Archive for Weaning

20 Oct 2011

New! Portion size guidance for toddlers

No Comments Nutrition Bites, Weaning

Anyone who has tried to feed a toddler knows that how much they eat will vary from day to day and week to week. This is perfectly normal, but sometimes it would be helpful to know whether your expectations are realistic.

The Infant and Toddler Forum have published evidence-based guidance on healthy portion sizes that meet UK Estimated Average Requirements for energy (EAR) and Reference Nutrient Intakes (RNIs) for toddlers. It can help ensure your child receives the best nutrition possible at a really crucial time in their development. The portion size models can be downloaded for free here:

07 May 2011

A word on…Bottles, Dummies & Cups

No Comments Fussy Eaters, Weaning

I’m often asked about the best brand of feeder cups for toddlers who are almost finished with their baby bottles. My answer is always the same: the best drinking vessels for children over the age of one are open, non-lidded cups – yes, just the same shape as the ones you use!

Baby bottles and also dummies (or pacifiers) should really be discarded by the time your child is 12 months of age. This may sound like an impossible feat to achieve but a great deal of evidence suggests this is the right thing to do. With a bit of practice a child can get the hang of open cups – I have seen whole nursery classes of one year olds take just a few weeks to get used to the change.

5 reasons to throw out the bottles and dummies when your child is one….

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21 Apr 2011

Top tips for happy eaters

No Comments Fussy Eaters, Weaning

From the moment weaning begins, it is important that your child starts to nurture a life-long positive approach to food, mealtimes and eating. Meals should be happy from the start! Follow my top tips for happy eaters and both you and your child can have stress free, happy meals together.

  1. Let your child have the control over what goes into their mouth: try giving them their own spoon or offer some finger foods, allow them to see the food they’re about to eat (don’t hide it in a bowl out of their reach), and allow your child to expore the food by touching it before they eat it. If spoon-feeding, avoid pushing the spoon to the back of their mouths – place the spoon near their lips and let them choose to take it off the spoon themselves.
  2. Include a variety of foods in your child’s diet and don’t ignore previously refused foods: it can take 15-20 exposures of one food before a child learns to like the taste.
  3. Never force your child to eat anything: this includes persuading them to eat beyond their appetite. Don’t worry about having a clean plate – it is much better that your child learns to understand their own feelings of hunger and fullness. Don’t panic if they haven’t eaten much that day – forcing them to eat will not make anything better in the long term.
  4. Role model good eating: children love to mimic and if they see you eating (and enjoying) your vegetables they are likely to copy.
  5. Mess is good! Messy meal times are happy meal times. Allow your chld to explore food with all their senses and stop yourself from wiping them clean before the meal is finished. If children are not given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the pleasure of exploring food before they eat it, they often end up disinterested in food and reluctant to eat.

Finally, expect that your child will go through a phase of fussy eating. It is a normal developmental milestone, but if appropriately managed will usually resolve. If you are worried about prolonged fussy eating, nutrient intake or extreme food refusal it is a good idea to get in touch with a paediatric dietitian to help you nip the problem in the bud before it gets out of hand.

14 Apr 2011

Iron for… IQ

No Comments Weaning

The importance of iron in the baby’s weaning diet should not be underestimated. Many parents spend the first few months of weaning letting their babies get used to healthy fruits and vegetables, and forget all about the other food groups including foods high in iron. Iron is a very important mineral needed for red blood cell production, energy and metabolism. Recent research has shown a lack of iron in the early years can have a long term and possibly irreversible effect on brain development, meaning if infants are not given adequate iron foods their IQ may be compromised.

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07 Apr 2011

Weaning – has anyone got a clue?!

No Comments Weaning

Just when you thought being a parent couldn’t be any more difficult….weaning guidelines were surely put on this earth to baffle and stress you entirely. Your Health Visitor says one thing, GP says something else, internet forums and mum’s groups are awash with different advice, and the latest best-selling parenting books don’t agree either.

The weaning debate

The current debate lies in the ideal age of the baby to introduce food. All babies only need milk for the first few months of their lives. Many years ago, babies were introduced food very early, but in 2003 the Department of Health issued a statement recommending weaning to start only at 6 months of age. Read more