WHEN you’re trying to wean your baby from breast milk and start him on solid foods, it’s hard to know what advice to follow.
The NHS suggests that you should start feeding your baby solid foods, including specialized baby formula, at around six months.
Parents shouldn’t worry at this point about how much food their baby is eating.
The reason we’re actually told to start babies eating so early is so they can get used to the idea and feel of eating, the NHS website explains.
The very general advice currently being offered by the NHS is that parents should give their baby a variety of foods in addition to breast milk or formula milk.
However, a recent survey found that one in ten parents struggles with what to feed their babies to ensure their nutritional needs are met.
The same poll also found that more than half (54 percent) of parents were confused about how much sugar to give their babies.
Nutritionist Priya Tew explains everything parents need to know when it comes to what kind of foods we should be feeding our little ones.
Should I let my child eat sugary baby food?
There is no hard and fast rule that says you shouldn’t feed your little one sugar.
However, it is worth remembering that the UK government recommends everyone to avoid sugary foods and drinks entirely.
Sugar isn’t good for dental health, with nearly a quarter of five-year-olds showing signs of tooth decay.
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One of the biggest factors behind this is the sugar in their diet, Priya explains.
“Sugar isn’t good for trying to establish healthy eating habits,” says Priya. “Once sugary foods are enjoyed, all other foods taste sour in comparison and are likely to be rejected, leading to fussy eating.”
“It’s important that little ones get maximum nutrition from every tiny bite, especially during the weaning process,” she adds.
How about naturally occurring sugars?
According to Priya, there are two different types of sugars that we come into contact with on a daily basis — these are called “free sugars” and “natural sugars.”
In this case, “free sugars” are the sugars we most want to avoid.
These sugars are often found in foods that we consider unhealthy and can cause health problems like tooth decay.
These sugars are often added to foods or beverages such as B. Cookies, cakes, flavored yoghurts, some breakfast cereals and granola bars.
Free sugars also include the sugars in fruit juices, smoothies, honey, agave, syrups and sweet nectars.
“These are the sugars to avoid giving your little one as much as possible,” says Priya.
Natural sugars are found in fruits, vegetables, milk, plain yogurt, grains, pasta, rice, oatmeal, and flour. These are safe for your little one and can be part of a balanced diet.
How can I keep my baby from eating too much sugar?
Ideally, you aim to keep your little one’s sugar intake as low as possible, says Priya.
A good way to do this is to check the baby food label.
She suggests that you look at the value of “which sugars” — that’s the sum of natural sugars and free sugars.
“That means there’s a lot of sugar in a fruit puree, but that’s natural sugar,” she explains. “So you also need to check the ingredients list.”
Look for added sugars like glucose, syrup, honey, and of course, sugar itself.
“You can compare products in terms of sugar content by looking at the values per 100g and opting for the options with less sugar,” she adds.
There will always be times when you feel like you can make an exception; maybe at a birthday party when you are both surrounded by cake and sweets.
Priya says it’s a good idea to carry a tasty but healthy alternative to offer.
“But don’t panic if your little one has a bit of sugar. What really matters is that your child eats a healthy diet and avoids sugar most of the time,” she explains.
https://www.the-sun.com/health/6000770/five-things-parents-need-know-about-weaning/ I’m a nutritionist – here are 5 things EVERY parent needs to know about weaning their baby