One of the most common questions I hear from parents is, how do I know if my baby is eating enough?  It’s perfectly natural to worry.  But when you first wean and start the journey onto solids, those initial weeks and months are all about getting your baby used to solid foods. How food feels in their mouths, how to move food around, how to chew and swallow, plus all those exciting new flavours.  It’s quite a lot of new skills to master!

The majority of your baby’s nutritional needs for the first 12 months comes from breast or formula milk.  So all you need to worry about during that early weaning journey is offering a variety of different foods, of all different flavours and textures.  Give them time and space to experiment with food.  Try not to compare your baby’s food intake with what your friend’s babies are eating.  Some babies eat more than others, some eat less.  Some days they may eat everything in sight, others they may not be hungry at all.  Some babies like purees.  Some like finger foods.  Some like a combination.  And that may change from week to week too!

There’ll probably be some food throwing, some squidging, some refusing.  Just be consistent with giving your baby a wide variety of healthy foods – the vast majority of babies will eat just what they need to grow and truly thrive.  Babies are really good at regulating their appetites and letting their grown ups know when they’ve had enough.

During the first few weeks of weaning, you’ll probably be offering your baby solid foods at 2 to 3 meals initially, moving to 3 meals per day and perhaps a couple of small snacks in between.  Plus of course continuing breast and formula feeds, but gradually reducing this as they grow and move beyond 12 months.

Learning to eat solid foods takes time.  Be patient.  Watch your baby’s cues.  Are they alert during waking hours, and energetically exploring the world around them?  Are they peeing regularly and pooing everyday?  These are all good signs your baby is eating enough.

Finally, don’t be tempted to fill your baby up with unhealthy things just because they will eat them.  Wholefood, unprocessed, natural ingredients that are low in sugar should be chosen all the way.

5 Essential Nutrient for Super Babies!

The first 12 months of your baby’s life is a time of incredible growth.  And what do you think powers all this amazing growth and development?  Well the nutrients they consume play a huge role.  Alongside good sleep and a loving and nurturing environment to grow, with plenty of cuddles and quality time with parents.

Up to 12 months old, breast milk and/or formula will be their main source of nutrition… but right from the early days of weaning, you can start to think about some of the key nutrients they need to grow into super kids and adults.  This will also help them get used to a varied diet, packed with different flavours and nourishing textures.

In this article, I’ll share 5 essential nutrients your growing baby needs for optimal brain health, growth and development.  So as they make their transition to solids, you can ensure you’re giving them the best start in life.

  1. Protein is the building block for all the tissues of our body – bones, muscles, skin, hair.  It’s also vital for healing and repair.  You can find protein in a variety of sources – including quinoa, our favourite supergrain from the Andes.  Plus chickpeas, lentils, tofu, meat, fish, eggs, smooth nut butter and plain yoghurt.  Also ground up seeds.
  2. Calcium:  a key nutrient for growing bones, but also important for our muscles and nervous system to function well.  We often think of dairy as the main source of calcium, and of course full fat organic cheese and yoghurt are great sources of calcium.  But other non-dairy sources also provide calcium – mashed up sardines, tahini (which is sesame seed paste – it’s lovely used like peanut butter), hummus and chickpeas, dark green leafy veggies such as kale and broccoli, and fresh herbs such as parsley which gives food a delicious flavour.
  3. Omega 3:  such a key nutrient for a growing baby, especially for their brain and eyes.  If you’re breastfeeding, it’s really important that you eat plenty of omega 3 foods as well, because your breastmilk is packed with omega 3.  Your baby can also have omega 3 foods from the early days of weaning – oily fish like salmon and sardines are great sources.  Also dark green leafy veg like broccoli and kale have small amounts of omega 3, as does our favourite grain, quinoa.  Other great omega 3 foods are ground up walnuts, ground chia or flaxseed – you can mix these into porridge or yoghurt.
  4. Iron: from around 6 months of age, babies will start to get a bit low on iron.  This mineral is a vital nutrient for your baby’s brain development, and is needed to make haemoglobin to carry oxygen all around their bodies.  You can support your weaning baby’s iron levels with dark green leafy veg like broccoli, peas and spinach.  These are nice cooked and whizzed into a puree, or if your baby likes finger foods then steam some broccoli and offer whole.  Red meat, fish, egg yolks, lentils, beans and wholegrains are also great iron foods.  Plus a little dried fruit is a good source of iron – dates, dried apricots – chop them up and gently cook with a little water, then blitz into a puree to stir into porridge or yoghurt.
  5. Zinc:  zinc is involved in over 500 enzyme reactions in our bodies, which shows you just how important it is! It’s also one of the most important nutrients for our immune system.  Meat and fish are rich sources of zinc.  Also wholegrains such as oats and quinoa, nut butters and ground up seeds.  I recommend some added ground pumpkin seeds into porridge for a good boost of zinc.