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Healthy eating for babies is not the same as for adults.

ALL-ABOUT-BABY-1---IMAGEAdults are encouraged to eat more fibre and less fat. This results in a diet that is lower in energy (calories) and more filling.

However, this advice is not suitable for very young children as they have small stomachs, and so cannot eat large amounts of food at one time. Babies and young children need to eat small amounts of food regularly.

Babies need high energy foods. Between the ages of two and five, children can gradually begin to eat more foods that are higher in fibre and lower in fat. By the age of five years, your child will be able to follow the healthy eating guidelines, just like the rest of the family.
Iron:
Babies are born with stores of iron. At around 6 months, these stores begin to run out so it is important to ensure your baby gets enough iron for healthy growth and development. Give iron-rich foods such as; lean meat (liver is very high in iron), cereals, beans and green vegetables, regularly.
Sources: World Health Organisation / Health Service Executive Ireland / HSC Public Health Agency Northern Ireland / NHS Public Health Agency UK

To freeze your freshly homemade baby food; Spoon you’re freshly made and cooled baby food into a silicone or plastic ice cube tray, cover and transfer to freezer. For ease of use when frozen decant from tray into plastic freezer bag so you can mix and match flavours and can see easily how many cubes are left. Make sure to label and date contents, they can be safely stored for up to 6 weeks.28549942_xxl

When needed, defrost the required amount of purees in the fridge and then reheat until piping hot and cool down before serving. Only reheat a puree once. When a food has been thawed never refreeze.

Once baby has transitioned through first tastes and is showing an acceptance of spoon feeding and new tastes, you will be looking to introduce a broader range of ingredients, flavours and textures to baby’s repertoire. Initially it is important to keep purees smooth until baby is ready for a thicker and lumpier consistency. From 6 months you can begin to add proteins such as fish or chicken and you can start to introduce cow’s milk and dairy into your cooking.

When you get to stage 2 and stage 3 you might consider using pots for freezing portions. You can reuse Pip & Pear pots or alternatively, there are a wide range of suitable pots on the market and they are a good investment, you will find lots of uses for them long after weaning is finished.

If there is a history of allergies in the family you should seek medical advice before introducing allergens into your baby’s diet.

In the majority of cases it is safe to introduce allergens into your baby’s diet aftershutterstock_177809252 6 months of age, including products containing peanuts. Never give whole nuts to a baby or a child under 5 years of age, as they are a choke hazard.

You should look out for any adverse reactions when introducing a new allergen into your baby’s diet. If you observe any possible side affects you should immediately seek medical attention. Many children outgrow allergies to milk and eggs but peanut allergies are generally for life.

Parenting Tip: Never be afraid to seek medical attention when you have a concern about the health of your baby. It’s better to have a false alarm than to have regrets about not acting soon enough.

How will I know if my child has a food allergy?
An allergic reaction can consist of one or more of the following:

• diarrhoea or vomiting
• a cough
• wheezing and shortness of breath
• itchy throat and tongue
• itchy skin or rash
• swollen lips and throat
• runny or blocked nose
• sore, red and itchy eyes

In a few cases, foods can cause a very severe reaction (anaphylaxis) that can be life threatening and you should seek immediate medical attention.

Sources: World Health Organisation / Health Service Executive Ireland / HSC Public Health Agency Northern Ireland / NHS Public Health Agency UK

Many foods and drinks contain additives for several reasons such as; extending shelf life and improving colour or texture. If a product contains an additive it will be named in the list of ingredient’s with the “E” number and its function, such as “colouring” or “preservative”.

Additives are constantly rigorously assessed for safety before they can be used shutterstock_75841150and their suitability is regularly reviewed.

A few people have adverse reactions to some food additives but reactions to ordinary foods are more common.

Processed foods are more likely to contain additives and high levels of salt, sugar and fat. Therefore, it is best to avoid giving too many of these foods to your children. There is no need to give any of these foods to your baby.

Sources: World Health Organisation / Health Service Executive Ireland / HSC Public Health Agency Northern Ireland / NHS Public Health Agency UK

As your baby begins to eat more solid foods, they will soon need less breast or formula milk. Let your baby guide you and recognise when they have had enough. If your baby is hungry they will very quickly let you know, so they are not going to starve.

Babies should be offered only breastmilk, formula milk or cooled boiled water should be the only drinks given up to 6 months old.

• Fizzy drinks are unsuitable drinks for babies. Even drinks with artificial shutterstock_140931490sweeteners can encourage children to develop a sweet tooth, which can lead to tooth decay and childhood obesity.
• Care should be taken when choosing fruit drinks as they can contain high levels of sugar.
• You should only use Soya based infant formula if you have been advised to do so by your GP. Babies who are allergic to cows’ milk could also be allergic to soya.
• Goat’s or Sheep’s’ milk are not suitable for babies under 1 year.
• Rice drinks are not suitable for children under the age of 5.
• Encourage your baby to drink from a beaker from 6 months, it will help them with learning how to swallow. Babies should not be left alone in bed with a Bottle as this can increase choking risks, poor dental hygiene and childhood obesity. Bottles should be discouraged after the age of one year.

Important Note: Cow’s milk is not suitable as a main drink for children under 1 year. You can gradually begin to add small quantities of cow’s milk to soften your baby’s solid meals from 6 months. Low-fat milk should not be given to children under 2 years. Skimmed milk should not be given under 5 years.

Sources: World Health Organisation / Health Service Executive Ireland / HSC Public Health Agency Northern Ireland / NHS Public Health Agency UK

It is quite normal for a baby to refuse food occasionally. Don’t worry about what your baby eats in a day it is more important to think about what they are eating every week. It is also more important how much breast milk or formula milk they are consuming as this will still be the primary source of nourishment in the early stages.

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Below are some suggestions on how to cope with a fussy eater.
• Avoid frequent snacks between meals and ensure that your baby is not
drinking continually throughout the day – both of these can reduce your baby’s appetite for main meals.
• It’s best not to use food as a reward. Your child may start to associate sweets with happy times and vegetables with conflicts at the table. Try to come up with a range on non-food rewards, which your child will like and that are practical for you.
• Keep to regular mealtimes – children need routine.
• Keep portions small – babies cannot eat large amounts of food at a time.
• Don’t become anxious if your baby refuses food – just clear away the food calmly and dispose of it. Don’t offer an alternative – just wait until the next meal or snack.
• If a food is refused, try it again a few days later – it may take several attempts before your baby will accept it.
• Make sure there are no distractions, e.g. toys, television.
• Give small portions and praise them even if they only eat a little of it.
• Never force your baby to eat. Just take the food away without comment. Try to stay calm even when it’s very frustrating.
• Children sometimes get hungry and thirsty mixed up. They might act hungry when really they are thirsty and vice versa.
• If you know a child of the same age who is a good eater, invite them around for tea. Another child setting a good example can work well, as long as you don’t talk too much about how good the other child is.
• Ask an adult that your child likes and looks up to, to eat with you. Sometimes a child will eat for someone else without any fuss.
• Children’s tastes change regularly and without notice, so don’t give up on a particular food, reintroduce it again and they might like it.
• Don’t have conversations about what your child likes or dislikes, they are young and will change their minds about a lot of things, so don’t reinforce any dislikes in their mind by talking about it.

It can take up to 10 or even 15 tries before your baby will really start to like a new taste, the things that you would really like your baby to eat are always the things they dislike most. Keep offering them tastes of new foods and eventually they will develop a taste for them. You don’t have to make a fuss or have a battle every time, you just want them to have a taste each time.

For most children this will be a passing phase, so try not to worry unnecessarily. However, if you’re really worried about your child’s eating habits, for example if they are losing weight, talk to your GP or health visitor, or ask to see a registered dietician.

Temper tantrums usually start at around 18 months and are very common at that age. During the weaning phase your baby is too small to have Tantrums but they will have Meltdowns where things can get a bit too much for them.

During weaning you get to spend a lot of time face to face with your baby, and shutterstock_105003926there is the potential for conflicts and standoffs over mealtimes and food. It is important that you use this time to modify your own behaviour in order to lay the ground work for avoiding and defusing conflicts with your baby as they get older. You will need to learn to stay calm in some very difficult and stressful situations so now is a good time to start practicing.

Toddlers want to express themselves but find it difficult. They feel frustrated and this comes out as a tantrum. As your child’s speech improves they will be less likely to have tantrums. By the age of four, tantrums are far less common, so when things get bad just remember it won’t last for ever.

If you can anticipate a potentially difficult situation, you can then start to help your baby avoid and cope with the emotions they bring out.

For example; try not to let your baby get over tired or over hungry, allow plenty time for excitement to die down in stimulating situations, knowing they might have a meltdown, make time to console them. When life gets too much for them they need you to reassure and comfort them.

Remember even if you are the cause of their upset, you are still the person who is going to console them.

These ideas may help you to cope with tantrums and meltdowns when they happen:
• Figure out why the meltdown has happened; your child may be tired or hungry, in which case the solution is simple. They could be feeling frustrated or jealous; maybe of another child. They may need time, attention and love, even when they are driving you crazy.
• Understand and accept your child’s anger; you probably feel the same way yourself at times, but you can express it in other ways.
• Find a distraction; if you think your child is starting a tantrum, find something to distract them with straight away. This could be something you can see out of the window. Say, for example, “Look! A cat”. Make yourself sound as surprised and interested as you can.
• Wait for it to stop; Losing your temper or shouting back won’t end the tantrum. Ignore the looks you get from people around you and concentrate on staying calm. Giving in won’t help in the long term. If you’ve said no, don’t change your mind and say yes just to end the tantrum. Otherwise, your child will start to think that tantrums can get them what they want. For the same reason, it doesn’t help to bribe them with sweets or treats.
• Take deep breaths and stay calm, you must lead by example.
• Be prepared when you’re out shopping; Tantrums often happen in shops. This can be embarrassing, and embarrassment makes it harder to stay calm. Keep shopping trips short. Start by going out to buy one or two things only, and build up from there. Involve your child in the shopping by talking about what you need and letting them help you.
• Take them out of the situation, if you are in a group and things get out of hand, pick up your child and bring them out of the room; now you don’t have everyone staring at you and you can concentrate on your child’s needs without interference.
• Talk to them, show you understand what they are feeling and acknowledge the hurt or upset.” I know you really like that dolly but…”
• Children often go through phases of being upset or insecure, and can have trouble expressing themselves; children may be behaving badly because they need more love. Show you love them by praising good behaviour and giving them plenty of cuddles when they’re not behaving badly.
• Don’t leave your baby alone, stay with them and comfort them.
• When you are distracted by something else like cooking dinner, make sure to give regular 30 second bursts of attention.

Here are some tips and hints that have worked very well for us as parents and shutterstock_61508422as the owners of a restaurant. No.9 Barronstrand St. is a busy city centre restaurant which caters to the business community and families. We happily welcome children and have put a lot of work into making our restaurant child friendly, even putting in a discreet play area with a play kitchen.

Play Restaurant at home: Play restaurant at home with your kids, once they know the rules of the game, it will be easier for you to remind them. Always reward good behaviour with praise, “good job, well done” etc. Try to ignore the mistakes and don’t correct them too much when they get it wrong, remember it’s supposed to be fun, in the game and in real life.

Keep them engaged: Kids don’t like to sit around idle for long so you need to keep them amused. You can carry small toys (Lego, cars, small dolls, small action figures, farm animals, crayons etc.) which you can give them to play around on the table, until your order arrives. Speak to the child, don’t make them feel neglected, answer their queries and involve them while placing the order. Make the entire experience memorable and pleasant for the child and yourself.

Save the cartoons for later: If your children like to watch cartoons or games on your phone, then tell them before you go into the restaurant what the ground rules are. Ideally you should (if possible) hold off until after they have eaten, as it will keep them in their seats while you finish your meal. If you give it earlier they might get bored sooner and you have nothing to fall back on. Avoid threatening not to give it as you probably won’t be able to follow through on this without causing a meltdown.

Choose the best time: The worst time to go to a restaurant is when either you or your child is very hungry! The key to a good restaurant experience with kids is going at the right time. Generally, kids have their lunch or dinner much earlier than adults. Hence, choose a time which coincides with your kids’ hunger and there is less rush at the restaurant. Order food for your kids first, and ask for it to be brought to the table as soon as it’s ready or at the latest with your starters.

Ask for straws: Ideally you want your child’s drink served in a low glass, which is less likely to be knocked over. Regardless, you should always ask for a straw as it will make it easier for your child to avoid spills.

You don’t need to feel embarrassed: When things go wrong and you end up with a meltdown or a tantrum, don’t worry about what other people think, the most important thing to do is console your child. Try to reassure and calm them, “I know you want to …. But in the restaurant we all have to ….” Don’t feel you have to struggle on with a dinner that is quickly falling apart, it’s ok to admit defeat and head for home.

The archetypal meltdown is the tantrum in the supermarket. With some planning and consistency this can be avoided. Remember what the goal is – do the shopping with minimum fuss. With that in mind you need to keep your child amused during a very boring job and you need to keep them distracted from all the tempting treats on the shelves. You can do both these jobs by getting into a good supermarket routine from day 1.

Head straight to the fruit section and get a pot of handy fruit like blueberries, now you are killing two birds with one stone, your child is eating healthy snack and you are doing your shopping in peace.

Choose your fruit carefully, strawberries are very juicy and have a stalk to shutterstock_105528737remove, oranges need peeling and are very juicy, apples are good but you have a core to deal with at the end.

PS. don’t forget to pay.

Older children can help to make the shopping list with words or picture and can cross it off.

It can be easier to allow your kids to help putting things in the basket, and take them out at the cash register.

If they want to put things you don’t need in the basket you can let them put a couple of things in and then just leave them with the clerk at the cash register. This can avoid a lot of fuss and it also works at the toy shop; letting them walk around with a toy for a couple of minutes and they will usually get over it quicker than saying no.

Q: What do they mean in the guides when they say between 4 to 6 months?
A: They mean after the end of the 4th month of life (5 months old) and not later than the end of the 6th month of life (before 7 months old).

Q: What’s the best time to begin solid foods?6121184_xxl
A: Based on current research, health experts recommend that babies should start solid foods from the age of 6 months. All the nourishment your baby needs for the first 6 months comes from either breast milk or infant formula milk, but after 6 months they need more iron and nutrients than milk alone can provide. You should aim to gradually increase the variety and amount of solid foods so that by 12 months they have become the main part of your baby’s diet. This will help your baby to grow and develop properly.

Q: Why has the advice changed?
A: The advice has changed as a result of new research into babies’ growth and development. This has shown that up to 6 months of age, babies’ digestive systems and kidneys are still developing. Weaning too soon may increase the risk of infections and allergies.

Q: What are the advantages of weaning later?
A: Weaning later may reduce the risk of asthma, eczema, digestive problems, allergies and obesity in later life. Weaning is also easier at 6 months. At this stage, your baby is more able to sit up and the “tongue thrust reflex” which makes smaller babies push food back out of their mouths is gone. You will be able to progress much more quickly from smooth to lumpier textures and finger foods.

Q: My baby was 4.5kg (10lb) at birth – won’t he need solid food earlier?
A: It doesn’t really matter what weight your baby was at birth – his digestive system and kidneys will still develop at the same rate as a smaller baby. There’s no need to introduce solid food earlier just because he weighs more.

Q: My 5 month old baby seems very hungry – surely she needs to start on solids now?
A: The most common reasons mothers give for starting weaning early are that their baby seemed especially hungry or had begun waking up at night again after a period of sleeping through. Babies have several growth spurts in the first few months when they need more calories and nutrients than usual. This doesn’t mean they need to start on solid food – extra breast or formula milk will be adequate to meet these needs. Growth spurts don’t usually last very long and babies generally settle down again afterwards. Research has also shown that introducing solid food has virtually no impact on how long a baby sleeps.

Q: My older sister weaned her children at 4 months and they’re fine – why can’t I?
A: Weaning from 4 months was the advice given for a number of years, but the new guideline of 6 months is based on more recent research and has been endorsed by health promotion bodies including the World Health Organization and most Public Health Agencies including the NHS in the UK & the HSE in Ireland. You may not see an immediate difference in your child’s health, compared to other babies that are weaned earlier, but you can be confident that you are giving your child the best chance to have good health.

Q: What should I do if my baby will not eat?
A: Do not worry – babies like adults can have ‘off days’. If food is refused, take the food away and give breastmilk or formula milk. If the problem continues, contact your Public Health Nurse.

Q: Can I give bottled water to my baby?
A: The ideal is to use cooled boiled water, but if this is not an option, then choose your bottled water carefully. Not all bottled waters are suitable for babies. It will usually say on the label whether it is suitable. Some waters may have too much sodium for young babies, which can make dehydrated and even thirstier. Check with your Public Health Nurse for more help.

Q: Does my baby need vitamin supplements?
A: Healthy babies who are breastfed or fed formula milk do not usually need additional vitamins. A good mixed diet that includes a variety of foods will provide all the necessary vitamins. Some breastfed babies however, may require Vitamin D supplements, because of the overcast climate. Discuss this with your Doctor.

Q: I am worried about my baby’s hard bowel motions. Are these normal?
A: Bowel motions should be bulky and soft. To avoid constipation be sure to give your baby plenty to drink in addition to feeds. Cooled boiled water can be given to any baby, in order to boost hydration. Babies over 5 months can be given fruit and vegetable purées (see Stage 1); babies over six months can be offered fruit and vegetables in addition to foods recommended (see Stage 2) such as wholemeal bread and wholegrain cereals.

Q: Is it safe to microwave baby foods?
A: If a microwave is used, the food must be thoroughly heated, left to stand for a few moments, mixed well and allowed to cool to feeding temperature. Always check and recheck the temperature before serving any baby food.

Q: How will I know if my child has a food allergy?
A: An allergic reaction can consist of one or more of the following:

• diarrhoea or vomiting
• a cough
• wheezing and shortness of breath
• itchy throat and tongue
• itchy skin or rash
• swollen lips and throat
• runny or blocked nose
• sore, red and itchy eyes

In a few cases, foods can cause a very severe reaction (anaphylaxis) that can be life threatening and you should seek immediate medical attention.

Q: How do I get a relative to stop giving sweets to my child?shutterstock_161836376
A; The easiest thing to do is to take them for the child and say they can have them after meal time. The number of times that teeth come into contact with sugar has as much of an effect as the amount of sugar eaten. Therefore, sweets are best eaten in one go rather than over an hour or two. Regardless how many sweets your child is given, you should still decide how much they can eat.

Q: My child will only drink sugary drinks. What can I do?
A: Frequent sugary drinks increase the chance of tooth decay. If your child will only drink sugary drinks, it can take some time to break the habit. Start to dilute the drinks with water, increasing the amount of water gradually over time, so that the change isn’t too noticeable to them. Or offer them smaller quantities in a beaker at mealtimes. It’s always best to prevent these types of problem occurring in the 1st place.

Sources: World Health Organisation / Health Service Executive Ireland / HSC Public Health Agency Northern Ireland / NHS Public Health Agency UK

Q: Why do Stage 1 Pip & Pear Chilled Baby Foods have combinations of flavours?
A: In the real world your baby is only going to stay on single ingredients for a few weeks at most before you are going to want to start introducing some variety. Mashing a banana or stewing an apple or carrot is very easy, but introducing combinations of flavours and making them consistent is where it starts to get a little more complicated and time consuming. That’s where we come in.

Q: Is Pip & Pear Chilled Baby Food suitable for Freezing?shutterstock_141396352
A: Yes. If you want to freeze Pip & Pear Chilled Baby Food we recommend you freeze it as soon as you get it home on the day of purchase. Use within one month, do not refreeze once thawed. Defrost thoroughly and use within 24 hours.

Q: How do I store Pip & Pear Chilled Baby Food?
A: Keep refrigerated below 5°C and once opened it will keep for 24 hours in the fridge, if you haven’t heated it.

Q: How do I heat Pip & Pear Chilled Baby Food?
Stage 1 Can be served warm or cold. All appliances vary, the following is a guide only; Remove sleeve & lid. Microwave 900w: Heat on full power for 40 seconds. Hot Water: Place the unlidded pot in hot water for 7 minutes. Stir thoroughly to remove hot spots and check the temperature of the food before serving. Dispose of any uneaten, heated product. Follow these instructions closely. Do not reheat.

Stage 2 Can be served warm or cold. All appliances vary, the following is a guide only; Remove sleeve & lid. Microwave 900w: Heat on full power for 25 seconds. Hot Water: Place the unlidded pot in hot water for 5 minutes. Stir thoroughly to remove hot spots and check the temperature of the food before serving. Dispose of any uneaten, heated product. Follow these instructions closely. Do not reheat.

Stage 3 Can be served warm or cold. All appliances vary, the following is a guide only; Remove sleeve & lid. Microwave 900w: Heat on full power for 1 minute. Stir thoroughly to remove hot spots and check the temperature of the food before serving. Dispose of any uneaten, heated product. Follow these instructions closely. Do not reheat.

Q: Can I recycle Pip & Pear Packaging?
A: Yes all our packaging is 100% recyclable. We also suggest you reuse your old pots for freezing your own homemade baby food or you can repurpose them for storage pots.

Q: Can I put my pot of Pip & Pear Chilled Baby Food back in the fridge after I open it?
A: As long as it has not been reheated you can put a resealed pot back in the fridge for up to 24 hours. When serving make sure to thoroughly reheat the product before cooling it to a safe eating temperature.

Q: I heated a pot of Pip & Pear but my baby fell asleep, can I reheat it again for her later?
A: It is not recommended to reheat any food for your baby a second time.

Q: My Baby seems to be Gluten intolerant, can I still give them Pip & Pear products?
A: Yes, all Pip & Pear Chilled Baby Food dishes are Gluten Free and Coeliac Friendly.

Q: Do you have any other flavours in the Pip & Pear range?shutterstock_117959623
A: Yes, I have a notebook full of recipes for Pip & Pear some of which we have already trialled in our restaurant No.9 and which we hope to introduce shortly.

Q: Which Pip & Pear Chilled Baby Foods contain Dairy?
A: Fishy Dishy is the only product which contains dairy. All other products are dairy free.

Q: How do I know the meat in Pip & Pear Chilled Baby Food is safe?
A: We only deal with farms and butchers in the Bord Bia Approved Scheme. We can trace the meat in your pot all the way back to the farm and can even trace its family tree, we can drive to the farm and see the animals in the field. In addition, meat is tested before it gets to our Kitchen and all the details are rechecked.

Q: Do Pip & Pear products contain any bones?
A: While every care has been taken to remove all bones, some may remain.

Q: How do I know Pip & Pear products are safe?
A: Every batch of Pip & Pear is independently tested to ensure it meets the highest standards for quality and food safety, ensuring it is safe for you baby.