Cow & Gate nutrition advice with Sam Keenan, Mon 26th April

If you want to find out more about giving your baby a healthier breakfast post your queries to Sam Keenan, Cow & Gate baby nutritionist. Sam will be answering your questions here in our live webchat Monday 26th April between 12-1pm.

Don't worry if you can't make the LIVE chat, post your question below now and Sam will endeavour to answer as many questions as she can on the day...


  • Hi Sam

    My 22 month old has always eaten well and bites and chews food - but when it comes to meat, he spits it out. I have tried chicken, beef, turkey (we dont eat pork) but it dosnt matter if i give it to him shredded, as a finger food or in a soup he still spits it out. Im worried that this lack of meat in his diet will have an impact on him? Any ideas? Thankyou.
  • Hi everyone,

    I am ready and waiting to answer any queries you have about your baby's breakfast and salt in your baby's diet.

  • Hi JunieMummy,

    Thanks for your query about your 22 month old having trouble eating meat. Firstly I would say, don't worry about this too much at this age, It is quite common for younger toddlers to find the texture of meat a little strange and therefore reject it. However, you could try some good quality lean minced beef or alternatively puree just the meat and add it to your little boy's normal meal. This way, he will still get the goodness of the meat, but without the texture. Then as he gets a little older, just keep perservering with different textures as you have been and I'm sure that he will start to eat it eventually.

    I can understand why you are a little worried about him not eating meat, however as long as he is eating other protein rich foods like eggs, pulses, milk and cheese I'm sure he will be fine. To give you peice of mind around the iron content of his diet you could always try non meat sources of iron like green leafy veg, fortified breakfast cereals (watch out for the salt content!) or a Growing-up milk, which is tailored for baby's of your little boy's age.

    Good luck with this and I hope he starts to love meat soon.

  • Hi Sam

    It states in your C&G salt watch campaign that babies should have less than 1g of salt per day. Please can you tell me why this is and what it will mean for my child's future if she had a high intake of salt from an early age?

    I try to stick to a healthy diet but my mother gives my daughter a lot of high sugar, and salty treats so it would be good to give her reasons why she shouldn't.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Hi Claudia_1,

    Thanks for your question about the reasons behind the 1g per day max salt intake for babies under 1yr of age.

    There are a couple of reasons for this recommendation. Firstly, at this early age a diet high in salt can put strain on your baby's developing kidneys. Also, if your baby eats foods high in salt now in these early days, they are likely to develop a taste for salty foods in the future. A diet high in salt is a risk factor for developing high blood pressure and heart disease later in life.

    When chatting to your mum about it why not suggest a healthier alternative like fresh fruit and veg or low salt rice cakes.

    I hope that this helps and good luck.

  • Question from SarahSmith07(moved):

    Hi Sam,

    How does the taste of salt effect our babies palates? Will more salt in the diet at a young age give babies a permanent salt craving? Is lov salt/salt free food appealing to babies or is it difficult to get them on to that taste if they have already been exposed to foods (such a family breakfast cereals) that don't contain baby friendly salt levels?

    Thank you!
  • Hello, my lo is nearly 16 weeks, and on C & G Comfort milk. We started her on this at around 9 weeks due to colic. This has improved immensely, and I believe she is at the age where she should start to grow out of colic.

    I do, however, believe that she has an element of undiagnosed silent reflux, which is being controlled and improved on the Comfort milk due to it's thickness. Do you think there is any benefit/point in trying to wean her back onto the normal C & G infant formula? I am aware that the Comfort milk is suitable until at least 6 months.

    am inclined not to fix what's not broken.
  • Hi Sam,
    My 15 month little boy always has baby porridge for breakfast so i know it's good for him, but when he goes to Nursery he sits down to breakfast with all the other children and is given a bowl of Rice Krispies! They tell me he always asks for more and they give him second bowl. Should i be concerned? i've heard Rice Krispies have the highest sugar and salt content but he only goes to Nursery 2 days a week.
    Thanks for your help.
  • Hi Sam,
    I have an eight month old little girl and when I give her her morning milk feed she then wont eat any breakfast/porridge. I've tried giving her milk first then breakfast or breakfast then milk but either way she will only eat one or the other?! Which do you suggest is the most nutritious? Do you have any tips to make her take both?
  • Hi SarahSmith07,

    Thanks for your query about the effect of salt on your baby's taste preferences.

    Simply, yes if a baby has a diet which contains foods high in salt, they do tend to develop a liking for high salt foods in the future. Having said that, don't fear it is possible to retrain your baby's taste preferences!

    What I would suggest is to offer a baby specific cereal, which has no added salt and if your baby struggles to accept this new taste then you could try adapting the cereal. Why not try adding things like mashed banana or fruit puree's, this will give a slightly stronger taste and therefore may be more acceptable. You could then keep these flavours or slowly reduce the fruit you add until you are left with the cereal alone.

    I hope that this helps and good luck!

  • I'm often told by older members of my family, that it's done me or my siblings no harm by having mashed up version of the food my parents cooked for them as opposed to having seperate childrens no added salt food. Why is that that such "no added salt foods" specific for babies and children have only really become available of recent years and are my family right, has it done me no harm (or harm) in having adult mashed up food when I was baby/toddler
  • My boy who is 20 months eats absolutely everything and the stronger the flavour the better (bit of spicy, curries (not hot ones), strong tomato sauces, he even loves teriyaki chicken and red pesto!

    The only thing he won't eat is potato! In any form - we ve tried mashed, fried, baked, boiled, fries, etc, as soon as it touches his tongue (even on other foods in tiny amounts) out it goes!

    Is it ok for him to eat just pasta, rice, bulgur (he loves all of those)? We do give him potato (we are hoping that in time he will eat it) but he usually just doesnt touch it image (he eats all other food groups, loves meat, fish, fruit, veg (a bit tougher to get in that other food, but he still eats it, but I guess all kids are bit offish with the veg!)

    Also the salt - when we cook we use the reduced sodium salt (60% less sodium that regular salt) is it ok for kids? (because our boy eats what we eat). We tend not to use any salt if we are using a premade sauce or spice mixes (as they have salt in them).
  • Hi mcrofts,

    Thanks for your query about your little boy eating rice pops at nursery.

    I can understand why you are a little concerned about this, especially as you offer a baby porridge usually. As far as I know most brands of rice pops do contain added salt. I would ask the nursery to check the label, as this will tell you if salt is added and if so in what amounts.

    If you are unhappy about what you find then why not have a chat with the nursery and see if there is an alternative e.g. can you bring in your own cereal or can they offer him a cereal which has no added salt.

    Remember though, it is important to think about your little boy's diet as a whole and as long as he has foods that are generally low in salt you could balance this out over the day.

    I hope this helps

  • Hi catherine21,

    Thanks for your query about why now we advise to use baby specific foods.

    This is quite a common query that mums have so you are not alone!

    Quite simply things have changed over the years. In general our diets these days contain more salt and a lot of foods, like family cereals have salt added, sometimes in high amounts for babies. For example some family cereals contain more than 0.5g of salt per serving, which is half the maximum allowed for a baby under a year of age. Plus these days 'adult foods' include a lot more processed food than in the past and these are often high in salt.

    Also, we know a lot more about food and health now than we did years ago and therefore know the effects of things like excess salt on our long term health. In terms of your health, obviously there are many more factors than just what you ate when you were a baby. However we now know that if you like salty foods when you are little you are more likely to like them as you grow up and a diet high in salt can increase risk of high blood pressure and heart diesease later in life.

    I hope this answers your query.

  • Dear Fooxoo,

    Thanks for your enquiry about using reduced sodium salt and ready made sauces.

    When it comes to your little boy's diet at this age he should have no more than 2g of salt per day which is 0.8g of sodium. Many foods naturally contain sodium and even hidden salt and therefore it is best not to add any salt at all into your little boy's diet. Although the salt you are using is reduced sodium, it will still have sodium in there and it may lead your little one to prefer salty tastes.

    When you use ready made sauces in your food it is always best to check the label as these can be very high in salt for your little one. If they are high then I would watch what he is having for the rest of the day and yes make sure you don't add any extra.

    It sounds as though your little one loves his food, which is great! Please don't worry about him not liking potatoes, as long as he is having starchy foods with his meals then he will be fine. So include things like rice, pasta and bread.

    I hope this helps.


  • Today's webchat has now closed; please do not post any more questions.

    Many thanks to Sam Keenan for such informative answers.

    Sam will kindly answer all questions posted before 1pm.

    For more information about the Cow & Gate Salt watch campaign click the link:
  • Hi Summer,

    Thanks for your query about giving your little girl a milk feed and breakfast in the morning.

    At 8 months milk is still important in the diet and as a general rule she should have around 1 pint a day, however some of this can be included in her food and it doesn't all have to be given as a drink.

    What I would suggest is to offer her a small milk feed when she wakes and then wait an hour or so before giving breakfast. Alternatively offer her breakfast with milk added and a drink and then a milk feed mid morning. As long as her milk intake over 24 hours is around 1 pint then she should be absolutely fine. You may even find that her apetite increases over the coming months and she starts to take both.

    I hope this helps.

  • Hi Honey82,

    Thanks for your query about which milk to offer your little girl.

    To be honest, I would have a chat to your health visitor about this as she knows you both and can ask you questions about what has been going on over the past few months.

    To reassure you, the Comfort milk can be used until 12 months of age and therefore if she suggests that you stay with this milk then this is not a problem.

    If you have had a chat with your health visitor and have any further queries about our milks why not give our Careline a call on 08457 623 623 or visit and live chat with one of our advisors.

    I hope you get things sorted out soon.

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