Tag Archives: Weaning

Fats and Sugars in Organic Baby Biscuits and Snacks – Some Thoughts

Baby waiting for his food - sent in by a customer

Baby waiting for his food - sent in by a customer

Following recent news headlines relating to the levels of fats and sugars in common brands of baby foods such as finger foods, biscuits and snacks, I thought I would give my initial reactions followed by some nutritional information on the Holle range of organic finger foods for babies.

I strongly believe that babies and young children deserve to be given wholesome foods that nurture both their body and soul. Because of the age of babies and children we are talking about here, it is imcumbent on their parents to provide such foods – young babies are entirely dependent on us for all their needs.

The Ulula Ethos

The Ulula ethos regarding the baby foods we chose to sell is only to supply foods that:

  • Are certified to high organic or Demeter standards;
  • Are guaranteed to contain no genetically modified ingredients;
  • Have no added processed sugar;
  • Have no added salt (unless absolutely essential for a baking process)
  • Contain no hydrogenated/trans fats;
  • Contain no added flavourings;
  • Contain no added colourings;
  • Contain no added preservatives.
  • Are produced using the gentlest cooking methods available for that food type

We only want to supply foods that have a place in helping parents feed their babies wholesome and nurturing foods.

Not All Organic Baby Foods Are Equal

With many things in life, not everything we buy is of an equally high standard – baby food is no exception. Disappointingly, not even all organically certified baby foods are of the same standard. I don’t believe it is good business practice for me to identify individual companies here but I am so confident in the Holle baby foods that I recommend you  just compare the contents and quality with anything else you can buy.

So, What About the Fats?

The Children’s Food Campaign report identified a number of baby biscuits and snacks that contain high amounts of  fats. Some baby finger foods have been reported as having a higher proportion of fats and saturated fats than many ‘junk foods’.

While there are recommended maximum nutritional guidelines for dietary saturated fat content for men (30g), women (20g) and children aged 5 to 10 (also 20g), there is actually no maximum recommended level for infants – they naturally need more fat in their diet than adults because they are growing and need a higher intake of energy.

Foods though are said to be high in saturated fat if they contain more than 5g of saturates per 100g. Foods containing 1.5g or less per 100g are said to be low in saturated fat.

How Holle Baby Snacks and Finger Foods Compare

A number of other brands of  popular baby biscuits were mentioned by the Children’s Food Campaign. The report itself did not mention the Holle range, but I am very happy to provide the nutritional information:

As for the sugar content of each, that is as follows:

Holle Organic Baby Spelt Biscuit

Holle Organic Baby Spelt Biscuit

So, What Do These Figures Mean?

On the face of it, the Holle biscuits could be seen as a high fat, high sugar snack. But the issue really is not as simple as this and we need to put these figures into context.

Entirely breastfed infants take more than 50% of their energy from fat, since mother’s milk is very rich in fat. The fat composition of a mother’s milk is special – about 52% of the fats are saturated fatty acids. Breastfed babies are not in danger of having a raised cholesterol level or even at risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Following this natural ideal of mother’s milk, is the reason why Holle infant formulas and some other infant products are also rich in fat as well as being rich in saturated fatty acids. It is also recommended to enrich nearly fat free infant foods, such as vegetable and fruit meals as well as milk free grain based meals, with small amounts of oil or butter.

The Holle Organic Baby Spelt Biscuits contain pure butter from biodynamically raised cows as a fat source. Butter has a spectrum of fatty acids similar to a mother’s milk fat, and contains very easily digestible short and medium chain fatty acids. Butter in infant nutrition is not a bad ingredient – It is easily digested and has the right fat composition.

As for the sources of sugar, Holle uses only molasses of rice and banana as mild natural sweeteners in their baby biscuits. This way they avoid the need for processed, crystallised sugars that have been stripped of essential micro-nutrients.

Consider Your Baby’s Overall Diet

It is important to consider a baby’s overall daily diet. Babies from six months are either breastfed or having a baby milk or formula and are generally weaning. Such snacks as the baby biscuits or the baby rusks should be seen by parents as one part of this increasingly varied food mix.  A weaning baby that is fed on Holle organic baby foods will receive a diet that is well balanced and is nutritionally based on the developmental needs of infants of this age.

Of course, if parents choose to feed their baby excessive amounts of any one food the nutritional intake of the baby may become unbalanced. As with so much in parenting, we need to listen to our intuition and tune ino our baby’s needs.

Ulula Recommends

As usual, I recommend you use your common sense when thinking about the issues raised. Carry on feeding and weaning your baby according to your existing plan and let your common sense guide you as to how you supplement that with both the rusks and biscuits.

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?

New Holle Baby Food in Jars

Holle's organic pure apple baby jar

Holle's new organic pure apple - perfect by itself or stirred into baby porridge

We are pleased to let you know that we now stock Holle’s latest additions to their comprehensive range of jarred organic baby food. They are:

In the interests of keeping our customers informed, the Ulula team as well as our family and friends always taste test any new products that we stock and these new baby jars were no exception.  As usual the finely pureed texture is just right for even newly weaning babies, and ensures the baby food is easily digestible.

All the jars taste superb – this is due not only to the fact that the raw fruits and vegetables used in  the jars were organically, if not biodynamically grown, but also to the very gentle cooking methods that Holle uniquely use in making all their organic baby foods.

See our complete range of organic baby food in jars.

We think these new baby jars are a lovely addition to our baby food range – give them a try and let us know what you think.