Super Foods for Toddlers

Mealtimes can be a little challenging when your toddler starts to realise he can refuse to eat certain foods! And we’ve all been there- weaning starts well, baby eats a variety of foods, and then BAM! All of a sudden the lips clamp tight and the bowl ends up on the floor! But don’t panic because this is totally normal. Toddlers are supposed to try to exert their power now and then, and mealtimes are the ultimate time to do this. So how do you make sure that the foods your toddler does eat are healthy and nutritious? It’s worth knowing which foods to pursue too, so here is our top ten list of super foods for toddlers. You might want to get a little creative when it comes to serving these!

Eggs

There are so many ways to use eggs, and the great news is that they are a wonderful source of protein and vitamin D. A plate of scrambled eggs is not only delicious but will keep your toddler full for longer, so they’re definitely top of our super foods list! Eggs are so versatile too- you can make omelettes, muffins, boiled eggs and soldiers… be as creative as you can!

Oats

Another super food for toddlers. Oats are also versatile because they can be served as porridge for breakfast, or you can bake them into tasty fruity snack bars instead. What makes oats so super? They provide a slow stream of energy so that your toddler can keep going for longer. And they’re relatively cheap too, so they won’t break the bank.

Fruit

Luckily, most toddlers enjoy the sweet taste of most fruit so make the most of it! Summer months are great for letting them snack on handfuls of berries, and apple wedges make a great after dinner treat too. Remember if you serve grapes they must be cut into pieces to avoid the risk of choking.

Blueberries

Blueberries are most definitely superfoods and they taste delicious too! Stir them into porridge in the morning, pop them into a fruity omelette or simply present them as a snack. I’ve yet to meet a toddler who doesn’t love them!

Salmon

It might be a little more tricky getting your toddler to eat salmon, but its worth a try because its packed with heart healthy omega 3s and these are known to boost brain development. Serve it with foods that you know your toddler likes, or make your own fish fingers.

Greek yogurt

Another great source of protein, yet a food that toddlers don’t often get to try. Add some fresh fruit, or stir in some cocoa powder with maple syrup for something a little more special. Greek yogurt is lower in sugar than most yogurts too.

Avocado

A great source of fibre, avocado is filled with heart healthy monounsaturated fats- so a great addition to your toddler’s diet. Mash them and spread them on toast, use in place of mayonnaise or even puree down for an indulgent chocolate pudding.

Sweet Potatoes

So much more tasty than white potatoes, and filled with fibre, potassium and vitamin A! Chop into fries, drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven. Delicious!

Cinnamon

Who doesn’t love baked apples sprinkled with cinnamon! This is a superfood with a difference because it has strong antiviral properties that mean it can help to defend against coughs and colds. And it tastes delicious sprinkled over porridge or onto apple slices.

Grapes

Grapes are like sweeties for toddlers! Red grapes especially are great to serve because they’re filled with antioxidants and polyphonyois. Again, make sure they’re cut up into small pieces for toddlers and young children.

Have a naturally beautiful pregnancy

When you see those two blue lines on the pregnancy test, your life changes immediately. Your body is no longer just for you, it is about to embark upon an amazing adventure. And during that adventure you are the vessel, perfectly designed to sail the seas towards motherhood. It’s so important to look after yourself during this time, and there are many ways that you can do that- and you don’t need to compromise on life’s luxuries either. After all, we all need some pampering now and then. And when your body isn’t your own, the desire to make yourself feel better with a touch of makeup or a spritz of perfume is more than tempting. But how to avoid unnecessary chemicals or additives? Here are some tips for a naturally beautiful pregnancy.

Make sure your hair care treatments are kind

Lots of hair products on the market contain chemicals and additives that are no good for you, especially during pregnancy. Why not make your own hair mask with coconut oil and honey? Bicarbonate of soda is great for a deep cleanse and believe it or not apple cider vinegar is fantastic for conditioning dry hair too. There is no need to spend a fortune on natural hair care, and you might find that the surge in hormones during pregnancy will send your hair into a state of glorious shine anyway.

Try this homemade hair mask:

Take
● 1 avocado
● 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
● 5 drops geranium essential oil (to promote emotional balance, mood elevation, and skin health)

Simply place all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth. Apply to the hair and leave for 30 mins before rinsing with warm water. Your hair will thank you for it!

Make sure you use sunscreen… and make sure it is 100% natural

Don’t forget your sunscreen this summer! Hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy means that sunscreen is so so important, but you don’t want to smother your skin with chemicals. During pregnancy your skin is more sensitive and makes you more susceptible to hyperpigmentation so what you use to protect your skin couldn’t be more essential. Make sure your sunscreen is 100% natural and rated SPF 30 or higher.

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!
Your pregnancy is going to stretch your skin, and skin that is not sufficiently hydrated is going to suffer. Keep stretch marks at bay by moisturising at least twice a day- but make sure the cream you use is kind to the skin. Coconut oil is perfect for hydrating dry skin, but you could go for any organic butter or plant based oil.

Drink lots of water

This is probably the most important tip of all! Your mind and body (and baby) will thank you for drinking lots of water and not only will this help keep your energy levels up, but it will keep your skin hydrated too.

Don’t dye your hair

If you do colour your hair, try to use natural dyes wherever you can, but during pregnancy you might want to skip it altogether. Conventional hair dyes tend to contain a lot of chemicals, so it’s probably best to embrace your natural colour for a while!

Take lots of time to relax

When you’re pregnant, your body is busy. Your mind is busy. YOU are busy. It’s important to take some time for yourself and make relaxation a priority every day. Whether it is by meditation, sleeping, yoga or swimming- what you do to relax is up to you. The most important thing to remember is that you have earned it! Take some time out of your day to focus on your breathing, to settle your spirit and to remind yourself of the huge journey you are taking on. The road to motherhood can be long and windy, but you can take steps to make it as smooth as possible.

Tips for postpartum healing

Being pregnant and giving birth is one of the biggest physical and emotional challenges you will ever face. Your body will go through so much to bring new life into the world, after which you will immediately be required to care for a brand new person 24/7. This is going to be hard work! There’s no disputing that this is the most rewarding challenge you will face, but there’s no harm in being prepared either. Here are some tips for postpartum healing that will help you recover following the birth of your baby.

Accept your limitations

Mother Nature rarely gives us more than we’re able to manage, but that doesn’t mean you need to prove your ability to cope with it all by going above and beyond what is sensible. Pregnancy and birth are huge challenges for the body to face, and you aren’t going to just walk away from it all without a scratch. Chances are you will be at the very least tired after your baby is born, so it’s a good idea to take this as a signal to slow down. Parenting a newborn is an intense period of time that involves round the clock care for a tiny person that is unable to fend for themselves. You’re going to be required to do this straight after giving birth! So you’re also going to need to accept that you can’t do it all. Take this time to focus on your baby and your baby alone. Leave the chores to your partner, friends or family and take everything one step at a time.

Give yourself time

All women are different, and some of us may not always present a true picture when we’re out and about. Just because your friend from baby group seems to have recovered a lot quicker than you, it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. Experts estimate that it can take up to 6 weeks to recover from giving birth, but it’s important to remember that this is just an estimate. If you need longer, be kind to yourself and take a little longer. Life is not a race, and if you slow the pace a little you and your baby will benefit.

Tips for healing your mind

Having a baby is such an emotional time! All of a sudden, you go from being pregnant to being in charge of a whole new person, and that can be overwhelming. You barely have time to process this either, because as soon as they’re born your baby needs you. And what of you and your needs? You’re so busy making sure your baby is warm, clean and fed- and the other children, if you have them- that often you can all too easily forget about yourself too. Make sure that you put your own requirements at the top of your list of priorities too. Try these tips:

● Put together an ‘essentials’ basket of all the things you need during the day, so that you’re not spending time running around when you could be relaxing. Nappies, cotton wool, snacks, bottles of water, a book- all great things to keep handy so that you can rest a little during feeds.
● Accept for help when it’s offered, or ask for it if it’s not. Sometimes we give the impression that we don’t need help, especially if this is not our first baby. But we all need to take time out now and then so if someone offers to give you a hand, say yes! Use the opportunity to catch up on sleep, or go for a walk- whatever it takes to clear your head and have five minutes to yourself.
● Talk, talk, talk. Emotions are rife after you’ve given birth and sometimes the smallest things can be the most upsetting. Talk to your partner, friends or family and let them know how you’re feeling. Also let them know what they can do to help you.
● Shop online for a few weeks or so, to make sure that you always have healthy foods available, and to save yourself from the chore of grocery shopping with a newborn baby. You’ll thank us for this!

Tips for healing your body

Being pregnant is a little like running a marathon, and giving birth is like the sprint at the end. Both events leave you exhausted and exhilarated- but unlike running, having a baby can cause a fair amount of minor aches, pains and injuries too. There are natural ways to soothe your body though, and here are some of our favourite:

● Take a herbal bath. This is best done as soon as possible after birth, to help ease discomfort and soothe swollen/ sore tissues. We recommend using sea salt, lavender, witch hazel, calendula and chamomile as these are wonderful ingredients widely used for soothing and healing.
● Use a comfrey ice pack- these are wonderful for easing soreness after birth and for reducing swelling too. Comfrey gel is also great for healing after birth.
● Take arnica tablets to help with healing. These can also help with reducing discomfort from after pains.
● Massage- some women swear by postpartum massage to help ease discomfort and soothe tired muscles. Try mustard oil for a warming effect, or coconut oil for a cooling, hydrating massage. Other oils to use include sweet almond (for relief from muscle pain, inflammation, and itching), olive oil (to relieve stiffness) or lavender to restore calmness if needed.
● Hydrate yourself. Giving birth is draining! Drink plenty of water, coconut water and herbal tea to restore the balance in your body.
● Chamomile for rest. It can be hard to sleep post birth- there are so many emotions whirling around your head, never mind the baby that wakes for feeds on a regular basis! Some women find it hard to switch off and rest, and this can have a negative effect on recovery. On top of this, some hormones post birth can actually cause insomnia so it’s a good idea to try drinking chamomile tea to counter-balance this.
● Take care of your breasts. If you’re breastfeeding, the early days can be painful and your nipples are going to take the brunt of it. Try making up a soothing cream to apply after feeds- use coconut oil, shea butter and coconut butter (in equal parts) to moisturise and soothe.
● Combat the baby blues with bergamot or geranium essential oils. Both are known to help prevent postpartum depression; simply add 2-3 drops to a small water spray bottle and spritz into the air.

Tips for tired toddlers

When your toddler is tired, there’s a very good chance you will know about it before she does! Sometimes fatigue and exhaustion are more evident to us than it is to them, or perhaps they just don’t want to admit it. Whatever the reason for conflict, many toddlers will want to assert a little control over their lives where they can, and resisting sleep can be one such way to do this. So if you have a tired toddler at home, and naps are being refused for whatever reason, here are some tips to help you out!

Understanding the tiredness

Half the battle can be understanding why your toddler is tired, and how you can help her to fall asleep. It might also help to understand what the body needs to be able to fall asleep too. The hormones melatonin and cortisol are key for getting good sleep, and the levels of these change throughout the day. So your toddler will find it easier to fall asleep at some times of the day rather than others.

Cortisol keeps us awake, and its levels are highest around 8 am. So plan your activities for this time of the day, when your toddler is likely to be most responsive and alert. Cortisol levels drop throughout the day, and are raised when you feel stressed or upset.

Melatonin helps us to sleep, and levels are increased when there is an absence of light. So if your room is dim and quiet, you are more likely to be able to fall asleep.

When your toddler is over tired

The over tired toddler is a difficult one. Perhaps you missed the nap window, or perhaps she didn’t sleep well last night? Or maybe it’s just been a long day, and bedtime didn’t come around soon enough for one reason or another. An over tired toddler will find it hard to switch off because her Cortisol levels have started to raise- so it’s going to be up to you to convince her that sleep is a really good idea!

You can spot an overtired toddler easily:

● She becomes argumentative, and fond of the word NO!
● She starts to yawn a lot
● She becomes fidgety and ‘twitchy’
● She displays ‘hyperactive’ behaviour
● She falls out with friends
● Clumsiness
● Fighting sleep

So once you know your toddler is overtired, what do you do? It can be a turbulent situation at this point, but resist the urge to argue with your toddler. Remember that you are the adult and your little one isn’t always 100% in control of her actions. Keep calm and try these tips:

● Remove your toddler from all stimulation. No TV, no computer games, and go inside if you’re out.
● Have some quiet activities ready and spend some time together doing them for a while. Read a book, for example, and give her body a chance to relax.
● Encourage sleep, by perhaps lying down with her for a moment. Remember that as she is over tired she may take longer to fall asleep than usual.
● Make sure the room is dim so that Melatonin levels can begin to rise, and Cortisol levels can drop.

An over tired toddler can be hard work, but there’s no reason why you can’t beat it! And after a nap your toddler will be ready for the day once more… hopefully!

General tips for better toddler sleep

Making sure that your toddler doesn’t become overtired is often the first step towards securing better sleep overall. But it can be easier said than done! Here are some general tips for better toddler sleep all round:

● Keep a good routine and make naps a priority
● Have plenty of quiet times in between busy activities
● Encourage your toddler to spend time relaxing if she is growing out of naps
● Eat and drink well- avoid sugary snacks
● Get plenty of fresh air and exercise
● Make bedtime a priority too- keep to a flexible but consistent routine and encourage all care-givers to do the same.
● Try toddler massage to help your little one to relax at sleep time

Over time, your toddler will learn how to manage her own behaviors around sleep and may go on to lie in a little at the weekends. Or is that wishful thinking?