Monthly Archives: April 2009

What to Feed Babies When Starting Weaning onto Solids

I am often emailed with questions about how to start weaning babies. Weaning a baby can be a stressful time for a new mum as she often doesn’t know what to give  or when and mums can frequently have concerns as to whether her baby is getting the right nutrition.

Firstly, I should say that every baby is different and what follows is general advice that should be fine for most babies. Relax, take your time and, as always, trust yourself to ‘listen’ to your baby, and if in doubt seek advice from a professional you trust.

Start with half a teaspoon of fresh apple puree (using a glass grater produces one of the best purees I know in small quantities). Your baby will not take a lot in the beginning – babies have to get used to the feel of solids and learn how to move to the back of his or her mouth in order to swallow it.

If your baby spits the food out or cries, ty again later or even tomorrow. The important thing is to get used to sucking or licking food from a spoon. While mentioning spoons, I really would recommend using plastic ones – Holle have weaning spoons made from 100% renewable resources  – as metal spoons can be quite cold and quite a shock to a baby’s sensitive mouth.

A few days later you can add 1 tablespoon Holle Organic Rice Porridge to the puree. Once your baby is used to the puree you could either start making rice or millet porridge with breast milk or baby formula.

Again after a week or two you can start giving him one or two teaspoons of carrot puree. Gradually increase the amount of solids according to your baby’s appetite.

I do not recommend a huge variety of fruit or vegetables at first as this can confuse babies and there is even a discussion about developing a risk of allergy when too many different foods are given. You baby needs security and can be happy with little.

If your baby is a good eater you can change/add vegetables over the coming weeks. Take your baby’s pace. There aren’t any “must gives”.

Soon your baby will be eating his baby porridge for breakfast (with fruit puree), he or she can have a sugar free rusk and/or a breast feed in the later morning, a vegetable/grain based lunch, a milk free porridge in the afternoon and a milk based porridge in the evening.
I usually send out a Holle Baby Food Advisor with any first order. The advisor contains lots of useful tips as well as full information about the Holle organic baby food ranges. You can also download the advisor from the Ulula weaning advice pages.

Let me know your experiences of weaning. What advice and tips would you give mums about to start weaning their babies?

When Should I Start to Wean My Baby – Some Advice

A weaning baby eating baby porridge - kindly sent in by a customer

A weaning baby eating baby porridge - kindly sent in by a customer

Mums seeking advice on weaning their babies is a frequent topic in my inbox, so I thought I would post a few articles over the coming weeks looking at the weaning process. Today I give some pointers on how to know your baby is ready for weaning and tomorrow on just how to go about starting to wean your baby.

The Department of Health recommends that parents should not wean babies before the age of 6 months. This is partly because a baby’s digestive system may not be fully developed before this age and also because the risk of a child developing an allergy is said to be greater if solids are introduced before six months.

Many parents tell me that they feel this advice is too rigid and that their babies are ready for weaning earlier than 6 months. While introducing solids is possible from about 4 or 5 months, weaning should never be attempted before 4 months, as a baby’s developing digestive system simply cannot cope with the demands made of it. Similarly, a number of parents tell me that their baby was not ready for weaning until after 6 months, and that is fine too.

Tune Into Your Baby and Trust Yourself

My feeling is that parents should follow their parental intuition when thinking about when to start weaning their baby. Consider the list of possible signs below and observe your baby – you’re the person who knows your baby best, so trust yourself.

If there is a family history of allergies, eczema, asthma or hayfever then obviously exclusive breastfeeding or feeding baby milks or formulas would be sensible for the first six months, if at all possible.

Signs Your Baby May Be Ready For Weaning

The following may be signs that your baby is ready to start his or her first tentative steps in eating solids:

  • Holding his or her head up and controlling head movements
  • Sitting well when supported
  • Is eager to chew and making chewing motions
  • Attempting to put things in his or her mouth
  • Is losing the reflex to push objects out of his or her mouth
  • Picking up food and putting it in his/her mouth
  • Being unsatisfied after a full milk feed
  • Demanding increasing and more frequent milk feeds
  • After a period of sleeping through the night waking in the night with hunger
  • Displaying curiosity about what you are eating

Weaning Before Six Months

If you decide to wean at any time before six months, there are some foods that should be avoided as these may cause allergies or make your baby ill. These include wheat-based foods and other foods containing gluten (e.g. bread, rusks, some breakfast cereals), eggs, fish, shellfish, nuts, seeds and soft and unpasteurised cheeses. Ask a trusted professional for advice, especially if your baby was premature.

What is your experience of weaning? When did you start and how did you know that your baby was ready for introducing solids?

Weleda Organic Baby Skin Care – A Prize Winning Range

Tips Top Brand skincare awardAlthough this is a website selling organic baby food we do also have a comprehensive range of organic and biodynamic baby skin care products from Weleda. I have known Weleda for years from my native Germany (research shows that 70% of Germany midwives recommend the Weleda Baby Skin Care range to mothers) and wanted to stock it on the Ulula site because it is one of the few biodynamically produced skin care ranges on the market – and is, therefore, completely natural.

Award Winning Baby Skin Care

The Weleda Baby range has been voted Top Skincare Brand in the highly respected midwife tested TIPS awards. As midwife and author Sharon Trotter, the founder of the independent testing initiative explains:

“Congratulations go to the Weleda Baby range as the overall favourite. A beautifully presented range of products manufactured using only the finest ingredients by a company committed to restoring health and maintaining well being naturally, ethically, safely, without animal experimentation and without damaging the environment.”

We can only agree – you’re onto a winner when you chose Weleda.

The Prizes in Detail

What do you think of the Weleda organic baby skincare range? Most importantly, how has your baby taken to the range?

Holle’s Deliciously Natural Organic Fruit Bars for Babies – Now on Sale!

Holle's organic apple and pear snack bar for babies and toddlersThis is just a quick post to let you know that Holle’s recently launched fruit bars for babies have arrived at the Ulula warehouse and are now ready to ship.

The Organic Apple and Banana and Organic Apple and Pear bars are made of 100% organic fruit, honey and spelt and taste absolutely delicious, see our recent article announcing their launch for further details. These natural and healthy finger foods are ideal for babies from 12 months and if experience on the continent is anything to go by they will be flying off the shelves – so make sure you place your orders early.

Let us know what you think of the new organic fruit bars – more importantly how does your baby find these new additions to their finger food repetoire?

Organic Finger Foods – A Junk Free Concept?

At Ulula we believe finger foods and snacks for weaning babies should be not just tasty and fun but also healthy, wholesome treats that help children develop a taste for and love of good food.

It goes without saying that parents play a vital role in educating their children, and that in the first years before a child starts ‘formal education’ much of their learning for their life ahead has already taken place. Nowhere is this probably more true than with our childrens attitudes towards food. Babies learn what good food is only if we feed them good food.

On a recent shopping expedition Roger and I were amazed to see a baby that could not have been older than nine months being fed what looked like a bag of crisps. When we looked closer we could see that what the baby was eating were not crisps as such but rather a pack of  ‘finger foods for babies’. We were so shocked that we went out and bought ourselves several packets from the nearest branch of a well known high street chemist chain to investigate further.

Looking closer at the packets we bought we could see that the ingredients in these crisp-like baby snacks were actually not too bad at all – they were organic and there certainly was no junk.

However, the actual snacks themselves looked just like certain well known crisps varieties and were in packaging that can only be described as looking like crisp packets. They even tasted like milder versions of crisp varieties.

Is this really what we want to be feeding our young babies when they are weaning? Britain already eats more than half of all the crisps and similar savoury snacks eaten in the whole of Europe and is set by the year 2020 for a fifth of all boys and a third of all girls to be clinically obese. We are not saying that these weaning snacks for babies are to blame for this, but we must question whether encouraging our children to eat such things at such an early time in their life really educates them as to what is really good, wholesome food.

The ingredients in these crisps for babies may not contain junk – but this is certainly a junk concept.

Of course, Ulula sells organic finger foods and snacks for babies and growing children (both sweet and savoury), that we source from hand picked companies that we believe take the care to make products that are not only tasty but also wholesome. There are also other companies out there that also sell good quality finger foods and snacks for babies. I guess, the challenge for us as parents is how to choose snacks and treats for our babies that will help them develop a taste for good food that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives.

What are your experiences of feeding your baby finger foods and snacks? What useful hints can you share with other parents?

How is Demeter Baby Food Different?

Demeter quality symbol

Demeter quality assurance symbol

Ulula only stocks baby foods and foods for growing children and their families that are certified organic. Without exception. The organic certification guarantees certain minimum levels of standards in food production, such as high animal welfare standards and not allowing ‘chemical nasties’ to be used.

Many of our baby foods also carry the Demeter label (much of the Holle organic baby food range does so, for example) which is an additional certification that guarantees even higher quality levels in growing and processing foods. Only products which meet the stringent and far reaching quality of certified biodynamic farming, can carry the Demeter label.

You Can’t Get More Organic Than Biodynamic/Demeter

Biodynamic agriculture is a comprehensive approach to farming established in the 1920s by Dr Rudolf Steiner. Demeter standards not only exclude the use of synthetic fertilisers and other chemicals in food production and artificial additives during processing, but also require very specific measures such as applying herbal preparations to the land to strengthen the life processes in soil and food.

The Demeter farmer makes allowances for the specific peculiarities and needs of individual plant types and animal species. Biodynamic agriculture views a farm as a living organism with its own natural cycle – a consequence of this is that each biodynamic farm will only raise the number of animals that the farm land can naturally support. There is no intensive farming in biodynamic agriculture and there is a high degree of traceability in biodynamic farming that cannot be equalled.

Couple this with gentle food processing methods that respect and work with the raw ingredients and the result is a baby food that not only has the best possible pedigree but tastes simply delicious. It is quite simply the best possible start for your baby.

Let us know what you think? Is buying Demeter/biodynamic baby food important to you, and if so why? Can you taste the difference?

Organic Babymuesli Porridge – New Recipe

In this final news item from the Organic and Natural Products exhibition in Olympia we can announce that the ever popular Holle Babymuesli baby cereal now has a new recipe. The base cereal for the porridge has changed to wholegrain semolina, while the raisins have been taken out altogether and replaced by banana, apple and raspberry.

Altogether these substantial recipe changes have made this a highly attractive baby porridge. Early taste tests were extremely favourable – the naturally sweet cereal was complemented by a tasty fruitiness that was very popular. Holle are definitely onto a winner.

Holle Organic Babymuesli porridge is quick to prepare, easy to digest and dairy free. As with all Holle’s baby porridges it can be prepared with breast milk, baby milk or formula, water or any other liquid.

We are sometimes asked if this baby porridge really is suitable for babies – it seems the name ‘muesli’ conjures up images of rather lumpy, chewy cereals, not the kind of food to be feeding babies in  the early stages of weaning. But yes, the Babymuesli is perfect for your little one – it is in powdered form and makes a very smooth, lump free baby porridge.

For older babies, toddler and even adults Holle Organic Baby Muesli Porridge can though make a nutritious snack when mixed with fresh fruit, yoghurt, raisins and nuts (after 12 months of age). Enjoy.

Given this recipe change has just been announced, we are very pleased to be in a position to offer it for sale immediately – try the Holle Organic Babymuesli now.