Baby and Toddler nutrition webchat- Mon 16th Nov 09

Want to know what nutrients your child should be eating or need some tips to help them eat the right foods?

SMA nutritionist Anne Sidnell will be here on Monday 16th November, between 12-1pm to answer your questions and give great advice.

Post your questions below:


  • Hia
    My daughter is 4 weeks old and currently having sma gold. she is lasting 5 hours between feeds in the night but is only lasting 1.5-2 hours between feeds in the day. she drinks 4-5 oz every time!! Is there anything I can do to help her go longer between feeds in the day?
  • Hi, my son is 23 months and not a good eater - he had reflux and severe issues with lumpy foods and now will only eat soup and finger type foods (fish fingers, chicken dippers, cheese on toast etc) although eh does eat a bit better at nursery. We can only get potatoes into him in the form of oven chips or potato waffles and other than the veg mixed in his soup he will only pick at veg. He is a bit better with fruit although I doubt he gets his 5 a day.

    Any tips to help encourage him to eat more veg or to eat stuff like potatoes (which is thesort of lumpy texture he has problems with ) would be appreciated.

    We've recently put him on a dairy free diet to help his asthma and sleeping and he has goats milk and goats cheese as well as goats yoghurt or soya yoghurt. The thing I am mostly concerned about with the dairy free is making sure he has enough calcium as he used to eat loads of yoghurts. I don't know what the calcium content in goats products or soya products is so I'm not sure if he's getting enough. He probably drinks around 16-20 oz of goats milk a day.

    Thanks for any help
  • Welcome to today's webchat on Baby and Toddler Nutrition.

    We are happy to welcome SMA nutritionist, Anne Sidnell, who will be answering your questions until 1pm.
  • Hello

    I am weaning my daughter but my mum has as severe shellfish allergy (anaphylaptoic shock),

    I nhave read that my daughter should avoid shell fish till 3 or 5 yrs but shoudl also avoid fish until then aswell, can you help tell me what is correct regarding this? Thanks
  • HI Kia,
    Thanks for your questions about feeding your 23 month old son. You mentioned that he had problems with lumpy foods and this is very common. Giving him finger foods is the right thing to do as this means he is in control of putting lumpy/solid food in his mouth.
    In terms of giving him potatoes in other forms, how about giving him boiled potatoes (warm or cold) as a finger food. Otherwise how about giving him mashed potatoes?
    You mentioned that you have switched to a dairy free diet, but that you are givng him goats' milk. Goats' milk is a dairy food so you are not giving him a dairy free diet. If you did want to exclude dairy foods you could use a calcium supplemented soya formula such as SMA Wysoy.
    If you want to continue giving Goats' milk you don't have to worry about calcium, as Goats' milk is rich in calcium (like cows' milk).
    The main thing to remember is to try and introduce new foods as your son gets older. You could cut down on the volume of milk he drinks, as at nearly 2 years of age he should be getting more food and less milk overall.
    I hope this is helpful. Have a look on the SMA Nutrition website for recipe ideas to try with your son.
    all the best,

    Anne Sidnell

    [Modified by: Anne Sidnell on November 16, 2009 12:06 PM]

  • Hi Mel7,

    Thanks for your question about weaning your daughter and the place of fish and shellfish in her diet. You mentioned that your mother has an allergy to shellfish.

    The advice on giving shellfish is as follows:
    Raw shellfish. There can be a high food poisoning risk from raw shellfish, so you should avoid giving these to babies and young children.
    This advice concerns food poisioning risk and not allergy risk. If you are concerned about allergy you should avoid all shellfish in your daughters diet.
    Fish is a very good weaning food and it's a good idea to include fish in your daughters' diet from 6 months. There is one thing to remember with choosing the type of fish to give. Shark, swordfish and marlin are not suitable for babies and children due to high levels of mercury contamination in these foods.
    Suitable fish includes all the white fish such as plaice and sole, and the oily fish which are a good source of omega-3 such as salmon, fresh tuna, mackerel and herring. Canned tuna is fine too. The current advice for feeding oily fish is that young girls should have no more than 2 portions of oily fish a week.
    I hope this is helpful,

    [Modified by: Anne Sidnell on November 16, 2009 12:28 PM]

  • hi, my boy has was 2 in September and has been a terrible eater since around 1 year.

    He eats a lot better at nursery 2 days a week but at home he's a nightmare. He won't eat most veg, only potato and will only eat those in chip form, wedgies or mashed - no roast or boiled. other veg - forget it!! he won't eat any meat apart from on a homemade pizza.
    He quite likes pasta with a tomato or carbonara sauce but one day he'll eat it and next he wont.
    His best meal is breakfast, where he'll have 2 rounds of toast and yoghurt.

    It doesn't matter if we sit and eat with him, or if he eats on his own, his attitude isn't any different but he'll sit at nursery and eat veg and potatoes no problem which he won't eat at home. but he'll quite happily sit and eat cake and biscuits all day long if we were to let him!!

    i did speak to my hv a few months back and she told me if he refuses to eat, remove it and don't offer anything else but don't give a reaction and he'll soon learn to eat whats in front of him, but that hasn;t really worked and he'll go to bed sometimes without hardly eating a thing.

    he's always been small (still in 12-18 month clothes) and I worry its going to cause him harm as he's not getting all the vitamins and minerals, albeit I do give him a vit suppliment.

    sorry for long post!
  • Hi Anne
    My baby has been quite a sicky baby since about 4 months. She has a little infant gaviscon which helps a lot. I'm due to start weaning her soon and was wondering if there are any particular foods I should give her to help her keep it down and which will hopefully help her grown out of it.

  • Thansk for your help!
    If you have time, I just have anotehr question re finger foods as we have not introdcued these yet. What is the best age to start these? i tried a rice cake the other day and she bit off half!! Just sooooo worried about choking!!!
  • hi my son (8 months) is cows milk intolerant/ allergic and was wondering if it is ok to give him other 'high risk' foods like peanut butter or other nut derivatives, i know it says u can't if history of peanut allergy but didbn't know about if history of any food allergy if that makes sense? thanks in advance xx
  • Hi Claire,

    Thanks for your question about your 2 year old son. You are concerned about the balance and quantity of food he eats, although he seems to eat a wider variety of foods at nursery.

    Isn't it frustrating when they won't eat for you? My son still refuses meals at times and he is 8 now. You want them to eat but you know you can't force them to, and you try and stay calm. Food refusal is a normal part of toddler development, and often as in the case with your son, toddlers develop a fear of new foods in their second year of life.

    Most children normally control the amount of food they eat so that they eat enought for growth and development.

    There are a few positive things happening with your sons' eating which is good. He eats vegetables two days a week at nursery and you also say he eats tomato sauce on pasta, so don't forget that this is a veg too. Have you tried pureeing other veg into the pasta sauce? This might work for carrot or parsnip as they are not too strong in flavour.

    How about giving fruit at breakfast time, as you say this is his best time to eat. You could also give a high protein food at breakfast such as a boiled or scrambled egg.

    You don't mention what milk your son is having. A toddler milk such as SMA Toddler Milk is supplemented with key vitamins and minerals and might be useful for topping up his intake of some nutrients. One or two 200ml servings a day would be enough. Too many drinks (milk, juice or squash) can suppress appetite, so around 350 mls of milk is enough.

    The advice from your Health Visitor was good and you should try not to make a fuss if he refuses food. Continue to offer healthy foods, and not let him fill up on sweets, cakes, biscuits, crisps and fizzy drinks.

    Gradually he will expand the range of foods he likes, so be patient! Have a look on the SMA Nutriition site for recipe and feeding tips:

    All the best,

    Anne Sidnell

    [Modified by: Anne Sidnell on November 16, 2009 01:09 PM]

  • many thanks for your advice Anne, you've put my mind at ease a little!

    In reply, he still has a bottle of whole milk when he wakes and he'll usually have a cup of milk before bed but I did see the toddler milk advertised the other day so may give that a try -thansk

    regarding fruit - he does actually like fruit and usually does have 2 / 3 peices a day so i'll keep that up

    thanks again
  • Hi Homey_UK,

    Thanks for your question about weaning your baby who has been very sicky as a young baby.
    This is a distressing problem and one that hopefully your daughter will grow out of as she goes through her second 6 months of life.

    The advice I can think of regarding weaning is to space out the meals, and not give too much volume at any one time. Don't give a milk feed at the same time as a meal, so that the food has time to go down before the next milk feed is given.

    Sometimes lumpy foods can make the baby gag (not choke) and this is a natural reaction. If your baby has been sick easily, you might want to delay introducing lumpy foods for a few months, until you find what works for your both in terms of meal times and amounts of foods to give. Giving your baby finger foods to hold and eat herself may help her learn to manage lumpy foods.

    Take weaning slowly and you will be able to see how she manages, and work up to three small meals per day. Then you can add a second course to the main meal and the teatime meal.

    Have a look on the SMA Nutrition website ( for lots of general weaning advice.

    I hope this is helpful,

    all the best,


    [Modified by: Anne Sidnell on November 16, 2009 01:23 PM]

  • Please do not post any more questions.
    Thanks so much to Anne for her informative answers.
    For more information about SMA, baby feeding and weaning tips, please log onto
  • Hi again Mel7,

    Thanks for your question about finger foods and when to introduce them.

    I think it's a good idea to introduce soft finger foods from the start of weaning. Good foods to try are soft bread, cooked vegetables, cooked pasta shapes, cooked soft fish or chicken, soft fruit and soft cheese sticks.
    Often the baby will just suck and play with the food, but it gets them used to handling something solid in their mouth.
    Once they are used to having soft finger foods you can move on to crunchy foods like bread sticks, rice cakes and hard fruit.

    When babies begin weaning, they need to get used to foods that are not liquid. This means they need to move the food around in their mouths before swallowing. Sometimes a lump of food triggers a gag (retch) reflex when it hits the back of the tongue. This is not choking and is part of your baby learning what it feels like to have solid food in the mouth.

    Of course choking is a risk, which is why you should never leave your child alone while eating. Avoid small hard lumps like sweets, and nuts and foods that can break off into hard lumps.

    I hope you enjoy introducing your baby to all the new flavours and textures that are waiting for her to try!

    all the best,


    [Modified by: Anne Sidnell on November 16, 2009 01:33 PM]

  • Hi Siany,

    Thanks for your question about your 8 months old son who is cows milk intolerant. You asked if he is likely to be more at risk of other food allergies.

    I'm afraid this is not my area of expertise, but as a nutritionist, I would say that it might be sensible to avoid nuts till he is a year of age. Nuts are not important in the diet in the same way that major foods such as milk, wheat and eggs are, so your son won't lose out on important nutrients by avoiding them for a while longer.

    Cows milk allergy is the most common food allergy in children, and most will grow out of it by about 2 years of age.

    I hope this is helpful.

    kind regards, Anne

    [Modified by: Anne Sidnell on November 16, 2009 01:43 PM]

  • Hi Luc86,

    Congratulations on the birth of your baby daughter. Thanks for your question about how much milk to give and how to extend the time between feeds in the daytime.

    I've asked our lovely Careline ladies for help, as this is the area they know better than me.

    I'll post a reply shortly to answer your question.

    all the best, Anne
  • Dear Babyexpert mums,

    Thanks for posting your questions today. I hope you found my advice helpful.

    At SMA Nutrition we have a team of Careline advisors who can take your call any time of the day or night on any feeding question. The number is 0800 0 81 81 80.

    Also, if you get a chance, have a look at our new website at We have some 'how to' videos about weaning at the different stages, as well as an interactive meal planner with lots of recipes to try out. You can also see details of SMAs new Toddler Milk, a fortified milk drink for active toddlers.

    As a mum of three children my top tip is not to worry too much about what your child is eating. Get advice on good nutrition, and offer the best variety of foods you can, and let your child decide how much they eat at any one time.

    My favourite piece of advice on weaning is 'introduce all the foods in your childs first year that you want them to enjoy at 5 years of age'.

    With best wishes for you and your baby,


    [Modified by: Anne Sidnell on November 16, 2009 02:09 PM]

  • Dear Luc86

    Here is some advice about the volume of SMA First Infant Milk your 4 week old baby is taking now.

    During the first few weeks, your baby may demand frequent and irregular feeds - day and night. But gradually babies all establish their own patterns. Don't worry about sticking to a rigid schedule for now, it's very early days. Just feed when your baby is hungry, as you are doing, and gradually you will fall into a routine. Remember, all babies are individuals.

    The best way to monitor your baby's progress is to attend clinic on a regular basis getting baby weighed and talking through changes with your Health visitor.

    Hope this is helpful,


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