Typical nighttime hiccups for every age group - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Typical nighttime hiccups for every age group

Just as you get it all right and think you are on the track to having a baby who sleeps through the night, you get one disturbed night of sleep and it sets you back big time! The question is: are there typical times that you should expect nighttime hiccups? Sleep and your newborn baby In the early days, most babies wake two to four hourly for feeds at night, especially breastfed babies. The night wakings gradually reduce and within a few weeks (usually at around 6 weeks of age) your newborn should start to stretch for one long stretch of five or more hours once at night. Usually the first stretch to develop will be from bedtime to around midnight, as your baby drops the late evening feed first. Don’t be tempted to wake your baby up earlier, to feed, in the hope that it will do away with the 2 am feed - they are usually too tired to feed efficiently and this can cause longer-term sleep problems! If you are having sleep problems at this age it is usually one of the following issues: Your newborn may have their day and night muddled up. Newborns can be too sleepy to feed well, fall asleep at the breast and therefore need to feed more frequently At 2-6 weeks, many newborns become more wakeful and hard to settle to sleep, especially during the afternoon and early evening. 4-6 months old From birth your baby will slowly and steadily begin to sleep for longer and longer stretches at night and you will have the satisfaction of the occasional longer period of sleep. But just as your baby pieces it together and is almost ‘sleeping through’, he will start to wake more frequently again. This happens as your little one begins to require extra nutrition at night, the milk feeds that used to sustain him are no longer doing so and you have three choices: Your baby needs nutritional support at night, so feed him when he cries if three or more hours have passed. Don’t be tempted to ‘dummy’ him because it will impact on sleep later if habits develop. In this way your little one will go back to sleep and wake again in 4 hours for another feed. This is a good idea if Your baby is less than 17 weeks You or your baby have confirmed allergies (in which case you should delay introducing a formula or solids) Offer a top up bottle at bedtime or if he wakes shortly after going down Introduce solids Give your baby a top up feed of formula or expressed breast milk in the evening. Treat this as a cluster feed just before bedtime Start looking at introducing solids – look at simple single grain and yellow veggies.8 months old At around 8 months old, your baby will start waking due to separation reasons or plain old habits. At this age your baby is working hard to establish object permanence – the awareness that you exist when he can’t see you. To decrease the effect of this milestone on sleep: Encourage a sleep soother such as the Baby Sense Taglet or dummy that can be used independently. Play separation games during the day – ‘peek a boo’ or hide and seek. Listen to your baby at night before going to him and see if he resettles on his own. If he cries, go to him, give him love and help him settle on his own with a doodoo blanky. Do not be tempted to feed him at night before 2am as this can lead to habits developing. Sleep and your baby 6m - 12m From 6 months, if your baby is on a full solids diet and has learnt to self-sooth, he can be expected to sleep through (10-12 hours without waking for a feed). After 6 months of age obstacles may presents themselves: If your baby is still waking is may be because he has developed a habit and expects to be resettled in the night in the same way as he falls asleep at bedtime. Alternately night wakings can be due to nutritional needs - your baby now needs specific essential fatty acids for brain development. These nutritional essentials are found in the fats in proteins. So now is the time to introduce protein in the form of dairy, meat, beans and chicken to your baby’s diet. At this age, teething can also disrupt sleep for a few nights. If your baby is definitely teething at night – and make this decision during day light hours when you can actually see the tooth. If there is evidence of teething, use teething powders or painkillers as necessary. Remember though that we tend to blame teething far too quickly and the reality is that it is rarely teething that is the problem and if so only for two to four nights as the tooth erupts. Separation anxiety also affects sleep especially around 8-10 months – as your baby develops object permanence, he may become insecure when you are not around. To decrease the effect of this milestone on sleep: Encourage a sleep soother such as the Baby Sense Taglet or dummy that can be used independently. Play separation games during the day – ‘peek a boo’ or hide and seek. Listen to your baby at night before going to him and see if he resettles on his own. If he cries, go to him, give him love and help him settle on his own with a doodoo blanky. Do not be tempted to feed him at night before 2am as this can lead to habits developing. Toddler years Toddlers are notorious poor sleepers. Your toddler will wander at night and come through to your room. In fact more toddlers co-sleep than newborns, according to recent research! Toddlers call for their parents at night due to night fears and boundary issues. To address this, leave a night light on and encourage your toddler to use a comfort object instead of coming to you. If your toddler repeatedly wanders into your bed at night you have three choices: Repeatedly walk him back to his bed – while this will be exhausting initially, your toddler will eventually learn that night wanders brings no joy. Let him climb into your bed and share a bed with him Find the sense-able middle ground – have a mattress under your bed that he can pull out and sleep on at night – this means your bed remains your own but your toddler has access to you at night. By Meg Faure
Night feeds – from newborn to toddler - Babysense
Breast Feeding

Night feeds – from newborn to toddler

Night feeds are simply a part of early parenting. All babies need them in the early days and all babies outgrow them in time. What you should expect at different ages? Prem or sick babies sick and under weight babies If your baby is born with higher needs than most babies, for instance if your baby is born prem, is ill or failing to thrive, you will be advised to wake your baby at night. In these circumstances, you may be told to wake your baby three hourly at night or to wake your baby at specific times. This is the only circumstance when babies should be woken at night. Be sure to keep these night feeds very calm and subdued so that your little one settles back to sleep as soon as possible. As soon as she is on the track to gaining weight nicely, ask your health care provider when you can stop waking her. Newborns If your newborn is a healthy little one and is gaining weight, there is no need to wake her at night. Allow her to wake on her own and do not be tempted to follow advice to wake her for a ‘dream feed’. Dream feeds are not conducive to setting the stage for good sleep long term. You can expect your newborn to wake 4 hours after falling asleep for a feed and then three hours thereafter until morning. If your newborn does sleep for longer stretches, it is absolutely fine to leave her to wake on her own. Some babies sleep through as early as 6 weeks and this is fabulous and no need to worry that she is stretching so long without a feed. 2-4 months By two to three months most babies are stretching for 6 -8 hours before needing a night feed and then three hourly thereafter. If your baby wakes more than this, try to cluster feed in the evening before 8pm to top her up so she sleeps for longer. Two or three extra little snack feeds at this time can help. If she wakes consistently three hourly at night and yet is gaining good weight, you can start to stretch your little one with a dummy or a little water at the first night waking. Be sure to do all night feeds quietly and calmly and not to burp your little one for longer than 5 minutes. 4 -6 months Many babies regress in their night wakings as they approach 4 months. If your little one was stretching to the early hours before needing a feed and suddenly picks up the 11pm feed again and is generally hungry, it may be that she is not fully satisfied nutritionally. Initially reintroduce the feed she is waking for. If this night waking persists and your baby is hungrier during the day too, it may be time for solids. By now your baby will have stopped soiling her nappy at night and it is fine to leave a wet nappy on for the night, without a change, if your baby has not poo’ed and does not have a tendency for nappy rashes. By not changing the nappy and keeping night feeds quiet, you have more chance of your little one settling off to sleep immediately after the feed. 6 months – 18 months Soon after 6 months of age your baby should be sleeping through the night without needing nutrition – this means 8-10 hours of uninterrupted sleep. If your baby needs a feed at 4am, do so quietly in her room. If your baby over 6 months of age still wakes for feeds frequently at night: Introduce or increase the protein in her day meals Offer a cluster feed or top up feed after bath Pat and sooth her back to sleep if before 12am Use white noise such as the Baby Sense Womb to World CD or MP3 Offer an iron supplement if she is anaemic You may need to break the habit, if your little one wakes repeatedly to snack on the breast throughout the night. Toddlerhood No night feeds are needed before 6am. If your toddler feeds at night, she is likely to be a fussy solids eater during the day. It is time to explain that she doesn’t need milk or you can say: “The Kitchen is Closed”. Keep the reason concrete and consistent. By Meg Faure
What is a picky eater? - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>6-12 Months

What is a picky eater?

Picky eating is such a broad term and something that may mean different things for different people. So what actually is a picky eater? A picky eater is a child who will have a decreased range of foods but still eat quite a variety. Foods are eaten for a while and then lost due to ‘burn out’ and then often regained after a break from that food. Picky eaters are often able to tolerate new foods on their plates even if they won’t eat them but will be selective about what they choose to taste. A picky eater will most often eat at least one food from each of their food groups but will most likely favour one or two food groups over the others. The risk with picky eaters is twofold - both nutritional and emotional. If your child is consistently avoiding a whole food group eg the fruit & veggie group then he will be at risk of certain key vitamins and fibre. If this is ongoing you as a parent are likely to become stressed and this will lead to a stressed out feeding environment and unhappy eating time. (Emotional fallout). To put it simply, during a picky eating phase it is important to supplement the missing food group by adding a good multivitamin. If you feel your child is missing out on energy (eating too little overall) as well as avoiding a whole food group then adding a milk supplement for picky eaters may assist you in managing this phase to avoid added stress around meal time. You need to diffuse the situation and avoid food battles at all costs. Remember your responsibility is when, where and what you feed your child and your child’s responsibility is how much they eat. It is a phase, which will pass, maintain their health with the use of good sound supplements if necessary and relax as they explore foods and find out their own likes and dislikes! By Kath Megar
Feeding your baby cow’s milk from 12 months old - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>6-12 Months

Feeding your baby cow’s milk from 12 months old

"When is the right time to introduce cows milk straight from the fridge?" Must we continue with formula milks into the toddler years or can regular cows milk suffice? The answer is complicated and does depend on your individual baby. The main points to look at are: 1. Does my baby have allergies? If so continue on the formula he is on. 2. Is my toddler a good eater? If you have a poor eater, you may need specially formulated toddler milk for fussy eaters. 3. Is my toddler on breast milk? Breast milk still offers wonderful nutrients into the toddler years. If your baby is on cows milk formula and is a good eater on only two milk bottles a day (as he should be at this age) using cows milk is a good option. By Meg Faure
Lunches and lunch boxes for your toddler - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Toddler Talk>Feeding

Lunches and lunch boxes for your toddler

Use the opportunity of lunchtime to try out different food experiences for your toddler. Use the opportunity of lunchtime to try out different food experiences: chewy, crisp and soft; high calorie and low calorie; sharp and mild. Between the ages of one and three years, your baby really becomes one of the family. Use the opportunity of lunchtime to try out different food experiences: chewy, crisp and soft; high calorie and low calorie; sharp and mild; convenience and homemade foods. Lunch time for the toddler is often split in two parts with the first part being the pre sleep meal and the second the post sleep meal. Toddlers are often sleeping over traditional lunch ‘time’ so it is important to be flexible in order to optimize intake. After a nap the Toddler needs some time to wake up before they are willing to sit down to a meal. The challenge is that this is then often close to afternoon snack time and so combining snack and lunch time works wonders and takes the pressure off. An example of a pre-lunch meal would include eating foods like a yogurt, custard & fruit or a fruit smoothie. Post sleep lunch meal would include more finger foods like cheese and crackers, cold meat slices, bread slices and fruit pieces. Lunch time should be fun and relaxed and is a wonderful opportunity to connect with your little one. You must not let this meal become a stress or battle, rather a time to explore new tastes and textures. Another important part of a toddlers day is their mid morning snack time or the pre-school lunchbox. This is often one of the best eaten meals of the day for two reasons as the toddler is fully awake and active and often feeling hungry. Secondly this meal is often eaten amongst peers and nothing beats peer pressure in getting a reluctant eater to eat. Lunchboxes are, for most parents a huge challenge as we all want to pack healthy foods our children will eat. A few guidelines when packing a lunchbox: Pack your lunchbox the evening before, when you have more time and your toddler can help you. Mornings are often too hectic and not all toddlers (and parents) are morning people. Include foods from all the food groups: A fruit or fresh raw veg e.g. baby tomatoes, carrot and cucumber slices or a small plum or bunch of grapes, dried fruit, raisins An energy food like cracker bread, Low Gi bread, Rice Cakes, potato salad A healthy fat, either avocado slices (in season), butter on bread, Nuts and seeds, olives, lite mayonnaise A protein food – hard boiled egg, cold meat, slices chicken breast, peanut butter, Nut butter, biltong, yogurt, cheese Be sensitive to weather when packing your child’s lunchbox, in summer include a cooler brick to keep food cool and fresh. Include a little picture of their favourite thing. Avoid packing crips and sweet and cake treats – keep these for special occasions at home or at parties. Always send with water and a small diluted pure fruit juice (200ml) is sufficient By Meg Faure
Teaching your baby and toddler about healthy eating - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Baby Talk>Feeding

Teaching your baby and toddler about healthy eating

What is healthy eating? Healthy eating can be defined as: Providing adequate food intake from a variety of sources that will allow your child to grow and develop and reach their full potential physically, mentally and emotionally. Babies are born knowing how to eat. As a mother you will listen to a hunger cry, feed your baby, and watch as she turns away, indicating she is satisfied. This process of getting hungry, being fed and feeling full is at the heart of healthy eating. As your infant grows you will realize that her hunger is satisfied by food, tiredness by sleep and boredom by activity. Avoid using food to satisfy the latter two and you are on your way to encourage healthy eating patterns. Whether you opt to breast feed your baby or bottle feed your baby you can still choose and encourage feeding on demand (i.e. according to your baby’s needs). We know that breast milk is nature’s food for babies and nothing else has or ever will be able to compete with the amazing qualities of breastmilk and its perfect composition. Is breast milk the food of choice for babies? – the answer is yes. Is breast milk the only food that will grow a nutritionally healthy baby – the answer is no. Human science has been able to reproduce many qualities of breastmilk in the form of different formula feeds. Breastfeeding is not an exact science and moms are guided by their baby’s signals indicating hunger and when the baby is full. Likewise, if you are bottle feeding, don’t be tempted to ‘follow the tin’ as over or underfeeding can be a result. Aim to stop when your baby indicates fullness and be prepared to give more if your baby appears hungry. For a period after solids have been introduced, your baby needs very little solid food as milk is the primary food source. Pureed fruit, vegetables and maize/rice cereals in the early weaning stage are easily digestible options and good starter foods. With solid food, too, your baby will give you signals. When she has had enough of the offered food, she will signal the end of a meal, probably by turning away. This may not mean that she is full, but only that she has had enough of the solid food. She may still be hungry for milk. If your baby learns to eat solid foods while remaining a demand feeder (i.e. on her own terms), she will become more ready to try new foods and textures. Unless your child is an allergic child or has risk of food allergy development, you can become quite liberal as to what foods you introduce within the first year. Work within the following guidelines; Keep foods initially separated Don’t introduce more than one new food at a time Avoid the use of excessive condiments, but make food tasty Keep it simple Encourage tasting foods from all the various food groups listed below: Protein foods are foods that build muscles in the body and contain iron necessary for growth and development. Protein foods include chicken, fish, meat, eggs, cheese, yoghurt, beans and lentils. Some proteins are more allergenic than others and need to be avoided if there is a history of allergies in your family. Consult your clinic sister before introducing proteins. Energy foods fuel the body and include breads, pasta, rice, cereals, sugars and treat foods like cakes, sweets etc. Avoid simple and very processed carbohydrates. Fats provide energy as a backup resource, however the primary role of fat in the diet is to build brain pathways, ‘oil’ the joints and assist the immune system while providing insulation for those cold winter months. Fats in the diet can include olive oil, canola oil, butters, margarines, tree nuts, avocado pears and olives. Do not be tempted to put your baby on a low fat diet. Babies need fat in their diets. Fruit and vegetables are protective to the body and are the glamour foods. They sustain the immune system of the body to fight ‘bad bugs’ that cause illnesses and they also ensure our hair, skin and overall appearance is optimal!!! So what exactly is your role then as parent? Quite simply to: Provide a variety of the above foods on a daily basis in various forms. Identify the favourite foods of your little person, and provide these foods regularly Offer texture changes as your child grows Encourage (not force) introduction of new foods in a pleasant environment. Watch and learn the cues your baby /toddler gives when they are hungry, or when they are full and satisfied and respond accordingly. Remember YOU can influence what YOU offer in your home as far as good food goes. What you can’t influence is when your baby is hungry or when your baby is full if you want your child to be an intuitive eater. Intuitive eaters enjoy having all kinds of food available when they are physically hungry. They enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, whole grains and dairy products – as well as chocolates and sweets sitting on the shelf and liters of ice cream in the freezer. They don’t need to compete for any foods. Nothing is forbidden. Weight gain and lifestyle disease will not be the punishment for enjoyable eating. Instead of saying “Don’t spoil your appetite,’ Rather say ‘Eat when you are hungry, eat foods of your choosing and stop when you are full.’ Is this not perhaps the ultimate definition of Healthy eating? By Meg Faure
Fussy eaters - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>6-12 Months

Fussy eaters

If your family dinner table has become a battleground, take heart – Specialist Dietician, Katherine Megaw gives guidelines on how to take the stress out of mealtimes with your toddler and child, end the arguments over food, and feed your fussy eaters. Solving a complex problem at work, finally achieving a personal goal is nothing compared to your child finishing a whole plate of food. Isn’t it amazing that no matter how big your accomplishments in your day, NOTHING, absolutely nothing compares to the satisfaction you get watching your toddler successfully finish a meal. You can sleep peacefully knowing your baby has eaten ‘well’! Having a fussy eater is more common than you may think. While some babies eat almost anything they can get their little hands on, other babies are a lot pickier. Some fussy eaters are simply trying to express their independence with a say in what, when, where and how they eat. Others just need some coaxing, distraction and gentle encouragement. There is nothing like a food battle to cause stress and anxiety in parents – take heart and remember fussy eating isn’t just common, it’s normal! Understanding your child A classic time for problems to arise is when your baby is 12 months old. As a child is more aware of the world his natural instincts make him more suspicious of new foods. This is nature’s way of protecting us from eating food that is potentially harmful. If you’re one of the lucky parents that sailed through weaning, another common time for problems to arise is during the challenging 2’s. Having lulled you into a false sense of security, your toddler could wake one morning with dietary requirements that even a top chef would struggle to meet. Children’s appetites are affected by growth cycles and they have different taste preferences to adults. You will encourage her appetite to work properly if you give her more when she’s hungry and let her eat less when she’s not interested. Growth slows down and appetites fluctuate between one and five years of age. Studies have shown that most children get plenty to eat even if it seems like they are barely eating at all. Try looking at mealtimes from a child’s perspective. Toddlers have a different agenda: from their point of view, eating is a waste of their playing time, and if we make mealtimes boring by nagging, it’s even worse. Some practical tips Here are some tips to help your little fussy eater learn to eat better, while giving you some peace of mind. Put your mind at rest: If you are concerned about the health of your child, take her for a check up at the doctor to rule out any potential health problems. Keep a food diary for 2 weeks and record EVERYTHING that she eats and drinks (include quantities). You can then get this assessed by a health professional to assess adequate nutritional intake. Give an appropriate vitamin & mineral supplement during the fussy eating phase. Stay off the battle field: Remember picky eating can also be a child’s way of asserting his independence and may have less to do with the actual food than his need to push the limits of your authority and assert some control over his life. This is why pressurizing a child to eat often backfires and you become a ‘casualty of war’. Wean at the appropriate age Weaning late has shown some link to fussing eating. Parents who delay introducing their babies to chewy food and a variety of tastes could find their babies grow up developing food fads. A recent study showed that babies should be introduced to a more varied diet between the ages of 6 to 9 months to decrease the risk of becoming fussy eaters. Babies learning to eat will spit food out, and this is more than likely due to a ‘tongue-reflex’ action than a sign that your baby doesn’t like the food. Keep trying with that food and soon he will get used to it and swallow. Fun food presentation Sandwiches cut into moon shapes, a cracker with a smiley face, carrot sticks as soldiers and apple boats can make food presentation more enticing. Presenting meals as a smorgasbord from which they can pick and choose from a variety of colours, shapes and textures. Toddlers and young children prefer foods that are identifiable and not one big mush. Using a compartmentalized plate that prevents different foods from touching is a great help. Make mealtimes fun and relaxed Use it as an extension of playtime and time when you and your baby can bond uninterrupted (no cell phone calls or text messages!!!). Do puzzles, read a book, tell a story. Educate Talk about the food and its value in simple terms. E.g. this piece of chicken will help your muscles grow strong like daddy (or superman!!) and this carrot will give you beautiful eyes like Cinderella! Involve your child in food preparation By involving your child they will be likely to eat what THEY have made and may eat a bit while preparing their meal. Empower your child in decision making Allow your toddler to choose between two food options. Children are more likely to eat food they have chosen for themselves. Serve simple, easy to prepare meals. There is nothing more demoralizing than spending ages cooking a gourmet meal for your baby, who after the first spoonful turns her head away. Prepare easy meals that you know your child likes and should they refuse the food, offer one alternative that is a sure win e.g. Yogurt. Milk intake By the age of one, babies need drink only 500ml of milk daily. Most babies can go onto cow’s milk from one year of age unless health reasons dictate otherwise. Do not substitute milk for meals. Social eating People are social beings as are our children. Nothing makes a toddler want his food more than having another toddler after his food. Invite a friend over who has a good appetite and watch how your child eats. Children generally eat better at school than at home. Often a toddler will eat more food off daddy’s plate than his own plate of food. Some final tips Serve small portions in a fresh and attractive way Limit drinking before and during meals Offer new foods when you know your child is hungry and more receptive to new tastes If your child is playing with his food, quietly remove his plate with no fuss. And finally relax, you are doing a great job and statistics have shown that children do not wilfully starve themselves!!! By Katherine Megaw
Finger food for little ones - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>1-3 Months

Finger food for little ones

Snacks are a wonderful and under-utilized resource by parents. Babies and toddlers have such small appetites that to meet all their dietary needs in 3 meals a day is impossible. This is where healthy snacks come in. Snacks need to be seen as part of the day’s intake and should have the following characteristics: They should include at least two food groups e.g. a protein food and a fruit. They should be simple to prepare and easy to eat e.g. a yogurt and a banana. They should be served in between mealtimes. Snacks should be transportable i.e. they should be able to be packed in a container and taken to grannies house, the shops or a doctor’s appointment. They should be nutritious and as fresh as possible. They should be weather appropriate e.g. a Fruit ice lolly is lovely for the warm summer months but not appropriate in cold weather. They can be homemade and do not need to cost a lot of money. Snacks are also lovely opportunities for babies and Toddlers to learn to self-feed and also try new textures. Use snack times to introduce your baby to new foods and allow them to eat with their fingers. You can serve up to three snacks per day. E.g. mid-morning, midafternoon and last kitchen call snack. The last kitchen call snack is very helpful for the mom that has a fussy eater or when your toddler is in the fussy eater stage. You can offer dinner and relax knowing that you will offer a small nutritious snack half hour before bed. This avoids the “I am hungry” moment before bed. So what are some healthy snack examples? Choose any two of these foods from the following groups to make up a healthy snack time as well as a liquid Protein Starch Fruit Veg Liquid Biltong Jerky (organic and low salt) BreadCut into-slices- cookie cutter- squares Fresh fruit cut up Crudités -cucumber -carrots Herbal tea Dairy yogurt Snack breads like Provita or Ryvita Dried fruit Bite sized Frozen veg, steamed e.g.carrots, peas and corn Water Soya yogurt Cracker breads Raisins Homemade ice tea Cheese Rice cakes Frozen fruit Milk Peanut or other nut butter Digestive biscuits Fruit ice lolly Smoothies Crushed nuts (age appropriate) Rusks Fruit smoothie Chicken/beef strips Mini muffins Mini meatballs -chicken -ostrich -beef Milk smoothie And how much: Offer a Toddler handful each from the two food groups you have chosen above. Happy snack time! By Meg Faure
Avoiding childhood obesity early on when introducing solids - Babysense
Category_Advice & Tips>Baby>Ages & Stages>6-12 Months

Avoiding childhood obesity early on when introducing solids

A large percentage of children in developed countries are overweight. Obesity is steadily on the increase and drastic measures are being taken worldwide to try and understand and ultimately deal with this growing epidemic. There are two areas of intervention, first is how can we assist families of children who are obese or borderline obese. The second is how we prevent childhood obesity in the future. As far as prevention is concerned we have gone right back to the early days of feeding babies. What milk your baby is being fed (breast or bottle) may have a more significant role in preventing or causing childhood obesity than what was previously understood. When and how you wean is another area that is being closely looked at in the quest to prevent this growing epidemic. Studies suggest that the early feeding environment may be a significant factor in childhood obesity. The findings showed that children who had been breastfed longer had a lower fat mass which could not be explained by differences in family background or the child's height. It was also found that, independent of the duration of breastfeeding, children with higher quality weaning diets including fruits, vegetables, and home-prepared foods had a greater lean mass at four years of age. Many children acquire bad habits right from their own homes. One way to see is how much time a child spends in front of the television or playing games on the computer. One way to change this is to have rules that encourage children play outdoors. Having children participate in outdoor activities would be one way parents can provide help for overweight kids. Teaching by example is the way to inculcate in children the right habits. Eating healthy meals prepared from fresh nutritious ingredients would be a start. Removing junk food altogether may not be the right way but by controlling their intake, the child can eat better meals. Taking time out to exercise together as a family and having healthy meals together would be great for all. Also, limiting TV time to a certain number of hours would be help for overweight kids; they can learn to become active and spend time outside engaging in activities with friends. These healthy habits are best formed in the early years when introducing solids to your baby as well as in the toddler years when you need to set boundaries. These boundaries can include healthy foods choices, mealtime routines as well as regular physical activity with limited TV times. It is much easier to train these healthy habits from early on in your child’s life than having to undo bad habits and train new ones later on in life. Here are some practical tips when it comes to introducing your baby and toddler to snacks Snacking for health Snacking is not a bad thing -- in fact, it's a good thing -- and it can actually help keep kids from overeating at mealtime But even while we're bombarded with choices by the snack food industry, it's not always easy to find healthy snacks -- much less get your kids to eat them. Here are six simple guidelines. Relax the Food Ties That Bind While you may have strict nutritional guidelines for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, snacks are the place to give children some wiggle room. Choose the Lesser of the Evils When it comes to ingredients like sugar and saturated fat, you might think most commercial snack foods are pretty similar, give or take a gram. But look a little harder at the label and you may find important differences. Opting for the more nutrient-dense snack will help ensure it has some redeeming value, even if some of the other ingredients are not top nutritional choices. In addition, keep an eye on the sugar content. Some snacks, even seemingly healthy ones like flavoured yogurt, are way over the top when it comes to added sweeteners. Portion, Portion, Portion While it's OK to give kids some leeway on choosing what snacks to have, it's still vital to pay attention to portion size. It's also important to look for snacks with low levels of fat, saturated fat, and trans fat. Even if the package says a snack has no trans fats, read the ingredient list to be sure. If you see the word 'hydrogenated,' it means it has some trans fat, so avoid that snack Make It Easy to Eat Well Having trouble getting your kids to eat healthy snacks -- like fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain items? Make these foods easy to munch, and they will eat more of them, No matter what food it is you're trying to get your child to eat, if you make it accessible, if it's easy to eat, if it's there waiting for them in the fridge or on the counter, you will increase the likelihood that they will eat it Make It Yourself Some pre-packaged snacks are quite healthy. But when you make a healthy snack from scratch, it's easy to "hide" the healthy ingredients, and give your kids the taste they want along with the nutrition you want them to have, Another trick: Substitute fruit puree for one-half to three-quarters of the fat in any cake, cookie, or muffin recipe. You can also cut sugar by 1/3 to 1/2 without stirring up much of a fuss. Think Outside the Cookie Jar! If you hear the word "snack" and automatically think cookies, chips, or pie, think again. A snack food doesn't have to be a sweet. It doesn't even have to be a traditional snack food. Almost anything a kid likes to eat can be turned into a snack if you watch portion sizes. It's important to get kids away from the taste of sugar, and incorporating other types of snacks into their diet is one way to do that. By Meg Faure

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