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A Child Nutritionist Answers Your Baby And Toddler Food Questions

Missed our Wednesday Lunch Club with nutritionist Dr Frankie Philips? Don’t worry, you can read all of the expert advice she shared here

Every week at Mother&Baby we bring you the Wednesday Lunch Club – a chance to get brilliant advice for your parenting questions from a top expert. This week, child nutritionist Dr Frankie Philips was on standby to answer questions.

A registered dietician and public health nutritionist, Frankie has over 15 years experience in baby and toddler feeding. She’s a trained La Leche breastfeeding peer counsellor and has had plenty of hands-on experience with her own brood of four girls – seven-year-old twins, a four year old and a 22 month old. Frankie’s also a nutrition advisor to Organix and has helped write the brand’s free downloadable book, The Organix Little Book of Weaning.

If you missed the chat, here’s what happened…

My little boy is four months old, can you give me some advice on how to start to wean at six months?

Frankie: Around six months is the recommended age. There’s a great guide to the first few days in the back pages of the Organix ‘Little Book of Weaning’, which I helped to write. The trick is just tiny tastes in those first days – spoon-feeding is popular (using puree of apple, carrot, pear or baby rice mixed with his usual milk).

My baby is 23 weeks on Saturday. We’ve been giving him baby rice and bits of Ella’s Kitchen pouches for a few weeks now. He’s currently full of cold, so should we still carry on with food as well or just keep him on bottles? Since he’s been having food he’s not taking as much milk for some reason.

Frankie: Babies do tend to go off their food when they’re not feeling that well, so do keep offering him his usual milk and then a few mouthfuls of food if he’s still hungry, but don’t worry if he’s not eating much of it.


My son is seven months old and I was wondering if I should be giving him any supplements? He is formula fed (I’ve just stopped breast feeding him this week) and he is eating a balanced diet of three meals a day.

Frankie: Healthy Start supplements contain vitamins A, C and D and these are vitamin drops for babies from six months who are having less than 500ml of infant formula per day. If your son is having formula then it will contain enough vitamins for him. The drops are designed to be used up to four years of age, so you might want to introduce them when the amount of formula milk he has is less than 500ml.

My three year old used to eat anything and now she’s become very fussy. How can I get her to eat her fruit and veg again without having to put them in a sauce or puree so she can’t see them?


Frankie: It’s good that you’ve already introduced her to lots of food – that will stand her in good stead. In the meantime, don’t feel that you have to offer only purees – she’ll wise up at some point. So I’d suggest keeping some ‘real’ fruit and veg on her place and add in some purees as a sauce or dip so she’s still eating them. Another tip I’ve found helpful is giving cucumber and pepper and carrot sticks with a dip of soft cheese or hummus as a starter, or try apple slices or other fruit with natural unsweetened yoghurt.

I have a 17 month old who eats really well and I think is having enough to eat during the day, but he has started waking at 4/5am for his morning milk. He goes back to sleep after until 7am. I’m not sure if this is because he’s hungry or it’s just a habit.

Frankie: I suspect he’s just disturbing himself and then needing something as a prop to go back to sleep. Try offering a sippy cup with some water and see how he gets on.

I’m having behaviour problems with my three to four year old daughter and she always seems to be hungry, are they connected?

Frankie: I’d suggest that if your daughter is hungry try to ensure there are always  range of nutritious snacks, as hunger can definitely affect mood. Try mini sandwiches, toast or (unsalted) mini crackers or rice cakes with cheese.

I struggle with what to put into my eight month old’s sandwiches – there’s only so many times you can use cheese spread. Do you have any ideas?

Frankie: At your daughter’s age you can use lots of fillings – have you tried hummus, chicken breast or soft cheese instead of cheese spread? Sandwiches are great finger foods so it’s good to introduce them to help with nutrition and development. You can also mix it up a bit – so if soft cheese is a favourite, finely chop some cucumber or add in a little canned tuna or salmon to add more interest.

I have four children under the age of seven and it’s a struggle to find food that they are all happy to eat. Do you have any suggestions for meals? They all eat meat but my five year old won’t eat fish and can be fussy with veg too.

Frankie: Don’t get into the trap of making separate meals for everyone, it will make things worse. Give them each a day when they can choose a meal (from a vetted selection). If someone doesn’t like the meal that’s chosen, make sure it’s served alongside something you know they will eat, and encourage them to have a small try of the other foods.

You can also try getting them involved in stages of cooking, and then helping you to ‘try’ it before it goes onto the plates for the others. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. For a large family meal like chilli con carne or Bolognese you could get them to each choose a different thing to add to the dish, for example sweetcorn, grated cheese or breadcrumbs. It doesn’t matter what it is but just giving them a choice for part of the meal is great.

I’m on week two of weaning, when should I start reducing milk feeds and should I do this by dropping bottles or number of ounces in each feed? My son is five and a half months and still on 7 ounces every three hours. He has two purees a day, veg at 11:30am and fruit at 4:30pm.


Frankie: It’s still early days, so don’t feel in a huge hurry to drop the bottles yet. When you’re ready you can start to introduce breakfast, and maybe add some of his milk to an unsweetened cereal. He can also start using a free flowing sippy cup at six months, so you can try giving him a few sips of water with his meals too – don’t put too much in the cup though.

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