Don't spend a lot of time persuading your baby to take food - they soon learn that refusing food is a good way of getting attention.

  • Ideally, choose a time of day when both you and your baby are relaxed.

  • Encourage your baby to help with feeding. When your baby shows an interest in feeding him or herself, this is a good sign. So encourage this by giving your baby the spoon, while you try to spoon in most of the meal with another spoon. It will be messy at first, but try not to worry about it.

  • Offer a wide variety of foods that you and your family usually eat, as this might help avoid choosiness later on. Avoid giving your baby any eggs, or salty, sugary or processed foods that haven't been specifically designed for babies (see What foods to avoid below). Aim to encourage your baby to eat a variety of family foods and adapt to your pattern of eating.

  • Use mashed-up family food when you can. This way, you'll know what the ingredients are and you'll be getting your baby used to eating what you eat. Commercial baby foods can be useful but don't let them replace family foods altogether.

    Remember, cows' milk isn't suitable as a drink for babies under a year old


SEE ALSO: NHS WEANING ADVICE

Eeyore

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Monday, October 26th 2009, 6:45am

HOW TO START

It's best to think of this process in four stages.

STAGE ONE

When you start giving your baby solid foods, mix a teaspoon of one of the following with your baby's usual milk (breast or formula):
  • smooth vegetable purée such as carrot, parsnip, potato or yam, or

  • fruit purée such as banana, cooked apple, pear or mango, or

  • cereal (not wheat-based) such as baby rice, sago, maize, cornmeal or millet.

Offer this to your baby before or after one of your usual milk feeds, or in the middle of a feed, if that works better. If the food is hot, make sure you stir and cool it and test it before giving it to your baby.

Most babies take time to learn how to take food from a spoon. So be patient and be prepared for some mess. Your baby may cry at first between mouthfuls - until now, food has come in one continuous stream, but now there are frustrating pauses.

Don't press the food on your baby. If the food really doesn't seem to be wanted, stop and wait until next time. The main aim at this stage is to get your baby used to the idea of taking food from a spoon. He or she will still be getting most of their nourishment from breast or formula milk (around 500-600ml a day).

STAGE TWO

Feeds will still be mainly breast or formula milk (around 500-600ml a day). But when you're both ready, you can start very gradually increasing the amount of solid food you give, either before, during, or after the milk feed. Try to react to your baby's appetite, so if he or she is still hungry, you can give a little more.

At the same time, you can move gradually from solid food at one feed in the day to solid food at two, and then three feeds.

You can give your baby full-fat cows' milk products, such as yoghurt or cheese sauce as a solid food.

Try to give cereals to your baby just once a day. Begin to add different foods and different tastes. You'll be able to use lots of the foods you already cook for yourself. Just mash, sieve, or purée a small amount, but remember, don't add salt, honey or sugar.

Using your own food is cheaper than buying baby foods, you'll know what the ingredients are, and your baby will get used to eating like the rest of the family. Preparing larger quantities than you need and freezing small portions for later, for example in an ice cube tray, can save you time and effort.

More first foods to try

Add to the vegetable, fruit and cereal purées other foods such as:
  • Purées of meat and poultry

  • Purées of pulses such as lentils (dahl), hummus

  • Full-fat milk products such as yoghurt or fromage frais - unless you've been advised otherwise by your health visitor or GP

  • Full-fat milk can also be used for cooking, for example in cheese sauce, but avoid giving it to your baby as a drink until after he or she is a year old


STAGE THREE

As solid food becomes a large part of your baby's diet, it's important to offer a range of different foods. This is to provide your baby with all the vitamins and minerals he or she needs. Your baby should still be having a minimum of 500-600ml of breast or formula milk a day.

Try to give two to three servings a day of starchy foods such as potatoes, yams, rice or bread. Fruit and vegetables make good finger foods and should be included at two or more meals each day. Your baby should have one serving of soft cooked meat, fish, egg, tofu or pulses such as beans or lentils (dahl) a day. Red meat such as beef, lamb and pork is an excellent source of iron. Eggs (well cooked) are a quick, nutritious and cheap source of protein.

As babies continue to develop, foods with a thicker consistency and a lumpier texture can be introduced to encourage them to learn to chew and manage small pieces of food, even if they don't have teeth yet. Give finger foods such as toast, bread, breadsticks, pitta bread or chapatti, peeled apple, banana, carrot sticks, or cubes of cheese. Avoid sweet biscuits and rusks, so that your baby doesn't get into the habit of expecting sweet snacks.

Once your baby is over six months, you should start giving them vitamin drops containing vitamins A, C and D. However, if you are giving your baby infant formula, you don't need to start giving them vitamins until they are having less than 500ml of formula a day. This is because infant formula already contains added vitamins and minerals.

Always stay near your baby during feeding to give encouragement and to make sure he or she doesn't choke.

STAGE FOUR

As your baby becomes increasingly used to eating solid foods, he or she should be learning to fit in with the family by eating three minced or chopped meals a day, plus breast or formula milk as the main drink (around 500 - 600ml a day). Give your baby fruit or other healthy snacks between meals.

If your baby is on the move, (he or she may have started crawling), you may need to increase the amount of food you give. Babies have small stomachs and they need energy to grow, so make sure you give them full-fat dairy products. Cutting back on fat is sensible for adults, but not for babies or young children.

Give three to four servings a day of starchy foods and of fruit and vegetables. Don't encourage a sweet tooth by giving biscuits and cakes to your baby, because these foods will fill your baby up without providing the right nutrients.

If you have decided not to give your baby meat or fish

Make sure you give two servings a day of pulses (such as red lentils, beans or chickpeas), or tofu to make sure they get all the energy and nutrients they need. The vitamin C in fruit and vegetables might help our bodies absorb iron, so remember to give your baby fruit and vegetables at mealtimes. It is especially important to give vitamin drops to babies who are on a vegetarian diet.

Vegan diets, which contain no foods from animals, can't easily give babies all the energy and nutrients they need. For this reason, vegan diets aren't recommended for young babies. If you want to give your baby a vegan diet, you should talk to a dietitian first.

Eeyore

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Monday, October 26th 2009, 6:47am

WHAT FOODS TO AVOID

What foods to avoid

Salt
Don’t add any salt to the foods you give your baby because a young baby’s kidneys can’t cope with it. Some foods, such as cheese, sausages and bacon, are high in salt, so remember to limit how much of these foods you let your baby eat.

Baby foods aren’t allowed to contain added salt. But any foods you buy that aren’t aimed at babies, especially sauces and ready-made porridge, can often be high in salt, so also limit how much of these you let your baby eat and remember to check the label.

It’s best not to encourage a liking for salt at any age, so when you’re cooking for the family, leave out the salt so your baby can share the food. This is healthier for the rest of the family too.

Most of the salt we eat comes from the food products we buy, so check food labels so you can compare products. Food labels often give figures for sodium rather than salt. Choose lower salt (or lower sodium) versions for your baby whenever you can. Babies under a year should have less than 1g salt per day, which is less than 0.4g sodium. You can use these figures as a guide when you’re checking food labels.


Sugar
Sugary foods and drinks can encourage a sweet tooth and lead to tooth decay when your baby’s teeth start to come through. Only add sugar to foods if it’s really necessary. Sweet puddings, biscuits, sweets and ice creams are not recommended for babies under a year. Also see Fruit juices and Other drinks.


Honey
Don’t give honey, even for easing coughs, to your baby until they are a year old. Very occasionally honey contains a type of bacteria that can produce toxins in babies' intestines. This can cause a very serious illness called infant botulism. Honey is also a sugar, which means, like sugar, it can encourage a sweet tooth and lead to tooth decay.


Nuts
Don’t give any whole nuts, including peanuts, to children under five because they could cause choking. Also see peanut allergy.


Low-fat, low-calorie and high-fibre
It isn’t advisable to give ‘low-fat’, ‘low-calorie’ or ‘high-fibre’ foods to babies (also see the advice in Drinks). Babies have small tummies, but are growing fast. They need foods that provide lots of calories and nutrients in a small amount of food, rather than bulky high-fibre foods.

Fat gives them energy and provides some vitamins that are only found in fat. So choose full-fat dairy foods.

Don’t give your baby high-fibre versions of foods, especially those with added bran. It stops babies from absorbing important minerals such as calcium and iron. It’s better not to give your baby brown rice, wholemeal pasta or bran-enriched breakfast cereals until they are older, although you can give some brown bread.


Fish
Avoid giving any shark, swordfish or marlin. This is because the levels of mercury in these fish can affect a baby's growing nervous system. You should also avoid giving raw shellfish to babies to reduce their risk of getting food poisoning


Eggs
Don’t give raw or lightly cooked eggs to babies. Eggs can be given to babies over six months, but make sure they are thoroughly cooked until both the white and yolk are solid.


Eeyore

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Monday, October 26th 2009, 6:48am

BEFORE SIX MONTHS

The FSA advises that weaning starts at 6 months, for the reasons explained above

Starting solids before six months
If you decide to start your baby on solid foods before six months, check with your health visitor or GP first. There are many foods that should be avoided at this age including:

  • soft and unpasteurised cheeses
  • liver
  • peanuts
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • cows’ milk
  • eggs
  • foods that contain wheat or gluten
  • fish and shellfish


Food allergies
If you are concerned that your baby might develop a food allergy, it's a good idea to introduce the foods that are most likely to cause food allergies one at a time and to start with just a small amount (but don’t introduce them before six months). These foods are: peanuts, nuts, seeds, egg, milk, soya, wheat (and other cereals that contain gluten such as rye, barley and oats), fish and shellfish.

Peanut allergy
If your baby has already been diagnosed with an allergy, such as a food allergy or eczema, or if there is a history of allergy in their immediate family (if their parents, brothers or sisters have an allergy such as a food allergy, asthma, eczema, hayfever, or other types of allergy) then your baby has a higher risk of developing peanut allergy. So you should talk to your GP, health visitor or medical allergy specialist before you give peanuts or foods containing peanuts to your baby for the first time.

If your baby hasn't been diagnosed with any allergies and there isn't a history of allergy in their immediate family, you can choose to give them peanuts or foods containing peanuts after they are six months old. But remember to crush them up – you should never give whole peanuts or nuts to children under five because of the risk of choking.

When you give your baby peanuts for the first time, look out for any allergic reaction. If you think your child is having an allergic reaction, you should get urgent medical advice.

Cows' milk allergy

If your baby has an allergy to cows' milk, your GP might prescribe hydrolysed protein infant formulas. Babies who are allergic to cows' milk may also be allergic to soya. So only use soya-based infant formulas on the advice of your GP.

Milks based on goats' milk protein have not been approved for use by the European Food Safety Authority for babies under a year old, so don't choose these for your baby.

Most babies with cows' milk allergy are also likely to react to goats' milk and sheep's milk. This is because some of the proteins in these types of milk are similar to those found in cows' milk. The levels of lactose are also similar in these milks, so milks based on goats' milk protein are also unsuitable for babies that are lactose-intolerant. But remember that lactose intolerance is rare in babies.

Eeyore

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Monday, October 26th 2009, 6:49am

DRINKS


Not all drinks are suitable for babies. Here is some advice about different types of drinks.


Milk

Breast milk

This is the best drink for babies in the first few months and, ideally, up to a year old and beyond. The only alternative to breast milk in the first six months is infant formula. Choose an infant formula based on cows' milk unless you have been advised otherwise by your health professional. You should continue to give your baby breast milk or formula milk until he or she is at least a year old. A change to follow-on milk isn't necessary at any stage.

Doorstep (cows') milk
  • Full-fat milk isn't suitable as a drink until your baby is a year old. This is because it doesn't contain the right balance of nutrients to meet your baby's needs.
  • Semi-skimmed milk isn't suitable as a drink for children under two. But you can introduce it from two years old, if your child is a good eater and has a varied diet.
  • Skimmed or 1% milk isn't suitable for children under five years old.



Infant formula
  • Cows' milk infant formulas are the alternative to breast milk unless you have been advised otherwise by your health professional. You should continue to give your baby formula milk until he or she is at least a year old. Once your baby is six months old you can give follow-on milks, but this change isn't necessary.

  • Hydrolysed protein infant formulas might be prescribed by your GP if your baby has an allergy to cows' milk.

  • Only use soya-based infant formulas on the advice of your GP or health visitor. Babies who are allergic to cows' milk may also be allergic to soya.

  • Milks based on goats' milk protein have not been approved for use by the European Food Safety Authority for babies under a year old, so don't choose these for your baby.



Goats' and sheep's milk
These aren't suitable as drinks for babies under a year old because they don't contain the right balance of nutrients to meet your baby's needs, for example they don't contain enough iron.

Providing they are pasteurised, goats' and sheep's milk can be used once a baby is a year old. When your baby is six months old, you can start using full-fat milks in foods you cook for him or her, and give your baby full-fat milk products, such as yoghurt or fromage frais, unless you have been advised otherwise by your health visitor or GP.

Most babies with cows' milk allergy are also likely to react to goats' milk and sheep's milk.

Goats' milk infant formulas and follow-on formulas based on goats' milk protein have not been approved for use in Europe

Water
This is the best alternative drink to milk, but fully breastfed babies don't need any water until they start eating solid food. For babies under six months old, take water from the mains tap in the kitchen and boil it. Remember to allow the water to cool before giving it to your baby.

Bottled water isn’t a healthier choice than tap water and usually isn’t sterile. In fact, some natural mineral waters aren’t suitable for babies because of the amount of minerals they contain. If you need to use bottled water, remember that any bottled water that is labelled ‘natural mineral water’ might contain too much sodium for babies. Check the label to make sure the figure for sodium isn’t higher than 200 milligrams (or ‘mg’) a litre. You might need to look for ‘Na’ on the label, which also means sodium.

If you are giving bottled water to babies under six months, you should boil and cool it just like tap water. If you need to use bottled water to make up infant formula (for babies of any age), you should boil it and allow it to cool for no more than half an hour – see the section 'Using infant formula' above for advice on making up formula.


Fruit juice
Fruit juices, such as orange juice, are a good source of vitamin C. But giving your baby juices and other drinks will reduce his or her appetite for milk. Fruit juice also contains sugars, which are present naturally, and these can cause tooth decay. Fruit juice is also acidic. For these reasons, it's important not to give your baby fruit juice before he or she is six months old.

However, vitamin C might help our bodies absorb iron from a meal, so you may be advised to give diluted fruit juice with your child's meals after six months, particularly if your baby has a vegetarian diet or if you are breastfeeding. In this case, give very dilute juice (one part juice with ten parts cooled, boiled water) in a feeding cup and at mealtimes only.


Other drinks
The following drinks aren't suitable for babies and they could fill them up so they aren't hungry for more nutritious foods:

  • juice drinks, fizzy drinks, sugary drinks and squashes
  • diet drinks, 'low-calorie' and 'no added sugar' drinks
  • flavoured milks and flavoured waters
  • baby drinks and herbal drinks
  • tea and coffee

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Monday, October 26th 2009, 10:30am

Thanks so much for this Eeyore. Lo is 24 weeks tomorrow so will be starting the next couple of weeks and this is really handy. Will have to print this out and have it next to me when feeding her....laminated of course! :snigger:












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