My child has gone off their milk, how can I make sure they are getting enough calcium?

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Here is my second collaboration with my lovely friend Sally http://www.sproutingyumminess.com . Our second topic is My child has gone off their milk, how can I make sure they are getting enough calcium?

I will talk about our first born who was a fussy drinker as a baby and now I call him my fussy eater toddler!

He’s always been a bad drinker as a baby when I breastfed him. I had more than enough milk to give and I was pumping religiously and froze 2-3 bags of milk every day, but he was just not drinking enough. By the time he’s reached 5 months old I had to move him to formula milk as I wasn’t producing enough for him amymore. The guilt kicked in and it has made me very sad as a first time mum and have shed many tears.

It was a daily battle to feed the recommended amount of milk and at 6 months, once the weaning process began, it was a case of ‘hiding’ milk in his food as he was not drinking enough from the bottle. One of my biggest concerns was his  lack of calcium for his growing bones, nerves and other cells. If this sounds like you; your little one has lost interest in their milk or they have a milk or dairy allergy, TRY NOT TO WORRY, there are numerous other sources of calcium, many of which are actually better than milk at providing calcium that actually works with our bodies, helping our littleones to grow healthy happy cells!

Here is a piece which Sally has written so nicely.

Here’s why… our bodies find calcium difficult to absorb if the environment isn’t quite right. For example, absorption is hampered if our child’s diet is high in acidic foods such as meat, refined carbohydrates and soft drinks/ juices. When we eat food derived from animals, like milk, calcium is actually taken from the bones to properly digest the animal protein. So, in short, when your littleone is drinking milk they may be taking in calcium but they will also be using their calcium stores to digest the milk. This is why vegetable based sources of calcium are equally, if not more, important for building our child’s calcium levels. Calcium also requires vitamin D to be properly absorbed so encouraging your littleone to play outside or looking into supplementation of vitamin D is another way of optimising their calcium absorption.

Our bodies need and use calcium more than any other mineral. It is important for our little people because it helps develop their rapidly growing bones, it plays an important role in muscle contraction and transmitting nerve and hormone messages around the body (including between their brain cells) for normal cell function. Non-dairy sources of calcium include green vegetables (like broccoli, kale, spinach, and edamame beans), oranges, avocado, butternut squash, oily fish (like canned salmon and sardines), white beans and ground almonds – another reason to encourage our little ones to eat this sort of food every day and to avoid junk food as part of their everyday eating.

 

Baby Led Weaning versus Purees – which should I do?

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I am really excited to announce my collaboration with my very good friend Sally who I have met on Instagram, together with another four amazing mamas we have founded the group #healthykidscommunity where we set ourselves a weekly challenge with different themes. To find out more follow me @katsdelicious_kitchen and @sproutingyumminess on Instagram. 🙂 You can find a lot of great baby and toddler recipes on Sally’s blog www.sproutingyumminess.com

Our first topic is a very insteresting one “Baby Led Weaning versus Purees – which should I do? “ and I hope that you will follow along and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Many first time moms including myself tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves or feel the peer pressure from friends and families when they see what and how their kids eat. Sally has written a great piece on this topic below. 

Personally, I have done mainly purees (first smooth then chunky) until my boys were aorund 12 months old. I offered finger food along the way but both boys didn’t show any sign of interest until around 10 months old and then slowly transitioned to normal food from 12 months onwards. This process hasn’t slowed down their development in any way.

Starting the weaning process can be pretty stressful; we worry over whether our babies are getting enough of the right vitamins and minerals or that they aren’t interested in food or what the ratio of milk to food should be or what if they have a reaction or how their food should be presented and how much etc etc… I hope to touch on all of these areas of weaning throughout this blog series but am kicking it off by looking at the different weaning approaches parents take.

Since becoming a mum I’ve realised there is quite a lot of debate around the best way to wean your child. To help inform your approach, I’ve spoken to several of my mama friends who have done each of the different approaches and compiled a list of reasons why they chose the approach they did…

But firstly… What are the different weaning options?

Baby Led Weaning (BLW) – this is letting your baby take the lead straight away with soft yet graspable solids, eating at their own pace, generally eating the food the rest of the family is eating from the start (omitting certain foods that obviously aren’t appropriate yet such as high salt foods and honey). BLW babies can of course eat mash or soups (so similar to purees) but it will be with their fingers or utensils, not spoon fed.

Purees – this is spoon feeding your baby different vegetables, fruits and grains which a mashed up or pureed, progressing to lumpier textures over the first couple of months and introducing finger food around 7 – 8 months.

A bit of both – Introducing both spoon fed purees and finger foods from the beginning (6 months), allowing your baby to explore both avenues.

I did a bit of both with my little lady as it worked for us; she was inquisitive about the finger food and wolfed down her purees! We found the transition to more solid foods fairly seamless and she embraced the variety and each stage of the journey. I intend to do the same again with my little man at the end of the summer but also want to remain flexible and be led by him as he might have a completely different agenda!

Why do BLW?

  • You don’t need to make lots of purees!
  • Easier when you are out in cafes/ restaurants, you can eat together instead of having to feed your baby purees first
  • Exposure to family foods as you can simply give your baby bits of family meals
  • Gives your child independence, encourages them to be inquisitive about the food they are eating and potentially more excepting
  • Avoids potentially difficult transition from purees to lumps
  • Some research suggests that it may reduce fussy eating and encourage kids to be a bit more adventurous growing up
  • Prevents overeating as child eats at own pace/ what he wants
  • Ultimately means they cope better with self-feeding, become dexterous with utensils quicker, develop the pincer grip and hand-eye coordination
  • After about 1 to 1 and half they become a lot less messy as they get used to using hands and cutlery themselves

Why do Purees?

  • Less worry about choking/ gagging to begin with
  • Tend to eat more at the start as the parent/ carer is spoon feeding, doesn’t rely on the child’s dexterity or desire so more reassuring for parents that the child has a full tummy!
  • Is generally quicker to do at the start
  • Ability to pack a variety of nutrients/ foods into one bowl
  • Feeling of more control over sugar and salt content
  • Less messy at the start as the adult is in control (although BLW does become less messy as the child starts to master it)
  • Most mums I spoke to found the transition from purees to lumpier foods and then proper solids worked fine

Ultimately, I believe it is about being a bit flexible and going with what you and your baby are most comfortable with, ensuring lots and lots of variety of good quality, whole foods and avoiding the nasties. What do you think?