Mum & Baby

Best Foods for Lactation

Lactation is how a mother produces and secretes milk to feed her infant. During this time, a mother’s body has unique nutritional needs to support her health and her baby’s health. Proper nutrition is essential to ensure the baby receives the nutrients for healthy growth and development.

Lactating mothers require a balanced and varied diet to ensure they and their babies receive the nutrients necessary for healthy growth and development. A diet rich in protein, carbohydrates, fats, calcium, iron, vitamin D, and water can provide the essential nutrients that lactating mothers need.

It is also important to avoid certain foods that can pass through breast milk and cause discomfort or harm to the baby. 

This article will discuss the best foods and nutrition for lactating mothers.

Proteins

Proteins are essential for the growth and development of the baby’s tissues and organs. Lactating mothers require an additional 25 grams of protein per day. Good protein sources include lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, and dairy products.

It is recommended that lactating mothers consume at least 3 servings of protein per day.

  • Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates provide energy to the body and are important for lactating mothers who require extra energy to produce milk. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are good sources of carbohydrates. It is recommended that lactating mothers consume at least 6 servings of carbohydrates per day.

  • Fats

Fats are essential for developing the baby’s brain and nervous system. Lactating mothers require additional fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, as well as flaxseed and walnuts. It is recommended that lactating mothers consume at least 3 servings of fat per day.

  • Calcium

Calcium is essential for the growth and development of the baby’s bones and teeth. Lactating mothers require at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified foods.

  • Iron

Iron is important for producing hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the body’s tissues. Lactating mothers require an additional 9 milligrams of iron per day. Good sources of iron include lean meats, poultry, fish, legumes, and fortified cereals.

  • Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for absorbing calcium and developing the baby’s bones and teeth. Lactating mothers require at least 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily. Good sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified foods.

  • Water

Lactating mothers require additional water to produce milk. It is recommended that lactating mothers drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water per day.

Avoid certain foods

Lactating mothers should avoid certain foods that can pass through breast milk and cause discomfort or harm to the baby. These include alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods. 

In conclusion, consult a registered dietitian/nutritionist for personalized nutrition recommendations.

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How To Introduce New Foods to Babies

Introducing new foods to babies is an exciting and important milestone in their growth and development. However, it can also be a daunting task for many parents. Introducing new foods can help babies develop a healthy and varied palate, but it is essential to do so safely and gradually.

Here are some tips to help you introduce new foods to your baby

  1. Start with single-ingredient foods: When introducing new foods, it is best to start with single-ingredient foods such as pureed fruits and vegetables. This makes identifying any potential food allergens easier and allows you to gauge your baby’s reaction to the new food.

2. Introduce one new food at a time: Introducing one fresh food at a time allows you to observe your baby’s reaction to the latest food and identify any potential food allergies. Wait for three to five days before introducing another new food to see if there is any adverse reaction.

3. Offer a variety of textures: Babies are naturally curious and love to explore different textures. Offer your baby a variety of textures, such as pureed, mashed, and lumpy foods, to help them develop their chewing and swallowing skills.

4. Be patient: Introducing new foods to babies can be slow. Some babies may take to fresh foods quickly, while others may need more time to adjust. Be patient and continue to offer your baby new foods, even if they reject them initially.

5. Encourage self-feeding: Allowing your baby to self-feed is a great way to encourage independence and develop fine motor skills. Offer your baby fingers foods such as small pieces of soft fruit or cooked vegetables, and let them explore the food with their hands.

6. Make mealtime fun: Mealtime should be a positive experience for babies. Encourage your baby to participate in mealtime by talking to them about the new food, allowing them to smell and touch it, and offering it to them on a spoon.

7. Be a role model: Babies are naturally curious and look to their parents for cues on what to eat. Your baby is more likely to follow your lead from you if you adopt a daily healthy eating habit.

In conclusion, introducing new foods to babies can be a fun and exciting experience. By starting with single-ingredient foods, introducing one fresh food at a time, offering a variety of textures, being patient, encouraging self-feeding, making mealtime fun, and being a role model, you can help your baby develop a healthy and varied palate. Always consult your pediatrician/ nutritionist before introducing new foods to your baby.

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Importance of Iron-Rich Foods For Babies

Iron is an essential nutrient for babies as it plays a crucial role in their physical and mental development.

Iron helps transport oxygen in the body, supports the immune system, and aids in forming hemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying oxygen to cells. Hence it is essential to ensure that babies get enough iron in their diets.

Babies are born with a limited supply of iron stored in their bodies, which can last for several months. After that, they need to get their iron from their food. Iron-rich foods are essential for babies as they help prevent iron deficiency, also known as anemia, which can lead to fatigue, weakness, and impaired cognitive development.

The following are the best iron-rich foods that you can include in your baby’s diet:

  1. Meat is one of the richest sources of iron, especially red meat such as beef and lamb. These meats are also high in protein, which is essential for growth and development.
  2. Poultry: Chickens are excellent sources of iron for babies. They also contain other essential nutrients like vitamin B12, zinc, and niacin.
  3. Seafood: Fish, particularly oily fish like salmon and sardines, are rich in iron, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain development.
  4. Lentils and Beans: Lentils, chickpeas, and black beans are excellent vegetarian sources of iron. They can be pureed or added to soups and stews for a delicious and nutritious meal.
  5. Eggs: Eggs are a good source of iron and contain vitamins A, D, and E, as well as choline, which is essential for brain development.
  6. Iron-fortified Foods: Iron-fortified cereals, bread, and formula are also good sources of iron for babies. These foods are fortified with iron to ensure that babies get enough of this vital nutrient.

In addition to these foods, it is also important to give babies foods that are high in vitamin C, as vitamin C helps the body absorb iron. Citrus fruits, strawberries, and broccoli are foods rich in Vitamin C. In conclusion, iron-rich foods are essential for babies as they support their growth and development. Including a variety of these foods in your baby’s diet will help ensure that they get enough iron and other essential nutrients

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10 Effective Ways of Losing Baby Fat

Achieving a healthy post-baby weight can be a real struggle. Adjusting to a new routine of caring for a newborn and recovering from childbirth is stressful. However, returning to a healthy weight after delivery is essential to avoid any health complications that arise from being overweight.

Consequences of keeping on some extra weight after pregnancy

 . Increased risk of being overweight

  . Heightened risk of Diabetes and heart disease

  . Greater risk of complications during pregnancy

  . Higher health risks for women with gestational Diabetes

What to do to lose the weight

1. Avoid Crash Diet

Crash diets are very low-calorie diets that aim to make you lose a large amount of weight in the shortest amount of time possible after delivering a baby. Crash diets are not recommended as they derive the body the calories and good nutrition needed.

2. Breastfeed if possible

Breastfeeding has many benefits for both mother and child; it may make weight loss more difficult in the first three months postpartum, but it may help you lose weight later.

3. Monitor your calorie intake

Low-calorie diets are not recommended, particularly for breastfeeding mothers; however, decreasing your intake by about 500 calories per day is generally safe and will help you lose about 1 pound (0.5kg) per week.

4. Eat foods high in fiber

Soluble fiber may help with weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness and regulating appetite hormones.

5. Stock up on healthy proteins

Protein supports weight loss by boosting your metabolism, increasing feelings of fullness, and regulating appetite hormones.

6. Eating Healthy Snacks

Keep healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and yogurt at home and easily accessible store unhealthy food out of sight or don’t keep them in the house.

7. Avoid alcohol

Avoid alcohol if you want to lose weight because it provides extra empty calories.

8. Get moving

Aerobic exercise has many significant health benefits exercise at any level of intensity combined with a healthy eating plan makes for an effective weight loss method.

9. Drink Enough Water

Drinking water boosts your metabolism and aids weight loss; staying hydrated during breastfeeding and taking at least eight glasses of water a day is essential.

10. Get Enough Sleep

Poor sleep can negatively impact your weight loss efforts; although it is difficult with a newborn, try to get as much sleep as possible and ask for help when needed.

Reach us at info@practicalnutritionconsultants.org and let us walk with you on this journey of motherhood.

Homemade Remedy for Tonsilitis

Before we learn about the homemade remedy for Tonsillitis, let us first understand the problem.

There are two oval-shaped glands called tonsils that sit at the back of our throat, and their primary purpose is to fight off viruses and bacteria that enter the body through the mouth and nose.

When they become inflamed, we then say one has Tonsillitis. Viruses are the leading cause of Tonsillitis, although bacteria play a role too in inflammation in about 15-30% of cases.

Tonsillitis can affect everyone, but children are the main culprits.

Signs and symptoms of Tonsilitis

  • Pain in the throat when swallowing
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  •  Hoarse voice
  • Bad breath
  •  Ear pain
  • Stiff neck
  • Chills

If Tonsillitis results from a virus, usually, it is a mild case and doesn’t necessarily require treatment. In this case, some homemade remedies that I will expound on in this article heal them. On the other hand, if the Tonsillitis is severe and a result of a bacterial infection, antibiotics, and painkillers like ibuprofen helps relieve inflammation and pain. However, in the worst case, tonsillectomy is ultimately done.

Tonsillectomy is a surgery to remove tonsils, usually recommended when the symptoms don’t improve or Tonsillitis causes complications.

What Causes Tonsillitis?

  • Air pollution
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking secondhand smoke
  • Acidic foods or drinks
  • Dry foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Dry air
  • Allergies to substances such as pollen and mold

Is Tonsillitis Contagious?

 Tonsillitis is highly contagious, especially within 24 – 48 hours before developing symptoms. The germs causing Tonsillitis are spread through inhaling respiratory droplets that are generated when coughing and sneezing. Sometimes, one remains contagious as long as the symptoms persist.

5 Key Ingredients for an Effective Homemade Remedy

1. Gargling with salt water

Gargling with salt water helps soothe a sore throat and the pain caused by Tonsillitis and can also help treat infections. Dissolve salt in a glass of water, gargle, swish through the mouth, and spit out. Doing this at least twice a day helps a lot.

2. Garlic

Garlic is a proven natural antibiotic that is effective against bacteria and viruses. It’s one of the most effective homemade remedies against Tonsillitis, and I highly recommend it as a homemade remedy.

3. Ginger

Ginger is known to help block the proteins that cause inflammatory pain and itchiness. It is also known to have antioxidant properties and helps boost immunity, and ultimately help the body fight off Tonsillitis.

4. Cloves

Cloves contain phenolic compounds, which are anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. They alleviate the pain caused by Tonsillitis and relieve sore throat.

5. Honey

Raw, unadulterated honey has strong antibacterial properties, which can help treat the infections that result in Tonsillitis.

I like taking warm tea with all these ingredients; ginger, garlic, cloves, and honey. My children like to call it “Dawa kali” meaning bitter medicine. I can attest that it is effective and easily made at home.

Feel free to reach us at info@practicalnutritionconsultants.org for more practical homemade remedies, and let’s walk this health journey with you.

Diet After a C-Section Delivery

Women who deliver by C-section need a good amount of time to rest and a diet with essential nutrients to recover from the invasive nature of the operation. The physical, mental, and emotional stress experienced affects the overall health of the mothers.

A good support system, rest, and a diet aimed at catalyzing the healing process are essential for a full recovery and enable the mother to provide nutritious and sufficient breast milk for the baby. More often than not, many focus on a pregnant mother’s diet and neglect the diet after delivery.

The diet should aid digestion and easy bowel movements without straining the abdomen. Most mothers’ major ‘pain in the neck ’ after the surgery is constipation. The main causes of constipation after a cesarean section surgery are:

  • Drugs used in the surgery
  • Dehydration
  • High-level iron prenatal supplements
  • Pelvic muscle weakness
  • Psychological trauma after the surgery

Drinking plenty of water, eating fiber-rich foods, and avoiding caffeine are some of the measures that a mother can take to alleviate the problem of constipation.

5 Key Nutrients to include in the diet after a C-Section

1. Proteins

Eating a diet rich in protein helps heal after the surgery and is important for the baby’s growth.

Good protein sources include Eggs, Fish, Chicken meat, peas, nuts, and milk.

2. Iron

After childbirth majority of mothers suffer from anemia or iron deficiency due to the loss of blood experienced during delivery; therefore, it is essential to replenish iron levels through the diet after delivery.

Iron deficiency can cause dizziness, blurred vision, fainting, and weakness meaning the mother is unfit to take care of their child. Therefore, increasing iron intake in the diet after birth is essential.

Good sources of Iron include Beef liver, Red meat, dry fruits, kiwi fruit, grapes, and green leafy vegetables.

3. Calcium

Sufficient calcium intake levels help in speedy and healthy recovery after birth. Calcium helps in boosting bone and teeth health, preventing osteoporosis, regulating blood coagulation, and relaxing muscles.

Good sources of Calcium include Spinach, yogurt, milk, cheese, and tofu.

4. Vitamins

A good intake of vitamins is essential for quick recovery from the incision. Vitamins promote the production of collagen in the body, and the growth of new skin, tendons, and new scar tissues.  

Good sources of Vitamins include Melons, tomatoes, pawpaw, strawberries, grapefruits, oranges, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.

5. Fiber

Fiber is an excellent nutrient to prevent constipation. Therefore, it is very important to increase fiber intake in the diet to avoid constipation which can add pressure to the wound.

Good sources of fiber include wholegrain brown bread, brown rice, bananas, apples, strawberries, legumes, oranges, sweet potatoes, and dry fruits

Fluids and Water

After the surgery, an increase in fluid and water intake is recommended to prevent dehydration and constipation and meet the breastmilk demand of the newborn.

Some good fluids include soup, non-citrus fruit juices, water, and chocolate drinks.

Reach us at info@practicalnutritionconsultants.org for more information and consultation. Let’s walk the journey of motherhood with you.

Food Allergies & Intolerances In Children

Allergies occur when the immune system wrongly identifies a harmless substance like food as a threat and triggers the production of large amounts of antibodies in the blood, which can contribute to FTT (Failure to thrive) conditions like eczema, hay fever, asthma, and diarrhea.

The most notorious foods that cause allergies include in children :

  • Eggs
  • Wheat-based foods
  • Fish, especially the shell-fish
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Cow’s milk and Dairy products
  • Berry and citrus fruits

To delay the onset of any allergic reaction, exclusively breastfeeding for at least six months is advisable. However, if this is not possible, it is important to discuss it with your doctor.
Avoid these high-risk foods when introducing solid foods or weaning until your baby is six months old.
Introduce new foods one at a time; this makes it easy to identify the specific food that caused the allergy in case of any reaction.

If there’s a family history of an allergy to a certain food, avoid it until the baby is seven years old.
Before withdrawing any of these foods from your baby, consult your doctor.
It’s important to note that though many children outgrow their allergies, some can last a lifetime.

Food Intolerance

Another often-used name for food tolerance is ‘false food allergy. It is a condition whereby the body cannot digest particular foods properly. Unlike an allergy, the situation is normally short-lived and does not involve the immune system. It is important to consult a pediatrician or a doctor before withdrawing any food you suspect your child is allergic to since the reaction could be just temporal.

Diagnosing A Food Allergy

Some of the symptoms that indicate an allergy include:

* Vomiting
* Itching and swelling in the mouth, throat, and skin
* Persistent diarrhea
* Abdominal pain
* Eczema
* Skin rashes
*Wheezing

These symptoms resemble many other common ailments, and distinguishing them requires keen observation. Some children develop the symptoms immediately after eating the particular food; others may take hours or even a day to react. Mostly children below eighteen months are the ones likely to develop food allergies.

In addition to electrode testing and kinesiology, another way to accurately diagnose food allergies is to eliminate the allergen for at least a period of six weeks and then reintroduce them until the symptoms reappear. This is advisable to be done with the help of a nutritionist or dietitian.

Lactose Intolerance

This is a condition caused by the body’s inability to digest lactose. Lactose is the sugar present in milk. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include:
* Diarrhea
* Cramping
* flatulence
* Abdominal Distension

Feel free to reach us at info@practicalnutritionconsultants.org for consultation and connect with practical nutrition mums where we learn, encourage, and have fun while at it!

10 Key Foods To Avoid Feeding Your Baby

After introducing solid foods to your baby, the curiosity of introducing a variety of new textures and flavors may lead you to give foods that may be harmful to the baby. Here’s a list of foods to avoid feeding your baby.

1. Cow’s Milk

Unlike breast milk which has all the nutrients that a baby needs for proper growth and development, cow’s milk lacks the nutrients. In addition, it contains too many minerals and proteins that can strain the baby’s kidney and risk the baby suffering from intestinal bleeding. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid giving cow’s milk to your baby before one year.

2. Honey

Honey contains a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum which produces a toxin called botulinum, which, once ingested, can result in infant botulism. Muscle weakness, trouble breathing, weak cries, constipation, and inability to swallow are the main signs of the illness. It does not affect adults or older children because they have a mature digestive system that can eject the bacteria before it can cause harm. Therefore, avoiding giving honey during your baby’s first year is advisable, as this will provide the time needed for their intestines to mature

3. Nuts and seeds

Whole nuts are not recommended before five years to avoid choking. However, you can give peanut butter, and other nut spreads once the baby reaches six months to prevent any allergic reaction. If there is a history of allergic nuts responses in the family, they can be avoided and introduced later after one year.

4. Raw or not well-done eggs

You should avoid feeding raw eggs to prevent salmonella infection. After six months, the baby can be given eggs, but they should be well cooked (Yolk & white are solid).

5. Berry and Citrus Fruits

 I recommend waiting until the baby is past six months before introducing these citrus fruits like orange and lemon juice to avoid any allergic reaction.

6. Fish and shellfish

Avoid feeding fish and shellfish to your baby before six months because they are notorious for causing allergies and food poisoning

7. Salt

Children below one year should not have salt put in their food. Too much salt can cause dehydration due to the straining of their growing kidneys. Avoid smoked and processed foods like smokies and sausages due to their high salt content. Babies up to six months should have less than 1 g of salt a day, and from seven months should have a maximum of 1g of salt in a day.

8. Sugar

Sugar is addictive, leads to tooth decay, and can lead to fussy eating once introduced early in life. Therefore, I would recommend that unless the food is tart, don’t add sugar.

9. Unpasteurized cheese

 Due to the high risk of Listeria Infection, I wouldn’t recommend unpasteurized cheese in baby food.

10. Wheat-based foods

All wheat, barley, and rye products contain Gluten, a protein notorious for causing allergies. Hence it’s good to avoid it for at least eight months, and even then, observe closely to note any allergic reaction and withdraw the food from the menu.

Wheat image: Unsplash

Reach out to us at info@practicalnutritionconsultants.org for more information on how to join our practical nutrition mums group. Where we have interactive, fun nutrition sessions as we purpose to raise a healthy generation.

Best Baby’s First Foods

baby food

The best first foods for your baby should be easy to digest and unlikely to provoke any allergic reaction.  I recommend root vegetables because they tend to be gentle on the tummy, sweet, and easy to digest.

In Kenya, some of those vegetables include:

  • Irish potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Spinach

Pureed, they have a smooth, natural sweet taste, making them favorable for babies. Baby rice is also easy to digest and not known for any allergic reaction. Therefore, it is highly recommended as one of the best first foods for your baby. It can be pureed and mixed with other vegetables and fruits.

Homemade fruit puree

As for the fruits, the best first fruits that I would recommend are:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Pawpaw
  • Bananas

These fruits don’t require cooking and can be pureed or mashed on their own or with breastmilk or formula to make them runny and easily palatable for the baby. It is important to choose fresh and well-ripe fruits to give the baby.

Reach out to us at info@practicalnutritionconsultants.org for more information on how to join our practical nutrition mums group. Where we have interactive, fun nutrition sessions as we purpose to raise a healthy generation.

Understanding Baby’s Nutritional Needs

Vegetable and fruit baby puree (apple, broccoli, carrot, plum) in a white bowl with ingredients. Baby food concept.

Babies’ nutritional needs differ from that of adults, whose diet is recommended to have low fat and high fiber. Young children need more fat, concentrated calories, and nutrients to fuel their rapid growth.

Babies are recommended to eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables as they require lots of vitamins and minerals.

image: Shutterstock


Iron is fundamental in the baby’s mental and physical growth and development. A baby is born with a store of iron that only lasts for six months and depletes. After this, the baby needs iron in the diet. It is important to note that iron from plant sources is more easily absorbed than from animal sources. Vitamin C is also crucial in catalyzing the absorption of iron. Therefore, it is advisable to include a good source of vitamin C in the baby’s diet as this will optimize iron absorption, which is the nutrient the baby needs most.

Too much fiber tends to be bulky and can fill a baby’s tummy. As a result, the child tends to refuse to eat food rich in nutrients needed for proper growth and development. In addition, excess fiber can flush out valuable minerals and cause other problems, such as diarrhea. Therefore, it is advisable to give fibrous food in moderation.

It is important to note that even after introducing solid foods to your baby, it is crucial to continue breastfeeding. The milk contains antibodies to help the baby fight infection or illness. It also contributes to delaying the onset and reducing the severity of allergies in children.

Reach out to us at info@practicalnutritionconsultants.org for more information on how to join our practical nutrition mums group. Where we have interactive, fun nutrition sessions as we purpose to raise a healthy generation.

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