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3/4 of new mums ‘too busy’ to eat properly

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A woman’s diet suffers after she becomes a mum, a new study has revealed. Research has found the diet and eating patterns of  many women get worse once they have had a baby, and during their child’s first six months, three quarters of new mums would often find that they were too busy to eat a proper meal at dinner time.

And six months after giving birth, when a mum will be embarking on the weaning journey, a quarter of new mums were just snacking through the day and skipping meals.

Azmina Govindji, consultant nutritionist to Plum, which commissioned the study to mark the launch of their new range of healthy organic baby food, said:

“Mum’s life can be  turned upside down when she has a baby and this has an effect on her diet and eating patterns.

“Not having enough time to cook from scratch is the most common problem for mums with babies and toddlers.

“And whilst mum may compensate for this by buying some of the healthier versions of shop bought baby food, her own diet becomes less of a priority.

“But it’s important to find the time to relax at the dinner table and spend time with your young child. Leading by example and sitting down to a meal helps build healthy habits for the future.”

It was also found that three in five mums with children aged six to 11 months don’t have enough time to cook a meal from scratch.

While 81% would have to stop eating a meal to tend to their child.

Fifty per cent of dads’ diets would end up suffering in the first year of their child’s life too.

This is where diets go downhill as 70% of mums would eat unhealthy snacks to make up for the meals they miss out on.

Crisps, chocolate and biscuits are the first unhealthy treats which mum reaches for while fruit would only be snacked on by 28%.

A worn out quarter of new parents would only manage to eat six home cooked meals in a week.

While during the first six months, mums will eat four microwave meals each week.

The study also found  babies have much better diets than their poor old mum as 35% said as long as their family have eaten properly; they can sort themselves out later.

However, the survey found that the average child under five is only consuming half of their weekly portions of fruit and veg.

They will get  to eat 16 portions during a typical week when 35 is the usual expected amount.

Only 13% of families eat full meals together at the same time.

When organising the family meals, 84% of mums end up repeating their weekly menu which limits their child’s exposure to different ingredients

Despite not feeding themselves properly, two in five mums are happy to experiment with their child’s taste buds.

And a third want to encourage their child to try new things – but slowly.

Govindji added:

“I recommend that parents don’t underestimate a baby’s ability to appreciate healthy, tasty food and that they try all the food they give their little ones to discover for themselves what it tastes like.

“Babies learn from their mums so it’s best to use feeding time to bond with their little one by eating a wide range of foods and flavours with them to help them nurture their tiny taste buds.

“What you feed your baby in the first few years is essential for setting them on a course for healthy eating for life. Weaning is the perfect time to establish a broad palate for your baby by introducing exciting new flavours and food combinations.”

“It’s good practice for mums to eat the same basic foods that they are weaning their child on, as many of these foods will help them ensure they are eating a range of nutrients.

“For example, if they offer their baby an apple and mango puree, this is the perfect time to prepare themselves their own version, such as a fruit salad.

“Mums can get excited by weaning and spend time giving their baby lots of different flavours.  It’s important to keep up this variety beyond the first six months.”

Plum’s survey also found when organising the family meals, 84% of mums end up repeating their weekly menu.

By simply varying one or two of the vegetables and fruits you are serving each week, you can improve the range of vitamins and minerals in mum’s, baby’s and children’s diet.