Parenthood starts way before you hear the patter of tiny feet, with what you put into your body before as well as during and after pregnancy being of paramount importance to the health of both mother and child, and correct nutrition is critical.
“This is absolutely crucial as a mum’s diet will help with the development of the baby in utero. There is growing evidence that the food a mother eats when a baby is in the womb has a big impact of life-long health and may be a factor in obesity later in life,” says nutritional therapist Jane McClenaghan.
“Pregnancy is a time where there are enormous demands put upon the mum-to-be. Nutritional requirements alter drastically and mum will need enough nutrients for her and the baby. One interesting thing to note is that essential nutrients for pregnancy are almost identical to those required for good children’s health,” explains Kristina Everest, trade marketing manager at Higher Nature.
To provide all-in-one solutions, a number of specific combinations for pregnancy have been developed including Higher Nature’s Mum-2-Be formulation, the Vitabiotics Pregnacare range, Viridian’s Pregnancy Complex and Pregnazon from HealthAid.
Even if they are in tip-top health, there are still a variety of problems faced by many women during and after pregnancy and when breastfeeding.
Founded by two midwives, Theresa Mounsey and Jane Mason, the Natural Birthing Company recently launched a range of aromatherapy-based products to help with these challenges. “We spotted a gap in the market and developed a range of quality targeted products that serve to educate and assist with the most common of problems faced by pregnant women and new mums. We have health promotion at the forefront of our brand and want to shout it from the roof tops so women are able to feel empowered through our products,” explains Mason.
“Astonishingly, the UK has some of the worst rates of breastfeeding in the developed world. Only a third of UK babies are breastfed at the age of six months and just 1% are exclusively breastfed at this age. The most common breastfeeding difficulties new mums face is low milk supply, engorgement and sore nipples,” she adds.
The company stresses the importance of perineal massage from 34 weeks, and its Down Below perineal massage oil is designed to help skin to stretch and increases the elasticity of the perineal muscles, thus reducing the chances of tearing during labour and scaring post-birth. “Currently, 85% of women experience some form of perineal trauma during birth, so fast healing of our delicate areas post-birth is vital,” says Mason.
Kadria Skincare, which rebranded and relaunched earlier this year, was founded by aromatherapist and pregnancy massage therapist Rebecca Kadria in 2011. While doing an aromatherapy diploma she noticed that there was a lot of contradictory information regarding essential oil use in pregnancy. “I discovered that contrary to much advice given, there are many essential oil that can be used safely on the skin during pregnancy.
“Kadria is about the power of aromatherapy and its use in the natural process of pregnancy, child birth and beyond, it is also about empowering women to have control over one of the most precious experiences they will ever have.”
And, when it comes to skin, it isn’t always as glowing as we are led to believe. “Many women suffer from acne and overly dry skin on their faces – they get a myriad of skin complaints and also worry about stretch marks,” says Kadria.
The Kadria Skincare range includes Balancing Face oil; Stretch Mark oil; and Supporting Bath and Massage oil, designed for the final weeks of pregnancy, labour and as a treatment after birth. Made with olive, apricot oil, lavender, clary sage and frankincense, Kadria says that combined the oils are designed to help prepare women emotionally and psychologically for the birthing process.”
With atopic eczema affecting one in five children under five, parents increasingly want products that are natural and guaranteed to be completely safe for babies’ skin.
Natalie Balmond, founder of Purepotions, which has an offer incorporating a natural baby range, believes that the natural skincare market is on the up. “It’s certainly growing. Driven, I believe, by an increasing awareness that a lot of conventional creams are known to contain a whole host of ingredients that may be toxic and even carcinogenic. The toxic toiletries debate is no longer reserved for the green-conscious and alternative-minded.”
Balmond launched Purepotions after failing to find an effective solution to her daughter’s severe dry skin and eczema. “In desperation I began to research traditional ways of treating the skin and avoiding petrochemical bases which I felt were aggravating her skin further. After months of experimentation I finally formulated a beeswax-based salve using hemp and herbal tinctures. The results were astounding.”
Childs Farm founder Joanna Jensen couldn’t find what she was looking for either, so decided it was time that kids had products that were as great looking and effective as adult’s skincare ranges, which smelt great and used child-friendly organic essential oils.
“We all spend time ensuring that the food that we feed our kids is free-range, organic, free-from and the best quality we can afford, and we should treat anything we put on their skin with the same thoroughness. To Jensen, natural is more important than organic when it comes to ingredients, but even so around 96% of the ingredients used are on the Soil Association approved list.
“Natural skin care as a market has been growing steadily over the last seven years and is predicted to grow more according to research,” says Jensen. “People have a far better level of knowledge about ingredients and what goes into products through TV chefs educating them about food, and this is finally moving into health and beauty products.”
All Childs Farm products are clinically trialled so the company can make the claims that they are suitable for new-borns and for skin prone to eczema, paediatrician-approved, dermatologically tested, and approved, skin safe and mild for skin. “No other baby or children’s product can make all of these claims and it is testament to the whole team’s commitment to getting our brand ‘right’ that we are able to stand out as we do,” Jensen adds.
According to the Soil Association, organic baby food sales now account for more than 50% (54.8%) of all baby food sales through supermarkets, and sales remained constant in 2013, despite sales of non-organic baby food falling by 7.9%.
‘Organic’ and ‘baby food’ go hand in hand these days, and it is no longer thought of as ‘alternative’ to choose organic for your child from their early months. “To be a product for babies and children I think organic is a given – you have to be organic,” says Shauna McCarney, MD of Heavenly Tasty Organics. “It’s not seen as just a fad. Parents are more educated about the benefits and it’s classed as a healthier product. In the baby food category especially, organic is seen as the norm now. People just expect that for their babies.”
Explaining the reason behind Heavenly Tasty Organics, McCarney says: “I was a full-time mum with two children who both had food allergies. I was passionate about organic products and made everything myself at home. But as life takes over you don’t always have time to make everything yourself. I struggled to find products in the shops that were similar to what I was making at home – fresh, organic, tasty, real food for babies. I set about researching the baby food market and discovered that there was nothing like what I was looking for – which also catered for their food allergies.”
The company launched its new range at the beginning of June, when it moved from frozen into chilled products. “We are exclusively dairy-free and gluten-free across the range and that’s something we’re going to continue with. Basically every other parent we speak to has a little one with a dairy intolerance. We’re here to cater for those parents.” Designed in conjunction with nutritionist Jane McClenaghan, the range is tailored for the nutritional needs of babies for each specific age group, through stages one to three.
Although the offer is undoubtedly convenient, this is not the main focus of the company. “We see ourselves really as being as close as possible to home-cooked meals. We’re all about the freshness, we’re all about the flavours and the colours in our food – we’re all natural. For us being packaged into a pouch or something similar and being highly processed doesn’t really sit with our values or our beliefs.”
In June - in the same week the company launched its No Junk Challenge – Anna Rosier, MD of Organix, revealed that a Mumspanel survey found fewer than one in ten mothers trust the food and drink industry to make products that are good for their children. This being the case, there is surely a huge opportunity for natural and organic brands to provide children’s food that parents can trust.
Paediatric nutritionist Belinda Blake from Blake Nutrition believes that although educating parents about foods and allergens is a key part of ensuring children are being fed a nutritionally sound diet, having the right support is equally important. “It’s becoming harder and harder to control what kids are eating when the supermarkets are full of very well designed products that your child is immediately drawn to. It’s important to have the support to apply this at home, and we need this coming through the schools as well. It’s not enough just being aware of what’s good, it needs to be applied.
“A lot of the work that I am doing is teaching children how to put together simple recipes but also teaching them subtly what are the better choices. One of my main concerns is to get the children eating good quality protein and fruits and veggies but also not over-filling on some of the starches and carbs.”
Jane McClenaghan says she is passionate about educating children on the importance of eating well. “Get your children excited about food – cook with them, grow some veg in your back garden or in a window box, introduce lots of different tastes and textures from a young age and your child will have the knowledge and ability to feed themselves well for life.”
Although there is a mass of brands offering organic baby food and snacks when it comes to providing convenient organic foods for toddler, there is very little out there. Kids seem to be abandoned at this stage.
“I honestly don’t know why this is,” says McCarney. “There are a few companies that do toddler meals but they’re not organic.” So to take advantage of this gaping hole in the market, Heavenly Tasty Organic is launching a range of organic toddler meals at the end of the summer which McCarney believes will probably be the first chilled organic range for toddlers on the market.
One existing organic range for ‘big little people’ is from Ella’s Kitchen which offers My Little Big Meals including Beefy Beef Stew; Stacked + Packed Veggie Moussaka; Chunky Pasta Bolognese Bake; and Full of Colour Chicken Paella-ella-ella.
In an ideal world the nutrients required for a child’s healthy growth and development should be taken in through a well-balanced diet, so where do supplements come in?
“Supplements will only enhance a healthy diet – they will not replace what is missing from a diet devoid of fruit, vegetables and home-cooked food,” says nutritional therapist Jane McClenaghan. “Supplements are not a substitute for food, rather an enhancement of an already healthy diet. A healthy diet is the cornerstone to good health and a nutritional supplement will never make up for a diet of processed junk food.”
“Food supplements must not replace a varied and balanced diet,” says Robert Taylor, vice president of Vitabiotics. “Some children may not get all the nutrients they need from their diet alone, this may occur for many reasons, e.g. fussy eaters, restricted diet due to allergies or ill health. There are also arguments that suggest todays’ fresh produce is not as nutrient-rich as it was in previous generations. During their early years children’s nutritional requirements are particularly high, vitamin and mineral supplements can help safeguard those nutritional requirements.”
McClenaghan adds: “Vitamin D has been highlighted as a nutritional deficiency for a lot of children in the UK and Ireland, due to a lack of sunshine. I would also stress that a lot of children don’t eat enough essential fats from oily fish, nuts and seeds. In particular, omega-3 fats are key for brain development in children. And due to farming techniques, a lot of trace minerals are also low in the UK diet – zinc, selenium and magnesium in particular.”
Taylor lists the key nutrients needed for a child’s healthy development as vitamin D for general growth and development, and to ensure the absorption and availability of calcium into the bones, vitamins A, C and E which are potent antioxidants to protect against free radical damage, iron for to improve cognitive function, omega 3 for a health brain development, and complex B vitamins for nerves, energy and general wellbeing.
Without the correct nutrition, he says a whole host of problems can arise, ranging from poor growth and development, poor cognitive function, weak and deformed bones, a poor and overburdened immune system, lack of concentration and hyperactivity.
The Department of Health recommends that all children aged six months to five years should be given a supplement containing vitamins A, C and D. In addition, breast-fed babies only get 10% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin D, so a supplement of this vitamin is essential. These can easily be given in drops such as Ddrops and sprays like DLuxInfant.
Driven by the growing concerns of childhood obesity, diabetes and rickets which are all on the increase, last year Higher Nature launched its Kids range. Formulated for children aged from three years the range includes products for all round health with fun shapes and textures designed to appeal to kids, but also to parents.
“As it is the parents who will be responsible for purchasing the products we have ensured that they are affordable, good quality and above all else for children to take,” explains Kristina Everest. “We worked hard on getting the format and taste right – what good is a children’s product if they refuse to take it?”
The Wellkid range – comprising Wellkid Baby Drops, Baby Liquid, Smart Chewable, Softburst and SoftJelly – was formulated by Vitabiotics to offer a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals to help safeguard nutritional requirements of young children.
“The Wellkid range provides great all-round, carefully balanced formulas for your young ones – whether you’re looking for the ideal vitamin drops for babies that include the recommend level of vitamin D, or kid’s supplements with more than vitamins A, C and D,” says Taylor.
“The range is designed to appeal to parents on a rational level, clearly communicating the contents and benefits of the product, as they make the ultimate purchasing decision. The parent also needs to be sure that it is easy to take and will taste good, so the child will happily take the product,” he adds.
And its not just young children who require a supplementary top-up. “For young adults ensuring a healthy diet is critical but sadly is not always a priority in a hectic teenage lifestyle,” says Taylor. To this end Vitabiotics launched Wellteen Original, a range of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals to help support the daily requirements of young adults aged 13-19.
Higher Nature hasn’t forgotten the older kids either: “We are committed to supporting children at any age and we are going to be launching additional supplements within this range aimed at older children and teenagers,” says Everest.
Gut health is an important factor in children’s digestive and immune health from birth – over 70% of immune cells are located with the gut and their development in infants is profoundly influenced by gut flora which can be negatively affected by environmental factors and antibiotics. This is where probiotics can lend a hand.
Natalie Lamb, technical advisor at Probiotics International, says: “Antibiotics are now well known to significantly disrupt protective intestinal microbiota, reducing bacteria considered to have health-promoting properties … which may have long-term effects on the infants’ health later in life. Interestingly, early-life antibiotics have been associated with the later development of conditions considered gut-related, such as coeliac disease, allergies, obesity and autism.
“Furthermore, maternal antibiotic use during pregnancy has been associated with an increased risk of cow’s milk allergy, asthma, eczema and hay fever in their infants. In some studies probiotics have been shown to positively influence the infant’s gut flora balance, the developing immune system and to offer protection against infectious diarrhoea.”
The Sweetpea Pantry range of mixes are designed to make baking at home easy, delicious and fun, using all natural and superfood ingredients like wholegrain flours, oats, quinoa, chia and flax.
The first chilled organic baby food brand, Heavenly Tasty Organics’ offer includes Minced Beef & Potato, Tomato & Pasta, Lentil & Vegetable Soup and Spaghetti Bolognese as well as fruit purees. Look out for the company’s forthcoming toddler meals.
NANNYcare Goat Milk Infant Formula was recently accepted in the UK as an infant formula. Aimed at babies with a lactose intolerance or allergy, its softer curds and amino acids are more efficiently absorbed in to the digestive system.
Weleda has launched its Baby Derma range, based on organic White Mallow and developed for babies with hyper-sensitive and dry skin prone to irritation and eczema. The Face Cream, Body Lotion and Nappy Change Cream are fragrance-free and made from dermatologically proven active ingredients.
Dr Bronner’s Magic Soaps offers a range of products for babies, children and mothers alike including Unscented Baby-Mild Castile Bar Soap, Unscented Baby-Mild Castile Liquid Soap and Organic Baby-Mild Body Balm.
Good Bubble’s natural offer consists of Super Bubbly Bubble Bath, Clean as a Bean Shampoo, Smoothy Softy Conditioner and Bish Bash Bosh! Hair & Body Wash – all available in two superfruit variants, Dragon Fruit and Cloudberry, both packed with antioxidants.
To aid children’s sleep patterns and help promote the normal growth and development of bones, Higher Nature’s Relax and Unwind powder includes calcium, magnesium and theanine.
Vitabiotics’ Pregnacare New Mum supplies vitamin B6 and B12 to help fight fatigue as well as biotin which helps condition and repair hair from within in, helping hair stay shiny and strong.
To ensure babies maintain the right amount and type of gut flora, Bio-Kult Infantis is a probiotic which is suitable from birth, containing seven strains of live bacteria, omega-3, vitamin D3 and Preplex.
Natural Parenting Listings
Simply Pure and Simply Sensitive have been dermatologically tested, contain no enzymes, and are perfect for sensitive skin. They contain no animal or genetically modified ingredients, and haven’t been tested on animals. Simply Pure is also allergen-free, and we work closely with the National Eczema Society, so you can be sure that your fresh laundry is gentle on your baby’s skin. And yet, despite these excellent credentials, Simply Pure and Sensitive clean clothes brilliantly, and rinse freely. Try the simply range of products by visiting www.Simplywashing.com
Children 3 years and over will love taking new NaturVits™ sugar-free lemon and orange flavoured one-a-day soft jelly drops. They’re tasty, appealing, have no fishy aftertaste and don’t require water. Research also shows youngsters will keep taking NaturVits™. In a recent study of 428 children, 87.5% were still taking NaturVits™ after 16 weeks, compared with only 22.5% taking vitamin capsules with water. NaturVits™ Omega-3 with Vitamin D3 for Kids provides 295mg Omega-3 fatty acids, with 70mg EPA and 180mg DHA and 100% RDA Vitamin D3 for children. Thanks to Ayanda’s patented ConCordix® technology, NaturVits™ Omega-3 supplements also deliver 44% better uptake than ordinary Omega-3 soft gels.
Jack N’ Jill Kids have an oral care range for Babies, Toddlers and Children. Jack N’ Jill Natural Toothpaste comes in five different Organic Fruit Flavours, it is safe to swallow as it doesn’t contain fluoride (+other nasties) and tastes YUM! . Biodegradable Toothbrushes are made from Non GMO Cornstarch and are designed especially for young hands. Jack N’ Jill Silicone Toothbrushes come in three stages for use from first toothbrush to pre-school. The Biodegradable Rinse/Storage cups and cute cotton Sleepover Bags complete the range. Products are available from Suma, The Health Store, CLF Distribution and Infinity Foods Wholesale
Tel: 01403 740350
E-mail: [email protected]
Active Kids Stay Protected in the Sun, Naturally! Organic Children’s Sun Lotions are highly-effective, offering UVA & UVB protection. Conventional chemical sunscreens with silicones block pores which may cause prickly heat and other skin sensitivities. Children’s skin has greater sensitivity to sunlight and chemicals but going natural means they can still have fun in the sun, whilst their delicate skin is protected. A common misconception is that SPF50 offers twice the protection of SPF25, however an SPF25 offers 96% protection against UVB rays, while SPF50 rises to just 98% protection! Naturally water-resistant sun lotion for young, sensitive and eczema prone skin.
Produced using the finest quality organic tinctures and other natural plant based ingredients, Helios Calendula based creams are formulated to soothe a wide range of complaints from nappy rash, cradle cap and dry skin to mild eczema and psoriasis. Free from lanolin, artificial preservatives and petroleum derivatives the creams are suitable for the most delicate skin. For details of these and other creams in the range please contact Roz Crompton.
Higher Nature’s Kids Range – Set to Grow Due to the successful launch of their Kids range in September 2013, Higher Nature’s award winning range of unique, delicious and healthy supplements formulated especially for children is set to grow, with two new exciting additions. Soothe & Immune is a delicious natural apple flavour drink with manuka honey, elderberry extract, vitamin C and uniquely containing Beta Glucans, ideal for when kids aren’t feeling themselves, and need some extra immune support. Growing Bones, are natural strawberry flavour chewable tablets with calcium, magnesium and vitamin D3 in decent levels this key life stage. For further information visit www.highernature.com
UrbanVeda have just added another award to their growing collection of accolades, winning Silver in the ‘Best Night Moisturiser’ category in Green Parent’s 2014 beauty awards for their anti-aging Reviving Renewal Night Cream. Combining Rose + 11 botanics, including restorative flower waters, omega oils and antioxidants, this fortifying antioxidant complex includes natural bio-oil sources of vitamins A, C and E, and is packed with essential fatty acid-rich Rosehip, organic Pomegranate juice, Borage and Evening Primrose to help smooth, plump and relax fine lines, naturally. Renowned anti-aging Rose Damask, Geranium and Arjuna support skin regeneration, uplift waning skin and revive radiance.
JASON offers a range of toothpastes to help make teeth brushing time easier for parents and more fun for kids! “Kids Only” Toothpaste is available in both Strawberry and Orange flavours, and Earth’s Best Baby Toddler Toothpaste is available in Strawberry & Banana or Apple & Pear. There is also a Teething Gel from Earth’s Best to help soothe pain All are free from sodium lauryl/laureth sulphates, fluoride, propylene glycol artificial preservatives, colours and flavours.
Good Bubble is the UK’s first range of superfruit toiletries for children. Specially formulated with young children in mind, and with moisturising properties that truly nourish the hair and skin. The range comes in two exciting, superfruit variants: Dragon Fruit and Cloudberry. All products are at least 98% natural, and are completely free from sulfates, parabens, PEG, phthalates and artificial colour. They are made with an allergen-free fragrance for scrummy yet gentle scents, and have been dermatologically and ophthalmologist tested for a tear-free bathtime. All products are registered with the Vegan Society. Made in the UK.
Natural Birthing Company’s innovative products deliver practical and nurturing care to solve the unique pregnancy skin challenges faced by women surrounding their pregnancy, postpartum and breastfeeding. The natural range has been developed by two experienced midwives not only to offer practical solutions to restore optimum skin health but to help relieve anxieties and keep women feeling comfortable and empowered. The range consists of “Cool it Mama” – Cooling Body Spritz, “Down Below” – Perineal Massage Oil, “Blissful Tincture” – Hypercal Tincture for external use on delicate areas after birth and “Bosom Buddies” – Breastfeeding Survival Kit featuring “Ooh”, “Aah” and “Ouch” blended oils.
One in six couples now find it difficult to conceive and a quarter of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Fertility Support® for Women and Fertility Support® for Men are two essential supplements to greatly help increase chances of conception either naturally or by IVF. Both supplements contain the highest quality and most important vitamins and minerals scientifically known to help with conception and increase fertility. Each ingredient is at the highest effective dose to help achieve the best results. Formulated by Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD – the UK’s leading nutritionist and authority on increasing fertility naturally – in association with The Natural Health practice.
Original natural baby brand WELEDA is introducing three new Baby Derma products in September. Packaged in fresh white, this new line is specially formulated for babies with hypersensitive or dry skin prone to irritation and eczema. Entirely fragrance-free, the body lotion, face cream and nappy cream protect, nourish, soothe and relieve itching. The lead plant organic White Mallow is known for its skin-smoothing and calming properties. The Baby Derma collection will be free from synthetic preservatives, fragrances, colourants and artificial additives of any kind, and free from mineral oils. Other key ingredients will include organic coconut oil and wild pansy.