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Webchat about feeding babies and toddlers with Dr Clare Llewellyn an Dr Hayley Syrad, authors of Baby Food Matters: Wednesday 13 June at 9pm

(37 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 08-Jun-18 12:22:29

We’re running a webchat on Wednesday 13 June with Dr Clare Llewellyn and Dr Hayley Syrad, authors of a new book Baby Food Matters which takes a scientific look at how feeding your baby in the first two years can impact on their eating habits for life.

Dr Clare Llewellyn and Dr Hayley Syrad have researched baby and toddler eating habits for over a decade. They decided to write the book because so much advice given to parents on feeding has little real science behind it. As well as sharing the scientific research, the book offers parents strategies on what and how to feed children during the first two years, to help them develop a healthy relationship with food for life.

Here's some of the surprising facts in the book:

British toddlers on average are consuming 3 times the recommended amount of protein largely due to too much dairy which is linked to childhood obesity.

Baby rice and porridge are bland and are not the best first solids to introduce to a baby. You need to choose something with more flavour.

Wean with vegetables and not fruit. And start with the bitter-tasting ones such as broccoli

Do not hide vegetables in your children’s food. They need to become familiar with each individual flavour and texture.

Join the webchat on Wednesday 13 June at 9pm when you can put your questions to Dr Clare Llewellyn and Dr Hayley Syrad. If you’re unable to join, post questions in advance on this thread. We’ll be drawing three names form a hat to win copies of Baby Food Matters.

takingsmallsteps Mon 11-Jun-18 13:25:17

Hi, I worry a lot about whether my baby is getting enough iron and other micronutrients as he doesn't eat a huge amount at 17 months! Neither of my boys really took to food until much later than 6 months but there's so much development that goes on during this time so I really worry he isn't getting enough essential nutrients, even though he has quite varied tastes and experiences. How much do we worry about this?

Bringcoffee Mon 11-Jun-18 16:23:11

We are starting weaning next month so will certainly try and join this web chat for some guidance and information.

But if don’t make it I would love to know how quickly to introduce different foods, is it best to try one veg a few times week one, before moving onto next one the following week? Want to make sure DS has a varied palette but not sure how to encourage this from day one?

Thanks

binglyboo Mon 11-Jun-18 16:28:07

I'm going to write a book called 'It doesn't matter at all, I started with vegetables and followed all the advice and he still only eats chicken nuggets and chips.'

FozBoz Mon 11-Jun-18 18:40:01

We too start weaning in the next few months.

I wonder whether the authors have any opinions on the baby lead weaning approach which is often touted as responsible for less food fussy babies vs the more traditional introduction of staged textures. Is it best to essentially leave babies to it and explore food in their own time, or can the other approach work in the same way?

MotherforkingShirtballs Mon 11-Jun-18 21:13:37

Considering babies are already accustomed to sweet flavours as both breast milk and formula are quite sweet in taste, is there much point in starting with vegetables as opposed to fruit? And, while I'm not doubting your knowledge or qualifications, is this not a case of trying to reinvent the wheel in terms of how we approach weaning?

Isit7yet Mon 11-Jun-18 21:37:44

@binglyboo 🙊🤣🤣🤣

anametouse Mon 11-Jun-18 23:32:46

A lot of your book focuses on overeating. My son is 18 months and will not eat, he's literally having a couple of bites of food a day - he's still breast fed. Do I need to stop breastfeeding?

MarshaBradyo Tue 12-Jun-18 15:36:50

I’m about to wean my third baby

I’m interested in why you suggest vegetables such as broccoli first, and would like to hear more about this

LookImAHooman Tue 12-Jun-18 19:17:06

Marsha This is commonplace now. Vegetables are suggested as first tastes by many practitioners and related entities (Ella’s Kitchen in particular being relatively vocal on it) because babies are more accustomed to sweeter tastes due to milk and are likely to take more easily to fruit and other sweet foods. Introducing veg first, especially bitter tastes that are typically harder to like, reduces the risk of babies developing a sweet tooth, refusing veg and becoming fussier eaters.

LookImAHooman Tue 12-Jun-18 19:18:05

Have read that back - apologies if you only meant re broccoli etc and I’ve mainly preached to a choir there...

MarshaBradyo Tue 12-Jun-18 19:21:16

No not at all I have big gaps, 8 years since last one. I’ve either forgotten everything or it’s changed since then. It does make sense for sure

PatchworkOwl Wed 13-Jun-18 20:14:05

My 14 month old eats very little and took a long time to become interested in food.

He has a dairy intolerance, so I adjust family recipes for me and him. He will eat things like: ham, chicken, fruit purée, soya yoghurt, vegan cheese, breadsticks, fish. He won't things like eat vegetables, pasta, rice, some fruit, beans.

He cries a lot at meal times, which makes it a pretty horrible experience for everyone in the family.

Any tips on how to encourage him to eat more? And how to stop the meal time crying? He seems to be frustrated but in don't know why. We always have family meal tiles, but it's not an enjoyable time when he's upset and refusing to eat with us.

(He's still breastfed, is a healthy weight and height, and is doing well developmentally other than eating.)

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 13-Jun-18 21:00:18

Welcome to Mumsnet Drs Clare Llewellyn and Hayley Syrad. Thank you for agreeing to join us this evening and share your research and hopefully a few tips. There's already some questions in so we'll hand straight over to you...

DrHayleySyrad Wed 13-Jun-18 21:00:29

Hi everyone! Thanks for all the questions posted so far. Clare and I look forward to this early life feeding discussion…

DrClareLlewellyn Wed 13-Jun-18 21:01:21

Hi everyone, it's great to "meet" you - we're really looking forward to chatting to you about our research into babies' feeding.

DrClareLlewellyn Wed 13-Jun-18 21:02:05

Hi talkingsmallsteps,

Toddlers really vary in how much they like to eat – they can have very different appetites, and that’s completely normal. If your toddler is eating a varied diet – something from each of the food groups – and is growing well, you have nothing to worry about. The best way to check his growth is to see if his weight centile stays around the same. If he seems to be staying on the same centile for his weight then things are fine and you don’t need to worry. The British Dietetic Association have a list of foods rich in iron here: www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/iron_food_fact_sheet.pdf. If you’re worried about his iron intake, make sure he gets plenty by including some of these foods in his all meals and snacks.

DrClareLlewellyn Wed 13-Jun-18 21:02:36

takingsmallsteps

Hi, I worry a lot about whether my baby is getting enough iron and other micronutrients as he doesn't eat a huge amount at 17 months! Neither of my boys really took to food until much later than 6 months but there's so much development that goes on during this time so I really worry he isn't getting enough essential nutrients, even though he has quite varied tastes and experiences. How much do we worry about this?

Hi talkingsmallsteps,

Toddlers really vary in how much they like to eat – they can have very different appetites, and that’s completely normal. If your toddler is eating a varied diet – something from each of the food groups – and is growing well, you have nothing to worry about. The best way to check his growth is to see if his weight centile stays around the same. If he seems to be staying on the same centile for his weight then things are fine and you don’t need to worry. The British Dietetic Association have a list of foods rich in iron here: www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/iron_food_fact_sheet.pdf. If you’re worried about his iron intake, make sure he gets plenty by including some of these foods in his all meals and snacks.

DrHayleySyrad Wed 13-Jun-18 21:04:35

Bringcoffee

We are starting weaning next month so will certainly try and join this web chat for some guidance and information.

But if don’t make it I would love to know how quickly to introduce different foods, is it best to try one veg a few times week one, before moving onto next one the following week? Want to make sure DS has a varied palette but not sure how to encourage this from day one?

Thanks

Hi Bringcoffee! If you wait until 6 months of age to introduce solid foods, we would recommend introducing five different vegetables (preferably bitter ones such as spinach or broccoli) over the first 15 days (repeating each of them three times) and then quickly moving on to different food groups. Babies need to learn different textures and they need the nutrients from all the food groups.

DrClareLlewellyn Wed 13-Jun-18 21:06:42

anametouse

A lot of your book focuses on overeating. My son is 18 months and will not eat, he's literally having a couple of bites of food a day - he's still breast fed. Do I need to stop breastfeeding?

HI anametouse,

We also cover "faddy" or "fussy" eating in the book too. Fussy or faddy eating is really common in toddlers - about 50% of parents say they struggle with it. As long as he is eating something from each of the main food groups, and is gaining weight at a steady weight (his weight centile stays about the same), I wouldn't worry. Breastfeed him for as long as you want to (there is no upper age recommended for stopping breastfeeding), but do make sure he isn't filling up on too much milk so that he doesn't have an appetite for food. This is covered in detail in our book.

DrHayleySyrad Wed 13-Jun-18 21:11:14

FozBoz

We too start weaning in the next few months.

I wonder whether the authors have any opinions on the baby lead weaning approach which is often touted as responsible for less food fussy babies vs the more traditional introduction of staged textures. Is it best to essentially leave babies to it and explore food in their own time, or can the other approach work in the same way?

Hi FozBoz, there has actually been very little well designed research into which method of weaning works better for developing healthy eating habits. We would therefore recommend a combination approach: spoon feeding (allowing your baby to control the spoon if he/she is able) but also giving your child food to hold in between spoonfuls Spoon feeding helps develop oral motor skills for chewing solid and will help with the intake of iron. Ultimately though it is your decision - use the method that seems to work best for you and your baby.

Amaksy Wed 13-Jun-18 21:11:15

Hi

A bit late to he chat but catching up on responses

Heather2gether Wed 13-Jun-18 21:12:43

My daughter would eat everything I put in front of her when she was a baby but as soon as she turned into a toddler she regressed and spat everything out. Since then she will only eat very plain food and is v fussy about different textures - for example she hates bananas and anything soft or mushy - but loved them when I first gave them to her as a baby. Any suggestions? She is now 2 and a half.

Amaksy Wed 13-Jun-18 21:15:07

I have a son who’s allergic to dairy, how do I make sure he gets his recommended intake of minerals- iron, calcium and other vitamins? He has the non dairy milk- almonds, oats, rice etc but I noticed these things contain mostly water.

And would it be worth requesting for a blood test as a check that he’s not deficient?

DrClareLlewellyn Wed 13-Jun-18 21:20:14

PatchworkOwl

My 14 month old eats very little and took a long time to become interested in food.

He has a dairy intolerance, so I adjust family recipes for me and him. He will eat things like: ham, chicken, fruit purée, soya yoghurt, vegan cheese, breadsticks, fish. He won't things like eat vegetables, pasta, rice, some fruit, beans.

He cries a lot at meal times, which makes it a pretty horrible experience for everyone in the family.

Any tips on how to encourage him to eat more? And how to stop the meal time crying? He seems to be frustrated but in don't know why. We always have family meal tiles, but it's not an enjoyable time when he's upset and refusing to eat with us.

(He's still breastfed, is a healthy weight and height, and is doing well developmentally other than eating.)

Hi PatchworkOwl,

Sorry to hear you're struggling a bit with mealtimes - they can be very stressful. 50% of parents struggle with fussy eaters at about this age (toddlerhood) - unfortunately it's very common. First of all, if he is growing well, and gaining weight at a healthy rate, then you don't need to worry too much. As long as he is eating something from each of the main food groups, then his nutrition is probably OK. There are a few strategies that work quite well for minimising mealtime stress, and getting your child to eat foods they initially reject. Firstly, as hard as it can be, try not to make too much of a fuss about the fuss. Children pick up on other people's stress at mealtimes, and it can increase the chid's anxiety. Don't pressure him to eat something he doesn't want to, or more than he wants to. Leave it up to him to decide what and how much to eat. Familiarity to any problem food is key to getting a child to eat it and like it - it reduces the fear factor. Repeated exposure to the same problem food on 15-20 consecutive days works very well - just put a tiny amount of a particular food on his plate each day and see if he will eat it. Take one food at a time. It is also important to model eating that food yourself, in front of your child. This way your child learns that that food is safe to eat. Don't worry if it takes a while, just take one food at a time.

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