A place to share knowledge and experience for women

Archive for December, 2012

Guest post : Weaning Tips for Breastfeeding Mothers


Breastfeeding is the best decision you can make for your baby. It offers all the nutrition they need from birth, and even allows them to share our antibodies. The WHO recommends that baby should be exclusively breastfed until the age of six months, and weaning should not start before 17 weeks old. Every mother knows her own baby best, and you may decide to start weaning a little earlier than the six months guideline. Whenever you choose to do it, there are a few different ways to do about weaning.

Before you start weaning, there are a few signs you should look for in baby. If your child is breastfeeding more regularly and seems unsatisfied after a feed, this could be a sign of a growth spurt. However, if accompanied by an interest in our food and the ability to sit unsupported, your baby is probably ready to try their first foods.

A great place to start is with baby rice. Mix up one spoonful with some of your own expressed breast milk, and offer one spoonful after a feed. This can be done at any meal, but it may be better before bed or after an evening feed when they are settled and calm. Do not try to feed baby if overtired or very hungry as they may not be very co-operative or interested. Increase the amount offered until baby has a few spoonfuls a few times a day, usually after a breast feed.  When this becomes routine, you can begin to swap in a few new flavours and eventually new textures.

Babies love apples, pears, bananas, strawberries, butternut squash, sweet potato, carrot, broccoli and many other types of fruit and vegetable. These can be stewed or boiled and then mashed up or puree depending on the type of food you choose. Offer one type at a time, and be careful to watch out for allergic reactions. Once you have ascertained that baby has not reacted, offer something different. Sometimes, food you offer such as baby porridge or food from a jar may contain cows’ milk. There are a number of proteins in cows’ milk that can cause allergic reactions in children this is known as Cows’ Milk allergy. Symptoms can include reflux, diarrhoea, constipation, a skin rash, or even wheezing. Breastfed babies do have sloppier nappies than their formula-fed counterparts, but if you see any of these symptoms in your child, speak to your healthcare professional for further advice.

WARNING: Some babies develop a sweet tooth, so be sure to offer vegetables just as often as you offer fruit, otherwise you risk baby becoming fussy.

When baby is established on a regular eating routine, you can begin to reduce breastfeeds during the day (recommended 6 months) if you want to, and offer juice or expressed milk in a sippy cup with meals. Make sure you do not offer baby a portion any bigger than the size of their fist to prevent overfeeding. As soon as baby’s hand-eye co-ordination improves, offer some finger foods such as bread and butter, carrots, cucumber, little sandwiches or even the spoon with puree so that they can learn to feed themselves.

baby eating with bibWeaning is messy, so make sure you invest in plenty of bibs, or even a weaning apron (like a back to front jacket) to prevent stains ruining their lovely clothes. It is also lots of fun. Have a look online for a bounty of delicious recipes that you can replicate at home. If you do your own home cooking, freeze a few portions in ice-cube trays or small plastic shot glasses for another day.

What is baby led weaning? Baby-led weaning is when baby self-feeds from day one. This cannot be started before six months, and it is not always suitable for formula-fed babies, so consult your health visitor if your baby is combination fed. Baby is presented with different foods which they will pick up and, if they enjoy it, eat. If they don’t like it, they will quite simply discard it and pick up something else.

Many mums continue to breastfeed in the morning, at night, and through the night if needed for a while. When you choose to stop is your decision, and you have to do what is right for you and your child.

” This article was written by Bianca Ridley, a nutritionist who is currently working with Nutricia, the largest specialist nutrition company in Europe. You may contact Bianca through her email bianca.c.j.ridley@gmail.com




Guest Post : Effects of Malnutrition during Pregnancy

Malnutrition in Third World country

Malnutrition in Third World country

Malnutrition is the word we associate with the Third World and emaciated faces desperate for food and fresh water. However, malnutrition affects people all over the world from all social classes and in all conditions, even during pregnancy.

A pregnant woman must be in tiptop condition to support both her own body, and the developing body of her unborn child. Never in a woman’s life will a properly balanced diet with the correct levels of nutrition be more important. Many think they should be ‘eating for two’, but really only an extra 200 calories per day are required, and only during the third trimester.

New research suggests that if a mother wishes to, it is safe to diet during pregnancy if they are working to lose a small amount of weight or to maintain a healthy weight already attained. However, the diet must ensure the mother takes in everything she needs.


Sometimes during pregnancy, a mother may suffer malnutrition. This could be for a number of reasons:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis, colitis or Crohn’s disease
  • Severe morning sickness
  • Psychiatric conditions such as body dysmorphia or anorexia.

Thankfully, pre-existing medical conditions can be managed during pregnancy, and mothers may need to supplement their diet with advanced medical nutrition. Where malnutrition is caused by severe morning sickness, this should improve once the morning sickness has passed (usually between 14 and 16 weeks) although some mothers do have it to a degree for most of their pregnancy.

It is harder when a pregnant woman suffers from anorexia or body dysmorphia, as the problem lies deeper, often stemming from insecurity and may require constant hospital monitoring.

Malnutrition during pregnancy not only weakens the mother, making it difficult for her to carry the baby, but can also have both short-term and long-term implications for her baby. Anaemia resulting from lack of iron in the diet means that less oxygenated blood travels around the body and to the placenta. If baby’s brain tissue does not get enough oxygen it can cause mental defects.

One of the biggest implications of malnutrition is a low birth weight baby. Lighter babies can be harder to deliver and there is also a higher risk of postpartum haemorrhaging for mum. Having a low birth weight can also cause a lot of problems for the infant outside of the womb, such as respiratory complications (the baby may need some help with their breathing or may spend some time in the special care unit). Other problems can include poor vision, low co-ordination, faltering growth and impairment to cognitive development.

Woman with vege

For many mums, malnutrition is completely manageable if not preventable. By ensuring a healthy intake from discovering the pregnancy, you can give your baby the best start in life before they are even born. Speak to your midwife or healthcare professional if you are concerned about malnutrition during your pregnancy.

” This article was written by Bianca Ridley, a nutritionist who is currently working with Nutricia, the largest specialist nutrition company in Europe. You may contact Bianca through her email bianca.c.j.ridley@gmail.com