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Counselling of mothers with toddlers – What are the pitfalls?

On 5th September 2017, Dr July Lanigan from the University College of London Institution of Child Health, gave a lecture on counselling mothers with toddlers at the Department of Dietetics, Nelson Mandela University.

In her lecture, she mentioned several studies that were done in the UK that measure toddler diets. Her focus was towards the foods that toddlers should get, and she mentioned that their food should be rich in nutrients such as protein, energy, vitamin D, iron and zinc.  She also encouraged parents to use herbs and spices in food, not only for better taste, but for added iron and to reduce the amount of salt that has to be added for taste. It was emphasized that toddlers should be exposed to sunlight for a minimum of 20 minutes, as sunlight is also a source of vitamin D, together with certain foods.

After sharing the different feeding difficulties that mothers face when feeding their toddlers, she gave advice on how to overcome those difficulties, based on a study that had been done which was a success.

Finally, it was emphasized that overweight and obesity can be seen even in children of 2 to 3 years old and that it is often the result of being fed too much sugary foods that contribute to weight gain and possible dental decay.

Parents are encouraged to feed their toddlers foods from all five food groups (cereals, vegetables, fruit, dairy and meat), as well as promote physical activity, rather than watching television and playing electronic games.

Dr Julie Lanigan is a Principal Research Associate at the University College London Institute of Child Health.  She has a BSc Hons in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Surrey and a Doctorate in Child Health from University College London.