When it’s time to wean your baby it’s not just about introducing solid foods, it’s also about having an adventure and helping your little one discover shape, texture and taste - together they help build your baby’s confidence and enjoyment with food.
Weaning is an important milestone in your baby’s development, and to help mums and dads Organix has introduced a new discover campaign with the launch of an online hub at: www.organix.com/discover. I was sent a great Discover pack to try with my little one, including lots of useful information on how babies and kids discover shape, texture and taste along with a few food samples.
The Organix Discover section online is packed with advice and creative resources about feeding your baby, lots of top tips and activities on shape, texture and taste to inspire you, food ideas to help you take your little one on a food adventure, as well as food planners and videos – there’s even a quiz.
The weaning window, from around six to 12 months, provides the perfect opportunity for your baby to discover a variety of tastes, textures and shapes as it’s when your baby becomes naturally open to trying new foods.
Shapes make mealtimes interesting and fun and help little ones develop the skills they need to feed themselves.
Finger foods come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, just perfect for getting little fingers moving, gripping, grasping, picking up and discovering a range of foods. Offering baby such a wide variety of foods to play with not only helps improve hand eye co-ordination and motor skills, and helps them learn how to bite and chew, it also develops an awareness of their actions. It’s a chance to discover a full sensory experience – to squeeze foods, change their shape and break down foods.
Did you know?
- Your little one can start discovering shape through finger foods when they can lift and support their head without help, sit supported, and reach out for foods.
- Feeding themselves gives your baby control, independence and the chance to recognise when they’re full.
- Your baby can still enjoy finger foods if they haven’t got teeth yet as they can ‘gum’ foods into small pieces.
- You can offer finger foods from all of the major food groups – protein, carbohydrate, dairy, fruit and vegetables.
- However, there are also some finger foods to avoid, such as hard and sticky foods that can cause choking, eg nuts, popcorn, marshmallows; and round foods whole, eg grapes or cherry tomatoes – of course you can cut them up into smaller pieces so they’re manageable and easier for baby to swallow.
- Use food as an opportunity to interact with your baby – it’s a great way to introduce them to new words for shapes and foods.
- Cut family foods, such as pasta and meat, into small pieces, so baby can take part in the meal too.
- In the Organix mum and baby tasting session, mums said:
- “The way I present food is definitely something I’ll be thinking about now, making it into a picture and something a bit more fun”
- “He really impressed me with how he was able to grasp things and put them into his mouth when they were so small ”
Discovering texture is important as we love food not just because it tastes great but because we like how it feels too.
Texture is more exciting than just lumps, and to prove the point Organix got a group of mums and dads to try a selection of foods whilst blindfolded. One of the dads said: “You’ve had one of your senses taken away, it gets you to focus on the detail of food and makes it more intriguing, it’s like our little ones when it’s the first time they’ve tried anything – they’ve got it all going on!”
Frankie Phillips, Nutrition Advisor to Organix, recommends helping your baby discover as many textures as you can – juicy and fleshy, squishy, bouncy, melt in the mouth, grainy and bitty, crispy and crunchy, smooth and creamy, dry and crumbly. For example, pieces of banana will let them safely experience different textures and foods breaking down in their mouths – banana pieces can be offered as early as six months.
Did you know?
- Your baby needs to learn to get to grips with new textures and this can take practice, so he may spit out a new texture.
- Your baby may move quickly from one texture to the next, or may take a little time to master it – everyone goes at their own pace so don’t worry.
- Even if your baby’s teeth aren’t through yet, foods can still be chewed by their strong gums.
- After starting with smooth purées, you can offer soft lumps and mashed foods as early as six months.
- Introducing lumpy foods takes more effort for your baby as they need to learn to use their tongue muscles and their jaw to chew and then swallow.
- When your baby no longer spits out soft lumps and seems confident eating lumpy food you can introduce chopped and minced foods.
Tasting new foods for the very first time is an incredible experience. By adding interesting flavours to your baby’s diet you are encouraging them to become more familiar and open to trying new tastes as they grow older, which in turn will help inspire a lifelong love of good food.
In the Organix mum and baby tasting session, one mum said: “Little ones are more adventurous than you think. We tried celeriac and kale and my little girl loved the grapefruit, I would try that at home now, yet before I would never have introduced it.”
Did you know?
- It’s important to offer a wide range of sweet and savoury dishes.
- Babies naturally prefer sweet flavours and all other tastes are learned.
- Frankie Phillips, Nutrition Advisor to Organix, says it can take up to 14 attempts before a baby learns to like a new food, especially more challenging foods – so don’t worry if your little one refuses a food during their first few attempts.
- Don’t wait too long to start getting adventurous with taste – vary the menu.
- Offering two courses is a great way to offer your baby a wide range of tastes.
- Be brave and offer more challenging tastes, such as bitter and sour, eg. kiwi, oranges, pepper, spinach.
- Try not to mask challenging tastes with easier ones, so allow your baby to enjoy the real taste of broccoli rather than perhaps mixing it with apple purée.
- Rotating new foods with ones your baby already likes will give lots of chances to discover and enjoy more foods.
For more advice on weaning and great tips on how to discover shape, texture and taste visit www.organix.com/discover
July 23, 2014
My lovely little girl is nearly 11 months old (yes, I can’t believe it, and yes – it’s only a month left until I get back to work…) and she amazes me every day with a quirky new movement she has mastered overnight. She is curious to find out what’s hiding behind the sofa, what’s in the fireplace, or how quickly she could get down the stairs. You are probably getting the picture – it’s so much fun, but it’s also getting DANGEROUS.
Keeping my baby safe at home gets more challenging as she is becoming quite mobile. We know babies touch anything and put anything they can get their hands on in their mouth. So childproofing your home is essential to keeping your baby or toddler safe. Be prepared to childproof the nursery, bathroom, kitchen, fireplace – any area of your house that poses a threat to your little one.
Here are some things you can do to stop your baby being injured*:
- Change your baby’s nappy on a changing mat on the floor.
- Don’t leave your baby unattended on a bed, sofa or changing table, even for a second, as they could roll off.
- Don’t put your baby in a bouncing cradle or baby car seat on a table or kitchen worktop as their wriggling could tip it over the edge.
- Hold on to the handrail when carrying your baby up and down stairs in case you trip.
- Watch where you’re putting your feet while carrying your baby. It’s easy to trip over something like a toy.
- Use a five-point harness to secure your baby in a highchair or pram.
Once they learn to crawl, babies may try to climb onto things, such as sofas, which increases the risk of falling. So here is a list of some baby and toddler-proof essentials*.
No need to stress the importance of installing a good quality stairs safety gates (ideally on both sides of the stairs) especially when the baby starts crawling. I came across a great one called KiddyGuard, which I have been offered to test by the UK distributor Cheeky Rascals.
I received a KiddyGuard Accent, which is suitable for doorways of up to 100cm (as mine). It comes in black or white and mine is in black, although the fabric is transparent and looks very stylish and sleek. It could be a great interior addition to both classic and modern-styled homes.
The first thing you’d notice is the unique design. It features a mesh screen which rolls out in a way very similar to that of a roller blind. The mesh screen rolls into an aluminium casing protecting it from dirt, wear and tear and ensures a smooth roll-out, every time.
You’d soon discover its many other benefits. I like the fact it’s easy to operate with one hand, meaning that if I hold my little one, it would take me a second to open or close the gate without any effort.
Only minimal space is needed, unlike most traditional safety gates. It essentially “disappears” when not in use. Its other benefits are:
- No bars across the floor = No trip hazard
- Easy to install , ONE handed operation
- Automatic locking – red warning button pops up if gate is not clicked into place correctly
It’s 80cm tall and can withstand up to 100kg, so it would provide safety for both babies and small kids.
It’s easy to install as well. I’ve been advised by the distributor that If you will be attaching your KiddyGuard to a wall with a skirting board, you’ll need a piece of wood, equal to the width of the skirting board to fit between the top bracket of the KiddyGuard and the wall.
The product retails at £99 and is available to purchase at www.cheekyrascals.co.uk.
Glass safety film
Low-lying glass panels can be a hazard – if you have existing doors that aren’t made of safety glass, you can cover the glass with safety film, which is designed to contain any loose jagged shards should the glass break.
You can also use it on glass-top tables. If you are fitting new glass in your home – such as glass doors to your patio – you must use safety glass.
Door slam stoppers
These prevent doors from shutting on children’s fingers and also stop children from shutting themselves in a room – essential once babies start walking. Some types of stoppers prevent fingers from getting trapped in one side of the door but not the other, so the hinge side might be protected but the door can still close.
Alternatively, a doorstop can prevent the door from moving at all.
Drawer and cupboard catches
Drawer and cupboard catches are designed to only allow a cupboard or drawer to open a few centimetres, unless an adult releases the catch.
Drawer and cupboard catches are essential once your baby starts crawling and exploring to keep baby fingers safe from sharp objects such as knives or breakables such as crockery and glassware.
Children will eventually learn how to operate them, but in the meantime they can provide a degree of reassurance.
These prevent your baby from burning themselves on a hot radiator. Try a DIY or homeware store.
Baby safe appliances
If you’re replacing a washing machine, oven, hob, dishwasher or other household appliance, look for models with baby safe precautions, such as child locks or buttons and levers that are located out of harm’s way. Make sure you get appliances with child safety features.
Water adds to the risk of accidents, especially when young children see the bath as a fun play area and will want to stand up and mess around.
A simple rubber bath mat will help prevent your baby from slipping in the bath. Add a bath mat to the base when your baby starts sitting up and is able to pull up without your support.
Baby monitors shouldn’t be regarded as a safety device – they are more for convenience, so you can hear your baby crying if you are in another part of the house or in the garden.
However, baby monitors can alert you to potential hazards such as your baby climbing out of the cot or bed.
There is currently a question mark over whether using socket covers is a good idea, but RoSPA, the Royal Society for the Protection of Accidents, does not consider it necessary to recommend the use of socket covers, nor does the Electrical Safety Council.
If you’re concerned, you might want to speak to a qualified electrician to seek further advice.
*The article refers to recommendations and safety guidelines from NHS and Which.co.uk.
July 22, 2014
Mums want healthier food for children, without the added junk, according to a survey released today to launch the Organix No Junk Challenge. The survey reveals that nine out of ten (90%) Mums think children eat too much junk. Three quarters want the food industry to reduce the levels of salt, fat and sugar in food targeted at children.
Organix is launching the ‘No Junk Challenge’, a campaign to encourage parents to cook with fresh natural ingredients and to challenge the food industry to remove the ‘junk’ from children’s food.
The No Junk Challenge will help families reclaim healthy eating by pledging their commitment to ‘no junk’ and to say ‘yes’ to healthy, natural and simple food for the family. From 28 April to 4 May, parents will pledge to feed their family using real ingredients and will try to avoid foods with artificial colourings and flavourings, or foods high in added salt, fat and sugar. www.organix.com/nojunk.
In a national survey commissioned by Organix, the company asked Mums about how they feed their families and how they feel about the state of children’s food:
There’s too much junk in children’s food
· Nine out of 10 (90%) of Mums think children eat too much junk these days.
· Three quarters (75%) want the food industry to reduce the levels of salt, fat and sugar in food targeted at children.
· Six out of 10 (59%) are sometimes shocked at the number of ingredients in food aimed at children, with more than half (55%) worried about what is goes in children’s food.
Parents are trying to avoid the junk in children’s food
· More than three quarters (78%) try to avoid buying food that’s high in fat, salt and sugar
· More than half (56%) try and avoid buying food with artificial flavourings
· Although four out of 10 (41%) say that avoiding artificial additives is almost impossible
· More than a third (37%) said that particular additives affect their child’s behaviour.
While parents try to choose nutritious meals for their children, most said it was hard to make the right choices – and wanted clearer labelling and regulation to protect the nutritional value of children’s food. A third of parents struggled to understand the ingredients in products.
Call for clearer labelling
· More than a third (37%) say they don’t understand what half of the ingredients mean on the back of the packet
· More than six out of 10 (62%) say food labelling needs to be much clearer.
· Half (49%) say clearer food labelling would help them make healthier food choices.
Parents don’t trust the food industry and want stricter regulation of children’s food
· Less than one in 10 Mums (only 8%) trust the food industry to make sure the food they produce is safe and healthy for their children
· Three quarters (74%) believe that many of the foods claiming to be healthy are high in salt, fat and sugar.
· Two thirds (65%) want increased regulation to ensure that food targeted at children is healthy and nutritious.
Anna Rosier, Managing Director of Organix, comments: “We know that parents want to give their children good, healthy and nutritious food, but it’s not always easy to make good food choices. We are launching the No Junk Challenge to help parents with advice on how to read the ingredients, to identify the dirty dozen, as well as providing fun activities to show parents what is in the food, and simple recipes to try out at home.
“We are also calling for the Government and the food industry to do their part. We need regulation and clear easy to understand labelling that will help parents choose the best for their children. So we’re calling on parents to sign up to the No Junk Pledge.”
Call to Action
The challenge aims to create a groundswell of support beyond this initial campaign phase, to move on to develop a manifesto for children’s food in October 2014. The No Junk campaign will call on the government and food industry to address the artificial additives and to remove the high quantities of added salt, fat and sugar content in foods targeted at children.
Sign the pledge at www.organix.com/nojunk and join the conversation at #NoJunk
Parents will be able to take part in fun activities to explore what is in children’s food, help expose some of the junk found in children’s food, and share their own healthy and delicious recipes to cook simple meals with natural ingredients. Competitions will run throughout the week with prizes including cookery books, aprons, shopping bags and children’s cookery kits.
April 27, 2014
If you want some entertainment for your little ones this summer, look out for the fun packed Goodies explore tour, visiting family festivals across the UK and stopping at a local supermarket near you.
You can catch the Goodies explore tour at the River Cottage Food Fair, Kent County Show, The 3 Foot People Festival, Festival on the Farm and The Big Feastival (dates and locations below). There is also the chance for mums and dads to request a visit for the chance to get the Goodies explore tour to pop up at their little ones birthday party, local village fete or special event.
The Goodies explore tour will travel the country between May and September and will feature a range of fun activities for little explorers:
- Interactive game to encourage toddlers to explore the wonders of nature
- Ideas for exploring the world of grow your own
- Inspiring ways to get fussy eaters to explore the taste, texture, shape and colour of food
- A chance for frantic scribblers and doodlers to explore their creative side on chalkboards
- A free Goodies explorer bag for every little explorer to take home
As little ones become more independent they develop a natural curiosity and appetite to explore – as they start to learn about themselves and the world around them.
For a little extra inspiration, Goodies has developed an explorers’ pack – full of fun and imaginative activities for parents to do with their toddler. Our explorer pack is full of adventures to help your little explorers learn about the food and the world around them. From imaginative games and storytelling, to trying new foods, making food together and getting closer to nature.
Each pack contains a wall chart and stickers to record and reward their adventures, a special explorer badge, seeds to grow their own food and much more. Look out for the special Goodies on pack promotion on selected foods in store from mid June 2014 and if you come to one of our explore tour events you could win an exclusive Goodies explorer tin. To find out more visit: www.organix.com/explorerpack
Goodies explore tour visits festivals across the UK
River Cottage Food Festival, Dorset 24-26th May 2014
The 3 Foot People Festival, Essex 24th–26th June 2014
Kent County Show 11th–13th July 2014
Festival on the Farm, Norfolk 26th July 2014
The Big Feastival, Oxfordshire 29th – 31st August 2014
Goodies explore tour visits retailers
The tour will also visit retailers throughout the summer – more news to come on tour venues and dates.
Pop up tours – mystery destinations … you decide …
Organix will have four mystery destination pop up events. Do you have a special party, event or reason for a celebration? If so, why not request a tour visit for your little one on our website from May.
April 1, 2014
I came across a nice new company Weekend Box. It’s a new concept for having healthy, green and creative activities for your children aged 4-6 delivered right through your door every fortnight. The boxes are sent out (with free delivery) in time for the weekend every fortnight and since everything’s included in the box, you can focus on spending time having fun with your little ones.
I received one to try with my 6-year old who loves crafts. Inside my Weekend Box there were four activities, one from each of the following categories:
Something to Cook
Something to Make
Something to Explore and
Most of the materials for each activity were included in the box. Instructions cards were also enclosed.
Each activity is designed to build sensory exploration skills within little ones aged 3-8 as well as help teach them about different life skills in a fun and engaging way.
If you like the idea you could order your Weekend Box here.
March 25, 2014