As every parent knows, good nutrition is absolutely critical to the physical and cognitive development of children. Healthy feeding for babies and toddlers is more than the food that you caringly provide and a few basic hygiene tips can help ensure your child gets the most from the healthy nutrition you provide.
Your baby’s immune system is only just developing and they are very susceptible to bugs that older children have built a natural resistance to.
To keep feeding times healthy, we have a few tips to help you, and although we can’t promise to make feeding times any easier with your little one, we can make them healthier!
- Wash their hands, it’s a great habit to get them into and we should all wash our hands before we eat to help avoid tummy bugs and illness.
- If your child is bottle feeding then it’s really important to ensure that you sterilise their bottles and the accepted wisdom is that you need to do this until they are about 12 months old. The bottles must be clean and grease-free then you can sterilise using sterilising fluid or use a microwave steamer if you have one. If using formula milk it is very important that the water you are using to make the bottle is totally safe, free from contaminants and it must be thoroughly pre-boiled to rid the water of any bacteria.
- Once your child has graduated to solid foods then it’s really important to ensure that the food that you provide has been thoroughly cooked and prepared in an hygienic environment.
Four tips to improve food hygiene are:
1. Ensure that you wash your hands before preparing any food so you don’t inadvertently contaminate any foods with any bacteria that you may have on your hands.
2. Ensure your surfaces that you are preparing food on are hygienically clean.
3. Use a clean cloth or sponge; cloths can hide harmful bacteria so daily, either soak in disinfectant or wash at over 60°C to kill bacteria. If your cloth or sponge isn’t hygienically clean, you could be transferring thousands of bacteria to your preparation surfaces!
4. The high chair is a key hygiene hotspot when children are young. As any parent of a young child would know, during feeding food often goes everywhere, and so keeping the high chair hygienically clean is important in ensuring a healthy feed of your little one. Be sure to thoroughly clean it after every use removing any traces of food.