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Healthy Snack Ideas for Babies and Toddlers

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Healthy Snack Ideas for Babies and Toddlers

Posted on 22 August 2013 by Kristrun

Healthy Snack Ideashealthy snacks for babies

Most toddlers love to snack

Indeed, for some parents it feels like their children do nothing but snack. This is normal. But even if your toddler eats well at meal-times, you will find that snacks are still an important part of their day and indeed they should be.

Snacks can fill nutritional gaps, provide energy for a busy bod, make up for unsuccessful meals and let’s face it, keep the little monkeys busy for five minutes while you have your own meal!

It is a rare parent who leaves their home with a toddler for more than half an hour without packing something to eat whilst on the go. And if you are attending any kind of playgroup or activity, there is usually a scheduled break in which to refuel. Supplements for post cycle hormonal regulation may be a good alternative for a Mom instead of the usual snack.

Be prepared, take more than you think you will need and remember that tissues and wipes (or a wet cloth) are always a good idea where toddlers and food are concerned. It’s a good idea, also, to stick to familiar foods when out and about; best to keep experiments with variety to the safety of your own home!

So what to bring?

There are plenty of packaged convenience snacks on the market and so you would rarely be stuck with nothing if anywhere near a supermarket, but for better nutrition, as well as value for money, home-made is always going to win. Another reason for this is that snacks should, ideally, not stray too far from what your child would normally eat at meal-times. The odd packet of crunchy, shop-bought goodies is not going to do too much damage, but given on a regular basis your toddler could develop an aversion to “real” food. Ideally, it is best to let this type of shop-bought snack remain unsampled for as long as you can while your child develops his foody repertoire and while you remain in control of it.

Home-made doesn’t have to mean hours of preparation. Keep it simple, healthy, easy to eat (and non-sticky if possible!) and snacks will be a valuable addition to your child’s diet.

Good snacks provide carbohydrate, protein, fibre and healthy fats. Generally speaking, protein and fibre-rich foods help kids stay fuller for longer.
Depending on your child’s age and developmental stage, some good snack ideas are:

  • Squares of pre-toasted bread, pita-bread triangles, bagels (all minimum crumb factor)
  • Lightly steamed or blanched veggies – carrots, green beans, broccoli etc.  Or raw if your child is older.
  • A small tub of hummous or bean dip to go with the veggie sticks keeps toddlers busy, but does increase the mess factor.
  • Peas and corn (good fun for tiny fingers!)
  • A box separated into compartments to hold various small goodies – blueberries, whole-wheat cereal, dried fruit, chopped grapes etc
  • Sticks or cubes of cheese
  • Wholegrain crackers
  • Fruit. Bananas are nature’s ultimate fast food.

So keep it simple, fun and healthy. Good snacks are a piece of cake.

If you have any questions regarding nutrition, or need help with a picky eater, why not book a private consultation with health visitor Conchita Amende. She’s our resident expert.

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Helping Helpers: Domestic Helper’s Course

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Helping Helpers: Domestic Helper’s Course

Posted on 13 February 2012 by hulda

Give you and your helper confidence in caring for your baby plus weekly playgroups.

Cultural differences between helpers and ourselves can leave a gap in communication, a gap that Annerley tries to bridge. Donna Watts, mothercraft and registered nurse explains: “In the Philippines and Indonesia It is customary to hold and rock a baby to sleep. But recent studies and research show that it is actually more beneficial to the baby if we teach them to fall asleep on their own. We show helpers how to establish a routine and signals that indicate when it’s time for baby to go to sleep.”

Many of us simply couldn’t manage without our domestic helpers, our domestic helpers at https://www.nlzcleaninglongisland.com/ can multi-task with ease, running errands, cooking and cleaning our homes. Not all of them are prepared for the huge responsibilities that come with childcare. And when it’s your baby, you want to make sure that you can give your helper all the help and knowledge she needs to look after your precious babe.

“By teaching the domestic helper’s the latest in childcare studies, mums can feel more confident that they are leaving their baby’s at home with the best care possible,” says Watts. “It’s hands on as only in that way can we see the problems. For example, some helpers misunderstand what we mean by lie a baby on its back, placing the baby on its stomach with its back up.”

The course extensively covers all the major topics concerning baby care, including:

  • Hygiene and minor ailments,
  • How to ensure babies sleep well and learn self settling techniques
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Use of infant formula and introducing solid foods
  • Developmental milestones and appropriate play for different stages
  • Infant CPR, first aid and safety.

Course materials are provided and Annerley will also provide feedback to you and your domestic helper about their progress at the end of the course.

Price: 2650 HKD

For more info: http://www.annerley.com.hk/index.php/Product/554/Domestic-Helper-s-Course.html

Maid and Baby Playgroup:

Maid and Baby happen every Wednesday morning from 10 to 12. Maids bring babies and interact with the children in a playgroup setting. Donna Watts supervises the group discussing different topics as they come up. Donna gives maids hands on instructions on how to deal with each baby. It is a great opportunity for a casual evaluation and our observations of how baby and helper interact mean we can raise any ‘red flag’ areas that parents can look out for at home. This program’s success has been written about and posted on sites like https://www.maidcomplete.com/house-cleaning-dallas.php with great reviews and comments. Anyone interested should give it a glance.

  • It’s open to all maids and babies under the age one 1 year old.
  • There’s no need to register, just drop in!
  • We also offer coffee, tea and other light refreshments.

Profile: Donna Watts

Donna runs our Infant and Baby Massage courses as well as our mother and baby groups and early development sessions at Annerley, teaching some of the domestic helpers training classes as well.

Donna is a 25 year experienced mothercraft and enrolled nurse. She worked for 17 years in a maternity hospital in Australia specializing in newborn and special care treatment prior to commencing her own baby health clinics throughout Sydney from 2005. Her experience is centred around the 0 – 3 years of age infants with focus on growth and development. She has 3 adult children and enjoys outdoor activities and meeting new people.

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Baby stools

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Baby stools

Posted on 24 January 2012 by Annerley

What a delightful topic! But the fact is that of all the questions that I get most often at 9 pm on a Friday night via phone is: Are my baby’s stools normal? So let’s look at what is:

A baby that is exclusively breastfeeding can have everything from stools 10 times a day or up to 10 days between with out anything being abnormal. When the baby starts to have solid foods, especially when dairy products are on the menu, the digestion changes and then the baby usually has more frequent stools, or else feels rather uncomfortable.

Breastfeed babies usually have very loose stools that are orange or mustardy color and sometimes with little seed like bits in it. It can also go quite olive in color and even brown for a few days. Formula fed babies have thicker stools, they smell strong and are usually from dark orange color to green.
And once the baby is having solid food, expect darker and thicker, – and unfortunately more smelly stools.

Firm stools that can cause a lot of discomfort for the child is quite common amongst babies that are formula fed. Sometimes giving a little of well dilated prune juice to get things moving again. If the baby is already having some solids, it is important to give high fibre food as well as water regularly. The baby can have cereals twice a day, plus vegetables and fruits but it is important to keep dairy products, such as yogurts at balance. It is not necessary to stop giving all dairy though, but give a lot of other fluids – mainly water.

During the first year, digestive discomforts are rather common. Usually we are seeing cases of mild cases with a bit of diarrhea for one to two days. In those cases it is important to give plenty of fluids to replace what got lost with the loose stools. Otherwise you can feed the baby normal solid food if the baby is happy to eat. Breastmilk can always be given and can often be the only source of nutrition, even if the baby has gone onto solid foods, – in case of a sick baby.

If a baby gets severe diarrhea, does not want to drink, does not urinate and is otherwise lethargic and very sick, you should always get in contact with your family doctor or a pediatrician.
In some cases, babies have really loose stools and even diarrhea for a long time. If the baby gains weight normally ad thrives as usual, loose stools are in it self nothing to worry about but you must pay attention to if the baby looses weight as well and respond by seeing a doctor if this is the case.

Occasionally babies have a long term diarrhea due to not enough fat in food, for example if they have skimmed milk or too many juices and never get fat as a part of their solid foods. As soon as those children get fat back into their diet, the diarrhea is no longer a problem.

Hulda Thorey

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…some common baby q&a

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…some common baby q&a

Posted on 20 December 2011 by Annerley

Is it true that newborn babies only see black and white, and no colors?

To a certain extend this is correct.  The eyes of newborn babies are not fully developed and for a while after they are born they can not fully see colors.  They also cannot focus far away so only things around 10 – 30 cm away from their eyes are clearly visible.

My baby has got a bit of hair and it is growing fast, but there are some bold areas on the back of his head.  Is this normal?

Yes, and try not to worry about this.  This happens mainly because babies lie on their backs most of the time and the friction between the head and the surface underneath usually causes some of the hair to fall off.  Because of increased risk of cot-death when babies sleep on their front, sleeping on the back is the preferred position so most parents see bold spots on their babies’ heads after a while.  The good thing is that after the hair grows a bit thicker, this bold spot disappears and you never see any signs it was there in the first place.

When is the right time to give solid foods to babies?

The need for solid food differs quite between babies.  They also tolerate new types of food in a different way, so therefore it is important not to start too early and start really slowly.  We recommend parents to take the baby to a baby clinic and get advice from midwives or doctors on what is suitable for each child.  General guidelines from the WHO in 2005 are to wait until the baby is 6 months old and ideally to feed only breast milk until then.

How often do we have to change nappies?

As a rule of thumb, it is good to change nappies every time you feed the baby, ideally in the end of the feed since most babies will urinate/pass stools during the fees or right after.   If your child develops nappy rash, you must change more frequently than this and try and ensure some time every day without the nappy to dry the area.  You do not have to change the nappy every time the baby does a little pee unless the baby seems really sensitive to this.

Is it good or bad to warm up milk in the microwave?

BAD!!  Microwave ovens are designed in the way that temperature of fluids that have been heated can be extremely uneven.  Then when you touch the milk on the outside of the bottle it might seem the right temperature, but inside it might be a lot warmer, causing serious damage to the baby’s mouth and stomach.  Another reason is also that some of the ingredients of the Breast milk can be damaged with microwaves.

If you wish to warm up milk, we suggest to put hot water (30 – 40 degrees) in a small bowl and then to put the bottle in there for a few minutes.  The milk will warm up quickly without any risk to the baby.  Make sure to test the milk before feeding it, by putting a drop on the inside of your arm/wrist.  It should not feel hot.

Colic – what to do?

Babies often get the occasional colicky period, without developing“every day” colic.  Best way to deal with it is to try different advice and see what seems to suit your child.  You might want to try and have the baby lie flat on the stomach on your forearm and walk around like this.  Also you can make chamomile tea and cool it down until around room temperature, and then give around 2 teaspoons.  This often soothes the stomach and lasts for a few hours.  If the baby does not seem to be calmed in any way, call a midwife or a doctor to get advice.  Another treatment that has proven both very popular and useful is to have osteopathic treatment.  At Annerley, Ines De Beer is our in-house osteopath.

When can I give my child normal cow’s milk?

In the first year, if the baby is not given the breast milk, formula powder is the second best option.  When the child has been given food from all food groups and has gotten used to those, he/she can have cows milk.  This is usually around 12 months of age.  We recommend delaying giving other types of dairy, such as cheese and yogurt until 9 – 11 months, or at least give them sparingly.

How can I prevent nappy rash?

  • Most babies get nappy rash sometime in their early months.  Here are some tips about how to prevent it:
  • Clean the bottom carefully with only cotton wool and water and dry well with a cloth.
  • Leave the baby with no diaper on for a while every day, or even every time when you change a nappy.
  • Change nappies as soon as they get dirty.

If none of this works, a nappy rash cream might be helpful, especially the ones with zinc oxide in.

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Healthy nutrition for you and your baby

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Healthy nutrition for you and your baby

Posted on 17 August 2011 by Annerley

Eating healthy food will be good for you and your baby. What you eat today can have long term effects on your baby’s health even into adulthood. Do you need to eat any differently from normal when you are pregnant or hoping to have a baby?

Folic acid

Folic acid is a B vitamin and it is thought that you need more of this than usual in early pregnancy. Folic acid protects your baby against birth defects at the time that the brain and nervous system are developing (e.g. Neural tube defects such as spina bifida). It is difficult to get enough folic acid from your daily intake of food, so the Department of Health has recommended that you take a tablet of folic acid every day (each tablet should contain 400 micrograms or 0.4 milligrams). If you can not afford healthy foods find out where to apply for wic near me.

  • Start taking folic acid when you know you want to be pregnant. If you get pregnant first, don’t worry.  Just start as soon as possible and continue until you are sure you have passed the 12th week.
  • Folic acid can be found in green leafy vegetables, potatoes, baked beans, yeast extract, fortified breakfast cereals and bread with the F symbol. Try to include these foods in your daily diet.
  • If you or anyone in your family has ever had a pregnancy affected by spina bifida or another neural tube defect, you need a much larger dose of 4-5 milligrams of folic acid and your GP will prescribe this for you.

Aim for 5-a-day fresh fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables, whether fresh, chilled, frozen, canned or dried, are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre. A piece of fruit, a portion of vegetables not including potatoes, a glass of fruit or vegetable juice, and even a ‘smoothie’, will all count towards one of your 5-a day goal. However, it is important that you keep the 5 items varied, so five of the same thing does not count!

Starchy foods including bread, rice, pasta and potatoes are carbohydrates and are satisfying, making you feel fuller for longer and providing you with energy. However, if you eat too many of these you may put on excess weight during your pregnancy. Wholegrain versions are especially nutritious and the fibre helps to prevent constipation.

Protein based foods are an important part of your daily diet. If you suffer from morning sickness try a simply thick protein shake until you’re able to eat regularly. Lean meat, fish (twice a week, including oily fish once), eggs, cheese, beans and pulses give you protein and important minerals like iron and zinc. There is more information later in this article about protein-based foods to avoid in pregnancy and while you are breastfeeding. Best blender for protein shakes will make your diet more various.

Dairy foods like milk, yoghurt and cheese contain calcium but can be high in fat, so it is worth considering lower-fat varieties if you are concerned about excess weight gain as they are just as nourishing. There is more information later in this article about cheeses to avoid in pregnancy and while you are breastfeeding.

Sugary and fatty foods are more likely to add excess weight because they are high in calories and have very little nutritional value, but they will add pleasure and choice to your diet as long as they are eaten in sensible amounts.

Your baby should have the best of starts if you are not over or under weight when you get pregnant. Cutting down the calories that you eat while you are pregnant in order to control your weight should only be done under the guidance of a general practitioner (GP) or dietician, as unsupervised dieting will not help your baby.


If you think you are overweight or underweight, mention it to your midwife or doctor. What is certain is that dieting, often going hungry or eating mostly junk food will not help your baby and might even be harmful. Pregnant women who diet excessively or who live through famines tend to have difficult pregnancies, problems in labour and small babies. Even women who are overweight or who put on a lot of weight early in pregnancy don’t benefit from dieting and nor do their babies.

You may find that your doctor or midwife no longer take regular recordings of your weight during pregnancy, as the evidence about this suggests that this may not be helpful.  You can check whether your weight is appropriate for your height; this is called the body mass index (BMI).You can use the formula below to work this out for yourself or you can ask your midwife to do it for you. This will tell you whether you are within a healthy BMI range, which is between 20 and 25.

Nausea and morning sickness

Although feeling or being sick occasionally is common in pregnancy and will not harm your baby, it can be a very trying time for you. By the 12th to 14th week of your pregnancy, any nausea and vomiting should have settled. To reduce the effects of the nausea and or sickness, studies show that the following may be helpful:

  • Wearing travel sickness bands on your wrists is effective;
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) appears to lessen the nausea;
  • Taking ginger may help, though the evidence is weak;
  • Your GP may be able to prescribe specific medication to relieve the sickness and these are very effective.

Also, acupuncture and homeopathy has often been helpful for women with morning sickness, although this has not been proved with studies.  If the sickness becomes so bad that you can’t keep anything down, particularly drinks, you should consult your midwife or doctor immediately.


Your body needs iron to make haemoglobin – this is found in your body’s red blood cells and transports oxygen around the body. It is normal for haemoglobin levels to fall during pregnancy, partly because the fluid that carries your blood cells increases. Mild iron deficiency (anaemia) will not harm your baby, but if the amount of haemoglobin falls significantly, you may start to feel tired and breathless on exercise. Studies show that in this case you would be advised to take iron tablets. You may be able to avoid becoming anaemic by a regular intake of iron-rich foods. These would include red meat, dark green vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals, dried fruits, wholemeal bread, plain chocolate and eggs.  Eating foods that are rich in vitamin C at the same meal as the iron rich foods helps your body to absorb the iron more effectively. Drinking large amounts of tea and coffee can reduce the ability of your body to absorb iron effectively.

Some women should not take iron pills; this includes women who need regular blood transfusions for a sickle cell condition or thalassaemia.

Doctors and midwives do not know yet:

  1. At what point in pregnancy a poor diet may most affect your baby.
  2. What really influences women’s eating patterns

Vitamin D deficiency

You need vitamin D from sunlight or your food to absorb calcium effectively. Some women may not have enough exposure to sunlight either because of their natural skin coloring or because their culture or religion requires them to keep their skin covered. If you are a vegetarian you may also have a low intake of the foods that contain a lot of vitamin D, such as eggs, margarine or enriched spreads and oily fish like salmon. In this case, you can choose to eat more of the foods that are vitamin D rich, ensure you have some exposure to sunlight or you can take vitamin D as a supplement.  If you feel you are at risk of vitamin D deficiency, discuss this with your midwife or doctor.

Is calcium good for you?

Trials show that calcium supplements can help to reduce your blood pressure; however, you should not start taking these yourself. If you need calcium supplements, your midwife or GP should discuss this with you. Extra calcium has been shown to help women most who are not getting enough of this from their regular diet. Calcium rich foods are dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt or high-calcium non-dairy foods like spinach and tofu.

When you are pregnant, you will come across a lot of advice about what you should or shouldn’t eat. It goes without saying that if you are usually on the best nootropics stack in your regular life, now would be wise to stop since the baby surely does not need to deal with that. Although this advice is usually research based, you may not be able to follow it either   because of your personal tastes and preferences, or perhaps because of the cost.

Other information about diet may catch the attention of the media although the evidence to support this may not always be authoritative. Women frequently have to decide which advice they can follow and it may be that their personal circumstances will impact on these decisions. For example, a woman who eats a vegetarian diet will have to find alternative sources of iron, as she cannot obtain this from eating red meat. Where this is the case, a woman can be left feeling guilty and anxious that she has not done the best for her baby.

If you have concerns or questions about your diet, you can always talk to your midwife, GP or health visitor about these.

Food Safety

There is now reliable information about foods to avoid when you are pregnant and  breastfeeding.

Liver and vitamin A supplements

Very high intakes of one form of vitamin A (retinol, found in liver, liver pate and sausage, fish liver oils and some supplements) have been linked with the baby being born with birth defects.  The other form of vitamin A is called ‘beta carotene’ and this is safe to take in pregnancy, but always check with your doctor or midwife before taking any vitamin A supplements.

Nut allergy

It may be wise not to eat peanuts or peanut products while you are pregnant, especially if you or your baby’s father or any brothers or sisters have a history of allergies. Studies suggest that a baby can develop peanut allergy before birth or while breastfeeding, but the evidence is uncertain.


A survey by the Food Standards Agency in the UK has found high levels of mercury in some fish. As mercury can affect the developing nervous system of the unborn baby, it is advised to limit the amount of tuna you eat to two medium cans or a single fresh steak a week and to completely avoid swordfish, marlin and shark. This applies when you are planning a pregnancy, actually pregnant or breastfeeding.

Cheese, meat and eggs

Listeria is a bacteria that grows in some specific foods and can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or serious illness in the newborn baby. Other bacteria such as salmonella can also cause serious illness to you and your baby. While hard cheeses are mostly safe to eat in pregnancy, it is advised to avoid soft mould-ripened cheeses like Camembert, Brie and all blue-veined cheeses. You should also avoid eating all types of paté and oven-ready meals that are uncooked or undercooked as well as raw or part-cooked eggs.


Studies show that high levels of caffeine are linked with miscarriage and stillbirth. It is better to choose decaffeinated drinks or keep to no more than 300mg of caffeine a day. That is three cups of brewed coffee or four cups/three mugs of instant coffee.

More information at https://ehiprimarycare.com/trim-down-diet-club-review/.


2009 Hulda Thorey/ Article based on the MIDIRS database  

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