Heinz

Have a query? Start the conversation here

We have listed the most common topics and questions from our customers right here to help you out. If you need more specific advice, you can always call our Customer Support Centre or get in touch with us via Facebook.

Q. What do I need to do before my baby arrives?


Having a newborn baby in your home is an experience like no other, but getting as organized as possible will definitely make it easier to settle into your new routine.


Here are a few things to think about before your baby arrives:

  • Your tiny fashion icon in the early days  simple vests and sleep suits are probably the easiest for your baby to wear. Make sure you’ve washed any new clothes beforehand– your baby’s skin will be very delicate!

  • Going places – now is the time to work out how to fit the capsule seat in the car and assemble the buggy. This is not something you’ll want to struggle with some time when you’re really exhausted.

  • A spot for baby –set up your baby’s bassinet or cot in your house.  Many parents choose to have a cot in their bedroom right beside their own bed; it’s a safe place for a newborn. Think about getting blackout curtains too. This can help babies learn the difference between day and night.

  • Stock up on storage  - invest in a few baskets or containers and fill them with nappies, a changing mat, wipes and spare outfits. You can keep a couple around the house, maybe one upstairs and one downstairs if you have a two-storey home. These are handy for on-the-spot nappy changes as there are likely to be times when you’re too tired to hunt down the various things you need separately.

  • Fill that freezer -  it can be a good idea to devote a whole day to cooking before the baby comes. It’s really important to keep eating well after you’ve given birth – your body has been through a lot. If you’re breastfeeding you also need to be getting the right nutrients to properly care for your baby.
    You can make some heat’n’eat meals to keep in the freezer for when you don’t have time to spend in the kitchen, or buy ready-made meals from the supermarket.

  • Shampoo and snip   it might pay to grab a low maintenance hair cut now, as it’ll be hard to find time when you have a newborn around.

  • The right bra for the job – yes, you’ll need nursing bras! If you get measured after 37 weeks it’ll ensure they fit properly after the birth.

  • It’s all about the people you know   think about a  list of essential phone numbers (like your doctor's surgery and a breast feeding helpline) so you can get help easily with any postnatal concerns. You can also swap phone numbers and email addresses with your antenatal friends, and make a date for meeting up after the birth. It’s good to have other mums around as they’ll really be able to empathize.

  • Grocery shopping from your couch – tackling a trip around the supermarket may be the last thing you feel like doing when you have a newborn at home. Think about setting up an online grocery shopping account so you can have everything you need delivered right to your door.

  • Resting up – now’s the time to make the  most of any long lie-ins you have. And, if you’re not too tired, find some time for you and your partner to go out together for dinner or a movie. It could be difficult to spend time with just the two of you for a wee while.


  • Q. Are food cravings during pregnancy normal?


    Cravings might seem like a cliché but a lot of women get them, and they can create some bizarre combinations of food. Some experts also believe that cravings are your body's way of telling you it needs more of certain nutrients.


    Q. Why is my sense of smell stronger?


    A lot of women will experience a heightened sense of smell during pregnancy, and since aroma can shape taste you might find this affects what you feel like eating. The smell of fried onions, which used to be heavenly, might start turning your stomach when you’re pregnant.

    You might also notice your favourite perfume smells different on your body too. This is because hormonal changes can alter your skin's chemistry.


    Q. Why does food taste different while I’m pregnant?


    During pregnancy some foods you used to love can suddenly seem like your worst enemy. This is because your sense of taste and smell changes. Some women also get a metallic taste lingering in their mouths, which can make a difference to what you eat. Foods with sharp or tangy flavours like citrus fruit or vinegar can help sometimes help cut through that metallic taste.


    Q. Why am I producing more saliva than usual?


    Excess saliva production can affect some mums-to-be. It’s especially common in the first trimester, and when you have morning sickness. It won’t last forever, and in the meantime try sucking on a lolly to help you swallow.


    Q. What happens in my first trimester?


    From the first day of your period, right through to the end of week 12, you’re in what’s called the first trimester. There are some common body changes that happen around this time, but bear in mind that no two pregnancies are identical. In other words, don’t worry if your experiences differ from the ones mentioned here, or from the ones your friends are talking about.


    If at any time you do feel something isn’t right, the best thing to do is see your health professional.


    Morning sickness always hits me in the afternoon

    A big surge of pregnancy hormones arrives in your first trimester. Unfortunately this can trigger a feeling of nausea, commonly called morning sickness. It generally peaks around week 10, and it should settle down by weeks 12-13.

    While it’s named ‘morning sickness’ it can actually hit you at any time of the day. You might find yours is more like ‘after lunch’ or ‘early evening sickness’. There are also some mums-to-be who experience morning sickness right through till the very end of their pregnancy. Try to remember that it’ll all pass.


    Here are a few ways to reduce the nausea:

    • Ginger is good for relieving nausea. Try ginger biscuits or ginger ale
    • Have a milky drink before bed
    • Try sniffing a fresh lemon. Citrus smells can help 
    • Avoid tight waistbands – pressure on your tummy can often make you feel worse 
    • Being tired can also add to feelings of nausea, make sure you get plenty of sleep 
    • East small meals and snacks, rather than big meals. Toast and salty crackers are good. 
    • Get out of bed slowly, so your body doesn’t change positions too quickly. You can also try a cuppa and a small, dry snack before you get up.

    Today’s a good day to unwind

    The first trimester means you’re in the most critical growth stage for your baby. It’s when all their tiny vital organs are forming. Your hormones will be going crazy, and it can take a toll on your energy levels. It’s perfectly normal to feel run down and emotional during the first trimester, so just relax and take it easy. Try catching up on some reading and DVDs – you’re more than entitled to some downtime!


    Ditching the lace for comfy cotton

    During the first trimester your breasts may start to feel sore, swollen or tingly. Your body seems to act on its own as, even at this stage, it prepares for breastfeeding. Make sure you have some comfortable bras to get you through. If you were planning on buying new ones, just be aware that your breasts will continue to change so you may not want to splurge.


    My mouth seems to be watering all the time

    Excess saliva production, known as Ptyalism, can affect some mums-to-be. It’s basically a by-product of your changing hormone levels during pregnancy. It’s especially common in the first trimester, and when you have morning sickness. It won’t last forever, and in the meantime try sucking on a lolly to help you swallow.


    Q. What happens in my second trimester?


    Stage two of your pregnancy is known as the second trimester, and it runs from around 13 to 28 weeks. Happily, this is when a lot of mums-to-be really start to enjoy being pregnant. Your baby bump will become much more obvious, with any luck your morning sickness will be subsiding, and you might have more energy.

     

    Stretching is all part of the process

    Stretch marks can be common for all women – and not just during pregnancy! This is definitely nothing to worry about, with your baby bump growing it’s inevitable that your skin will stretch a little. You might also get stretch marks on your thighs and breasts, but these will usually fade after the birth. You can also find creams and oils designed to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, or help stop them from forming. These are usually available in your local pharmacy.


    Getting a glow on

    You’ve probably heard people talk about the glow that pregnant women have, and there’s definitely truth behind it. During your second trimester you’ll have increased levels of a hormone called progesterone. Your skin retains more moisture and your blood volume increases, these are all things that can give your skin that radiant look. You might also find your nails grow much faster and your hair seems thicker.

     

    I’m getting a few funny coloured patches

    You might have noticed a couple of dark patches of skin showing up on your face. This is caused by melanin, the natural pigment in your skin, darkening because of hormone changes. It should fade after birth, but in the meantime use plenty of sunscreen and follow the regular sun safety rules.

    You may develop a dark line that runs vertically down the middle of your baby bump. Don’t panic – this is normal too. It’s called the linea nigra and will probably fade after birth too.

     

    I’ve got a tiny sports star in the making

    Baby kicks are something you can look forward to during your second trimester. You could be feeling these any time from around 20 weeks. If this isn’t your first pregnancy it’s not uncommon to start feeling kicks even earlier.

     

    I’m a little blocked up....

    You might find you get constipated during pregnancy. Drinking plenty of water (six to eight glasses a day) can help. You should also get plenty of fibre in your diet. Wholegrain breads, cereals, fruits and vegetables are all great.

     

    Tips for including more fibre in your meals:

    • Swap white bread for wholegrain
    • Choose cereals like wheat biscuits, muesli or porridge
    • Snack on fruit and nuts
    • Add baked beans to mince dishes, or as a topping on your baked potato
    • Bulk up your dinner with veges and salads
    • Have plenty of frozen veges on hand. These are easy to add to stir frys
    • Add fruit to your breakfast. Sliced banana on wholegrain bread is delicious

     

    Heartburn always gets me at night

    Unfortunately heartburn and indigestion are common during pregnancy, especially in the later stages. It’s that burning sensation you get when acid moves out of your stomach and into your oesophagus . Eating small amounts more often can help, as can having a milky drink before bed. Avoid spicy, fatty foods as they can make the problem worse.


    Q. What can I expect during my third trimester?

  • Final stage! The third trimester runs from 28 weeks until birth. It’s during this time that your baby’s weight will triple and you should be eating well to fuel you both. Let’s not mince words, the third trimester can be uncomfortable at times, but remember it’s only temporary and you’re about to get a bouncing wee baby. 

  • It leaves me breathless

    If you’re feeling a little puffed there’s a reason why. Your expanding uterus is pressing against your diaphragm. Just relax and take it easy. Now is not the time to be attempting anything too strenuous.

  • I’m carrying enough water to fill a lake

    During your third trimester most mums-to-be are likely to retain a fair bit of water. Your ankles, feet and fingers may all swell, and you probably won’t want to stand for any long period of time.

    The only time you should be concerned about this is if swelling is very severe and accompanied by headaches, dizziness, nausea or visual disturbances. If this happens you should see your lead maternity carer straight away, as it could indicate something more serious.

  • I’ve got the urge to scratch

    As your skins stretches over your bump it can get a little itchy. Using a gentle moisturiser on the area can help ease this. It’s unlikely, but if you find the itching is severe, especially at night, make sure you contact your lead maternity carer as it may indicate something more serious.


  • Q. How much weight will I gain during pregnancy?


    Weight gain is completely normal during pregnancy. It varies a lot from person to person, but around 12 to 16kg is average for a woman who has a healthy weight before getting pregnant. Your appetite might increase to make sure you’re eating enough too. As well as fuelling your baby, your body needs to lay down energy stores for breastfeeding later on. You also need plenty of nutrients for the increased tissue in your uterus, your placenta and your red blood cells.


    Q. Do I need to eat more than usual?


    Remember that while you’re eating for two, only one of you is full sized - you’re only aiming for around 200-300 extra calories a day which is equivalent to a sandwich and a piece of fruit, or a yoghurt with crackers and cheese. The third trimester is when your baby’s weight will triple so be sure to get a good balanced diet, but you don't need to eat lots more. 


    Q. Is it safe to diet when I’m pregnant?


    Gaining weight is a natural part of being pregnant. While it’s also true that too much weight gain can affect your health and increase your blood pressure, it’s not a good idea to diet while you’re pregnant. This is because it can leave you low in nutrients like iron and folic acid, which can have side effects for both you and your baby. A well balanced diet that leaves you feeling satisfied is what you're aiming for-not food restriction.


    Q. What is Folic Acid?

     

    This is an essential B-vitamin that is important during conception and pregnancy to help prevent birth defects such as spina bifida. Your health professional will recommend a supplement to take before and during pregnancy. Folic acid is found in some foods like green leafy vegetable, wholegrain breads, cereals and brown rice, but you don’t get enough in your diet during pregnancy, and that’s why you need to take a supplement.


    Q. What foods should I avoid during pregnancy?

    • Certain types of cheese –  avoid soft pasteurised cheeses e.g. brie, camembert, blue, ricotta, mozarella etc, and soft unpasteurised cheeses e.g. Roquefort because these can contain listeria, a bacteria which can harm your unborn baby. Stick to eating the harder yellow varieties like Edam or Tasty for now. Cottage cheese and cream cheese should also be OK if bought in sealed packs, and used within 2 days of opening.
    • Cream and custard  – avoid prepared foods e.g. bakery items with custard or cream used as an ingredient, and avoid ready-made chilled custard as well. Fresh cream, if eaten within 2 days of opening the sealed pack should be OK, and homemade custard eaten immediately after cooking is OK too.
    • Hummus  – avoid store bought or homemade hummus - this includes tahini and pre-packaged chilled dips. It’s best to avoid these altogether during pregnancy as these can contain bacteria. 
    • Paté -  avoid as this can contain listeria too- even vegetable paté isn't safe.
    • Raw or partially cooked eggs –  eggs can contain salmonella, which is a major cause of food poisoning. You should avoid any food that contains uncooked egg, like homemade mayonnaise. That doesn’t mean you should avoid eggs altogether, as they’re great source of protein. Just make sure the egg yolk and white are both well cooked before you eat them.
    • Raw, cured and undercooked meat switch that extra rare steak for something less pink. Raw, undercooked, or cured meats like ham and salami, or other deli meats, increase the risk of food poisoning and parasitic infections. These can affect your baby's development.  Be extra careful of chicken as it can contain salmonella and other bacteria. It should be well cooked, right the way through. You should also watch out for smoked salmon, as this hasn’t been through a traditional cooking process and can still carry bacteria. It’s a good idea to avoid this during pregnancy.
    • Liver - liver contains large amounts of Vitamin A, and too much of this vitamin can harm your baby. Be selective with vitamin or mineral supplements too, if you think you need one, always check in with your health professional for advice.
    • Some types of fish fish is an amazing source of vitamins, minerals and protein. Fish is also high in omega 3 fatty acids, which help your baby's nervous system develop. Most common fish varieties are safe, but some may contain higher levels of Mercury. Make sure you become familiar with fish varieties you need to avoid while pregnant.
    • Raw shellfish  – avoid all raw shellfish these can contain harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
    • Pre-prepared chilled meals and leftovers - make sure you keep all cooked foods in the fridge and then cook them at high temperatures to kill off any bacteria. The whole dish should be piping hot.
    • Alcohol - safe limits are unknown, so many health professionals say it’s best to avoid alcohol completely.
    • Caffeine - too much caffeine can lead to low birth weight, and it’s also been linked with miscarriage. Limit your intake to 300 mg a day. This is roughly equivalent to three cappuccinos, or one large long black. When you’re making your cuppa at home, have a daily maximum of six standard cups of tea, or four to six cups of instant coffee, depending on how strong you make it.
    • Sushi – it’s best to avoid sushi altogether for now.


    Q. What should I eat for a healthy pregnancy?


    Generally what you need to eat during pregnancy is a wide variety of nutritious foods, with a little bit extra to fuel you and your growing baby.  Make sure each day you choose a variety of foods from each of the four food groups: fruit and veges, breads and cereals, meat/high protein foods and milk and dairy products:

    • Fruit and veges  – whether they’re fresh, frozen or canned, they are full of nutrients and fibre.
    • Starchy carbohydrates  - bread, pasta, rice, sweet potato and potatoes. Not only do they taste good, but they’ll give you plenty of energy too.
    • Fibre – you can find this  in wholegrain bread and breakfast cereals, pasta, rice, fruit and vegetables. Constipation can be a common problem in pregnancy and fibre can help to get things moving.
    • Protein - lean meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, legumes, seeds and nuts are all good sources of protein, and provide your body with iron and zinc.
    • Fish  – aim for at least two servings a week as part of your protein rich foods. Fish, particularly oily fish, is a good source of vitamins, minerals, protein and omega 3 fatty acids, which is essential for normal growth and development.
    • Milk and milk products  – foods like milk, cheese and yoghurt are a great source of calcium and protein. 
    • Water  – try to get at least eight glasses of water or other fluids each day.
    • A vitamin and mineral supplement  – the only supplement you definitely need to take is a folic acid supplement and your diet will supply the rest of the important nutrients you need.  If you are really concerned that you’re lacking in a certain nutrient like iron talk to your health professional.

    A few nutrients to note:

    • Protein  – this is vital for your baby’s development. The amino acids that make up protein are literally the building blocks of all the body's cells. Good sources of protein are lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs that are well cooked, legumes, nuts and seeds.
    • Folic acid (folate)  –this is an essential B-vitamin that is important during conception and pregnancy to help prevent birth defects such as spina bifida. Your health professional will recommend a supplement to take before and during pregnancy. Folic acid is found in some foods like green leafy vegetable, wholegrain breads, cereals and brown rice, but you don’t get enough in your diet during pregnancy, and that’s why you need to take a supplement.
    • Calcium - between weeks four and six of your pregnancy, your baby’s bones will start to form, so it’s important that you have enough calcium in your body. Calcium is also important to help your baby’s muscle, heart and nerve development.  Great sources of calcium are dairy products like milk, cheese (go for the pasteurised kind) and yoghurt. You can also find it in some nuts and seeds e.g. sesame seeds, brazil nuts and almonds, as well as vegetables like broccoli, and kale (a type of cabbage). Canned fish (with bones) like salmon also has plenty of calcium. 
    • Having enough Vitamin D  helps your body absorb calcium, and the main source of this is simple sunshine on your skin. That doesn’t mean you should spend hours catching rays in the back yard and risk getting sunburnt, especially not here in NZ where our UV count is very high. Stick to the sun safe rules, wear sunscreen, and stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.  However, you do need to expose your skin to some sunlight to get enough Vitamin D. Research has shown in winter it can be hard to get enough Vitamin D, so make sure you spend time outdoors and show your skin some sunlight. The exact amount of sun you need to produce enough Vitamin D varies from person to person, but if you spend most of your time indoors, or cover your skin with clothing all year around, you may need to chat to your health professional about whether you need a supplement. 
    • Iron – that magic mineral that helps so many functions in your body, including helping produce red blood cells, which carry oxygen and nutrients through your body to your baby. During pregnancy, your baby will be taking lots of iron from you, so it’s important that you make sure you have plenty of iron in your diet, so you both get enough.  Iron is found in a range of foods like meat, green veges, dried fruit and legumes like baked beans. But by far the best source of iron is from lean red meat, chicken and fish, and the redder the meat the higher the iron. Aim to eat lean red meat three or four times a week. Green leafy veges, legumes, fortified breakfast cereals and eggs all contain iron, but your body doesn’t absorb it very easily. A trick to helping you absorb more iron is to eat food that’s high in Vitamin C at the same time, fruit and veges like oranges, kiwi fruit and yellow capsicums are all good. Avoid drinking tea with your meals as the tannins reduce iron absorption.  If you are concerned you are low in iron, have a chat with your health professional who may suggest an iron supplement.


    Q. Can I exercise during pregnancy?


    We’ve all heard that fitness and nutrition work hand in hand for a healthy lifestyle, and this is even more important during pregnancy. In fact, it can help keep your weight under control, give you more strength for labour and even make it easier to recover after the birth. Just take it easy and consult your health professional before you start any exercise programme.


    Q. What causes indigestion?

  • You’ve possibly had heart burn some time in your life before now, but it often increases during pregnancy. This is mainly due to hormonal changes which relax the valve to your stomach so acid can pass back into your oesophagus.

  • Your growing uterus pressing against your stomach can also cause heartburn, especially in your third trimester. It’s more likely to strike you after a meal, but don’t be surprised if it sneaks up on you at other times too.


    Q. How do I ease the symptoms of indigestion and heartburn?


    Heartburn and indigestion aren’t dangerous to you or your baby, but that doesn't make it comfortable for you! It can be painful and it can make it difficult for you to relax and get a decent night’s sleep. There are a few tricks you can try to ease it, but if it’s a major problem you can ask your lead maternity carer for advice, or talk to a pharmacist about over-the-counter options that are safe for pregnant women.


    In the meantime, try these tips to be more comfortable:


    • Perfect posture  – as tempting as it might be to laze on the sofa during a meal, sitting up straight while you’re eating can help by taking pressure off your stomach.

    • Take a break from rich food – things like fried or spicy foods can trigger an attack of heart burn, try foods with less fat, and spices.

    • Graze – try eating smaller meals more often, rather than three big meals a day.

    • Love milk  – a cold glass of milk can work wonders for soothing heart burn.

    • Sit up and snooze  - sleeping in a semi-upright position can sometimes help, just make sure you’re well propped up on pillows so you’re still comfortable.


    Q. What is morning sickness?


    Morning sickness is a feeling of nausea triggered by a surge of pregnancy hormones. It is perfectly normal in many pregnant women and usually strikes in the first trimester, but eases after week 14 in most cases.


    Q. When does morning sickness happen during pregnancy?


    A big surge of pregnancy hormones arrives in your first trimester. Unfortunately this can trigger a feeling of nausea, commonly called morning sickness. It generally peaks around week 10, and it should settle down by weeks 12-13.

    While it’s named ‘morning sickness’ it can actually hit you at any time of the day. You might find yours is more like ‘after lunch’ or ‘early evening sickness’. There are also some mums-to-be who experience morning sickness right through till the very end of their pregnancy. Try to remember that it’ll all pass.


    Q. What can I do to ease the symptoms of morning sickness during pregnancy?


    Try to remember – morning sickness will pass. In the meantime here are a few tips to help ease the nausea:


    • Easy does it  - get up slowly in the morning and try a plain snack like a cracker or toast before getting out of bed.

    • Rest up - being really tired can sometimes make your feel worse. Try to get plenty of sleep, if there’s ever been a time to take it easy it’s when you’re pregnant.

    • Snack away  - eating little amounts more often can help to balance your blood sugar and help you feel less ill. 

    • Sip on a smoothie  – having a chilled smoothie made with milk, yoghurt and fruit in the fridge can give you something tasty and full of calcium to sip on over the day if you don’t feel like solid food.

    • Hydrate  – drinking lots of fluids can make a difference, it’s also important to keep hydrated if you’ve been sick a lot. 

    • Hold your nose - avoid smells that make you feel worse. Cooking odours, perfume and cigarettes smoke are common triggers for morning sickness

    • Get a kitchen helper  – if you can, have someone cook for you when you’re not feeling so great. 

    • The more bland the better  – if you’re having trouble keeping food down, go for plain high carbohydrate options like potatoes and pasta. Be wary of spicy, fatty and highly flavoured meals as they can make you feel worse.

    • Grab a bite before bed  – having a light, plain snack before you go to sleep can sometimes help, just don’t overdo it as late meals can also give you a bit of heartburn.

    • Get your stretchy pants on – go for comfort all the way. Clothing that’s really tight around your waist can add to the nausea. 

    • A few things that might make you feel better:

      • Food containing ginger
      • Toast
      • Sparkling water
      • Natural yoghurt
      • Plain crackers or biscuits
      • Salty snacks
      • Fruit juice
      • Raw vegetables
      • Chamomile or peppermint tea
      • Glucose drinks
      • Lollies or chewing gum


      Q. What nutrients does my baby need during pregnancy?


      By eating a well balanced diet, with a variety of foods form the four food groups each day, you’re providing your baby with good nutrition for healthy growth and development.

      There are some nutrients you need a little more of during pregnancy (and breastfeeding), but by following the suggestion above you should be covered.


  • Q. Why is breast feeding so good?

    Breastfeeding is best for your baby. There is detailed information about the benefits of breastfeeding on www.breastfeeding.asn.au . Below are a few facts about breastfeeding:

    Good for now, good for later  –  breastfeeding gives your baby vital antibodies (especially in colostrum – produced in the first few days) that helps protect them against illnesses like colds and chest infections. It can also reduce their chance of developing allergies, eczema and childhood diabetes.

    Easy on the tummy  – there’s a low risk of contamination. Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from stomach upsets and constipation. Breast milk is easy for baby to digest because it is the perfectly designed food.

    Just for mums –  research has shown that women who breastfeed are less likely to develop breast and ovarian cancer.

    The easier the better  – no bottles to prepare, no kits to take with you, it’s always the right temperature, and best of all – it’s free!

    Back to normal  - it can help your uterus return to the normal size after birth sooner. It can also use up calories and make it easier to lose pregnancy weight. Breastfeeding may also delay the start of menstruation.


    Q. What should I do if I can’t breast feed?

    If you can’t breastfeed, or if you decide not to for whatever reason, you’ll need a suitable alternative to breast milk. Infant formula is the only suitable alternative to breast milk, and your baby will need to stay on formula until at least 12 months old.

    Remember, cow's milk isn’t appropriate as a main milk drink until your baby is around a year old because it is not nutritionally suitable - it is too low in iron and too high in protein and other nutrients.


    Q. Constipation: do babies get blocked up?

    Yes, babies can become constipated. It’s more likely to happen if your baby is on formula, it’s less common for breast-fed babies.

    If you see them straining, that’s not necessarily a sign of constipation as a lot of babies do that during a bowel movement. You’ll know if they’re constipated because their stools are hard and pellet-like, appearing as either separate, hard lumps or as a lumpy sausage shape – they’ll be difficult or painful to pass. The best thing to do here is see your GP for advice.


    Q. How often should my baby have a bowel movement?

    Every baby is different. Some will fill their nappies just about every feed, while some others (especially breastfed babies) can go for several days without a bowel movement; both are fine. 
If your baby hasn’t gone in a very long time or they appear to be in pain when they pass a motion you should contact your GP. You needn’t worry if they seem to strain a little when they go, or there doesn’t seem to be any real pattern timing-wise, that’s all pretty normal.


    Q. Poos: what should my baby’s bowel movements look like?

    Be prepared for anything!  The contents of your baby's nappy can vary from day to day, so it’s hard to say exactly what you’ll get.

    As a rough guide your newborn's first nappy will be filled with a sticky and dark greenish-black substance. That’s normal, so don’t panic – it’s called meconium and consists of the waste products that built up while your baby was in the womb.

    Next it’ll change to a mustard yellow colour and, if you’re breastfeeding, it’ll be pretty runny. If you’re formula feeding your baby you can expect their poos to be firmer and more paste-like as well as darker in colour.  When baby starts solids in a few months expect their bowel motions to change again.


    Q. My baby has colic – what should I do?

    Unfortunately there isn’t a cure for colic, but the good news is that it’s not permanent and usually passes within a couple of months. Your baby isn’t in danger, but it can be pretty distressing for both of you. Here are a few things that can help:

    Soothing motion  – a car ride, or a trip in the buggy can make a difference

    Burping –  burp baby after feeds

    Check your diet  – some common gas-causing foods like cabbage, or alcohol and caffeine can affect your breast milk and make your baby windy

    Over the counter  - infant colic drops can sometimes help

    Change their bottle  - a fast-flow teat reduces the amount of air swallowed with the milk

    If you’re really concerned about your baby's crying, or if you’re finding it hard to cope, talk to your health professional, family or friends.


    Q. Colic: how do I know if my baby has it?

     

    If your baby is crying a lot this could be the reason. As it’s pretty normal for your baby to shed a few tears, it can be tricky to figure out just how much is too much. Try the rule of three as a guide: if your baby is crying intensely for three hours a day, three days a week, or for more than three weeks in a row – that’s more than average and colic might be to blame. Babies with colic will often pull their knees up to their chest, have a rigid back, and clench their fists – that’s something to look out for too.

    Around one in five babies will suffer from colic so it’s fairly common. No one is quite sure what causes it, but trapped wind is sometimes blamed. While it’s not nice for either of you, Colic isn’t dangerous, so you don’t need to panic.


    Q. Is it normal for my baby to be sick during or after feeding?

    It’s not uncommon - the milk your baby brings up during or just after a feed is called spilling. Some babies spill more than others, but if your little one is feeding well and is gaining weight you probably don’t have anything to worry about.

    If your baby starts vomiting frequently or violently, if they seem like they’re in pain or they’re not putting on any weight then you should definitely talk to your health professional.


    Q. How do I burp my baby?

    Some babies will stop during a feed and burp on their own, if your little one doesn’t just wait till the end of the feed to burp them.  Hold your baby upright against your shoulder or sit them on your lap, or you can place them face down on your lap. All you need to do is rub their back gently – if they don’t burp after a couple of minutes they probably don’t need to.


    Q. Does what I eat affect my milk when I’m breastfeeding?

    While you’re breastfeeding you’ll be passing on a lot of nutrients to your baby, so your diet can really make a difference. Getting plenty of good foods in your diet during this time will make sure you’re both getting the nourishment you need.

    Some babies may react to certain foods and drinks passed through their mother’s breast milk (in very small amounts) and become windy, colicky or unsettled. Possible culprits are caffeine, or fruit and veges like onions, beans, broccoli, cabbage and grapes – the things that may cause wind in adults.

    If you’re worried your baby is reacting to something you’ve been eating, the best thing to do is avoid that food for a few days to see if they improve. Be careful not to cut out whole food groups (like dairy or wheat) without chatting to your health professional first.

    On the other hand your diet can also expose your baby to a variety of interesting tastes. You never know what they could be developing a love for in those very early stages.


    Q. What should I eat when I’m breastfeeding?

    Eating really well while you’re breastfeeding is good for two major reasons. Firstly it means you’re passing on plenty of good nutrition to your baby. Secondly, it’s fuel for you– giving you plenty of energy to make it through sleepless nights, and bounce back after giving birth.
    Try not to go for too long without food. You might want to switch your three meals a day for smaller meals, more often. Here are some foods that are great when you’re breastfeeding:

    • Fruit and veges  – whether they’re fresh, frozen or canned – try to have at least six servings (a serving is around a handful) each day.
    • Starchy carbohydrates  - bread, pasta, rice, Sweet Potato and potatoes. Not only do they taste good, but they’ll give you plenty of energy too. Aim for around seven servings each day.
    • Fibre – you can find this  in wholegrain bread and breakfast cereals, pasta, rice, fruit and vegetables. Constipation can be a common problem after giving birth and fibre can help to get things moving.
    • Protein - lean meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, legumes, seeds and nuts are all good sources of protein, and provide your body with iron and zinc. Have at least two servings every day.
    • Fish  – aim for two servings a week as part of your protein rich foods. Fish, particularly oily fish, is a good source of vitamins, minerals, protein and omega 3 fatty acids, which is essential for normal growth and development.
    • Milk and milk products  – foods like milk, cheese and yoghurt are a great source of calcium and protein. Have at least three servings each day.
    • Water  – try to get at least eight glasses of water or other fluids each day. Breastfeeding can make you thirsty!  Having a big bottle of water beside you on the couch, or in the bedroom can be a good reminder to drink more.  Drinking plenty also helps with the bowels.
    • A vitamin and mineral supplement  - while a folic acid supplement is important during pregnancy, during breastfeeding the best source of vitamins and minerals is a good balanced diet. If you are concerned you’re not eating well and may need a supplement, talk to your GP before taking one.


    Q. Sitting pretty: what’s the right position for breastfeeding?

    The good news is there’s really is no right or wrong way to hold your baby when breastfeeding. What matters most is that you’re comfortable and your baby is feeding well. Here are a few positions you might want to try.

    Cradle   cradle your baby’s head in the bend of your arm. They should be lying sideways against you, turned towards your body with their mouth right in front of your nipple.


    Cross Cradle - similar position to the cradle, but you can hold your baby with the opposite arm to the breast they’re feeding from.


    Underarm  – sit down and lie your baby beside you, you can use a pillow to support them and rest your arm on. Gently cup the back of their head with your palm and support their body with your forearm so they can feed. Your baby’s legs can tuck in behind you.


    Lying down  - lie on one side and get comfortable with a pillow. Lie your baby facing you with their tummy against yours - your nipple should be opposite their mouth. You can use a hand to support your breast if you need to.


    Q. How do I get my baby to latch?

    Breastfeeding can take a fair bit of practice - getting your baby to latch is a bit of an art form, so don’t worry it if takes a while. Once he or she gets it, it’ll help stop your nipples from becoming sore, cracked or uncomfortable.

    To help your baby latch on you can try gently stroking their cheek with your finger until their mouth opens wide. Then move your baby towards your breast, aiming your nipple at the roof of the mouth. You want them to take your nipple and a good mouthful of breast to form a tight seal.

    When your baby has finished feeding or you want to transfer to the other breast, simply slip your little finger gently into the corner of your baby's mouth to break the suction.


    Q. Filling that little tummy: is my baby getting enough food?

    Once you start breastfeeding it’s normal to wonder whether you’re feeding your baby enough each time, or if you should be feeding more often. Happily, your baby will dictate a lot of this. They tend to let you know when they’re hungry, and when they’ve had enough.

    Each baby will feed at a different pace, some will want to drain both breasts at each feed, and others will want less. It’s just about you being flexible and getting to understand their patterns.

    It is common for newborn babies to feed frequently.  Your baby will start off needing to be fed around every three hours (and as a rough gauge – up to 30 minutes at a time).  Some parents are happy feeding their baby on demand and others like to establish more of a routine.  As they grow their feeds become quicker and less frequent. Watch out for growth spurts though (often around two, four, six and 12 weeks) and they’ll feed more during these times.

    As you breastfeed, hormonal changes and the more your baby feeds will encourage milk production, so trust that your body knows what to do.

    You know your baby is well fed if they seem satisfied after their feeds and produce lots of wet nappies (6-8 wet nappies in a 24 hour period). They should also gain weight steadily after the first two weeks, have times when they’re awake and alert, and your breasts and nipples shouldn’t be sore.

    Remember if you have any questions you can chat to your midwife (LMC), well child, or Tamariki Ora nurse or Plunket nurse or lactation consultant or any breast-feeding support groups eg La Leche.


    Q. How do I store breast milk once I’ve expressed it?

    Before you start expressing breastmilk, have a chat to your health care provider who can give you some helpful advice.

    Breastmilk is best stored in the fridge. Just remember that your baby isn’t as resilient as you, so be extra careful to keep your pump and all storage containers clean and sterile. This will help avoid any tummy upsets due to contamination. Here are some helpful hints for storage once you’ve expressed:

    Chilled – put expressed milk in the fridge straight away. You can store it for up to 48 hours as long as the container is in the coldest part of the fridge, which is nearest the back. If it’s in the freezer compartment of your fridge, it can be stored for up to 2 weeks, and if it’s in the freezer it can be stored for up to 3 to 6 months.

    Thawing – if you’ve frozen your breast milk try to thaw it out gently. You can do it by leaving it in the fridge to slowly thaw, or putting the container in a bath of warm water. Use it as quickly as possible after thawing.

     Label it – it’s it’s a good idea to label your containers with the time and date so you know how long you have to use each one.


    Q. How do I express milk?

    Before you start expressing breastmilk, have a chat to your health care provider who can give you some helpful advice. Expressing can take a bit of practice, so be patient. While you can express milk by hand, most women will use a pump. There are manual types, which need you to squeeze a handle, and automatic types that run off batteries or mains power. You can also get single (one breast) and double (both breasts) options, so you’ll be able to find one that suits. All breast pumps will come with an instruction manual explaining how to use, clean and store your breast pump. You can buy breast pumps from retail stores, pharmacies and the internet. Your midwife, or healthcare professional will also know where you can buy them from.

    If you’re having trouble getting more than a trickle, try expressing at different times of the day. Many women find the morning is the best time. You can also try warm baths, expressing with your baby nearby, or looking at a picture of them to help your breastfeeding or ‘let down’ reflex.


    Q. Expressing milk: what’s the benefit?



    Before you start expressing breastmilk, have a chat to your healthcare professional who can give you some helpful advice. Expressing your breast milk can be really handy. It gives you time to take a break and let someone else feed your baby, it can relieve sore breasts and it can boost your milk supply. It’s also good if your breasts are so full your baby is having trouble latching on. Another benefit is if you’re returning to work and you want to carry on feeding your baby breast milk. Here you'll find more information from the Australian Breastfeeding Assosciation about breastfeeding at work


    Q. Breast milk on demand: when should I express?

    Before you start expressing breastmilk, have a chat to your healthcare professional who can give you some handy advice.If you’re thinking of expressing breast milk, you’re probably wondering when the right time is to start. It’s often a good idea to wait until breastfeeding is established and you and baby have a good routine set up. Once you’re ready, expressing your breast milk can be really handy. It gives you time to take a break and let someone else feed your baby. It can relieve sore breasts and boost your milk supply. It’s also good if your breasts are so full your baby is having trouble latching on. Like anything, it can take you a bit to get the hang of expressing milk, so be patient and allow yourself plenty of time"


    Q. Is there anything I should avoid eating when I’m breastfeeding?

    Yes - what you eat when your breastfeeding can affect your breast milk. Just aim for a nutritious balanced diet. Here are a few things to watch out for:

    • Alcohol  – this can pass into your breast milk, so it’s best to avoid it.
    • Caffeine  – this can affect your baby's feeding, sleeping and digestion. Decaffeinated versions of your favourite drinks might be the best option for a while. If you do drink coffee and tea, try not to go overboard. 
    • Fish  – this is a great food because it’s so nutritious. And for most types of fish you don’t need to worry about high levels of Mercury.


    Q. I think my baby is lactose intolerant?


    Lactose intolerance is not common, and if your baby has been happily drinking breast milk, then it is unlikely they have a problem with lactose because breast milk is high in lactose!. Lactose is an important carbohydrate or ‘milk sugar’ found naturally in both breast milk and also in formula, and provides baby with essential energy to grow.


    Lactose intolerance is not the same as an allergy. It can sometimes occur if a baby has had a severe gastro-intestinal infection, and as a result baby has diarrhoea for sometime afterwards. Even then, is usually temporary and not problematic. Please talk to your health professional if you are concerned.


    Q. Can I raise my baby as a baby vegetarian

    While it’s more difficult to get the balance of essential nutrients and energy in a vegetarian diet, it’s not impossible with careful planning. You can still give baby all the nutrients they need, just be aware that some vegetarian diets can be low in iron, vitamin B12, protein, calcium and also zinc. So this is something you need to be very careful with because your baby needs these nutrients. A Lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, which includes dairy, eggs, as well as plant based foods is generally a better choice for baby than a purely plant based diet (vegan diet). Vegan diets are not recommended for babies as they lack essential nutrients in the correct balance, and can be too high in fibre.

     

    It’s a good idea to consult your GP or healthcare professional to make sure you have all the right information. Below is some information on some common vegetarian foods:

    Iron - Plant foods contain iron, although it’s not as well absorbed as iron from meat, chicken and fish. Legumes and fortified baby cereals are first foods containing iron. From around 8 months introduce green veges like spinach, silverbeet and broccoli. Giving your baby foods containing vitamin C in the same meal will help them to absorb iron. Apple, potato and pumpkin are some fruit and veges that are good sources of vitamin C.

    Fortified foods - baby cereals are fortified with iron, like Farex Rice Cereal, Farex Baby Rice, or Farex Pear and Banana Baby Rice. It’s an easy way to add iron to your baby’s diet and you should include baby cereals for the first year.


    Q. I have a family history of allergies, does this affect my baby?

    Food allergies aren’t as common as many people think, but a small number of babies can develop allergies to certain foods If your baby’s brother or sister, or either parent has a diagnosed allergy, then baby has a higher risk of developing an allergy as well.

    Signs might be diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, swelling and skin rashes. They don’t always come on straight away; they can sometimes take a couple of hours to become obvious. In very rare cases serious food allergies can lead to anaphylaxis, which can cause swelling of the throat and mouth, restricting the airways and can be life threatening.

    Breastfeeding lowers the risk of allergy in babies:

    • Breastfeed  – breastfeed your baby for at least the first six months, and continue to breastfeed for as long as you can after you have introduced solids. Don’t introduce solids before 4 months.
    • Take it slowly – when your baby starts solids, introduce just one new food at a time. Try a new food for 2-4 days to see how your baby tolerates it and then you can try another food.

    There is no reason to delay introducing any foods to your baby unless you know they have a diagnosed allergy to a certain food

    If you do suspect your baby has a food allergy, make sure you talk to your health professional or a dietitian before you start changing their diet-you don’t want your baby to miss out on important and nutritious foods for no good reason.


    Q. Eggs: are they safe to give to my little one?

    Yes, from around 7 months onwards, eggs can be offered to your baby. Eggs are a great source of protein and other nutrients – just make sure they're thoroughly cooked until both the yolk and white are firm.


    Q. When should my baby start using a cup?

    From around six months onwards it’s a good idea to get your baby used to drinking from a cup. If you can, go for an open cup or a free-flow cup without a valve – it’ll help your baby learn to sip and it’s a whole lot better for their teeth.

    Here are a few tips to get you started:

    • Give your baby sips of water from a cup with their meals, as well as between meals if you’re bottle feeding.
    • Later on, try cutting out a bottle feed at one meal in the day and using a cup instead.
    • Keep at it, getting them to use a cup every day is the key.
    • Aim to have your baby off their bottle and using a cup by their first birthday.


    Q. When should I offer finger foods?

    Around eight to nine months is usually a good time to start offering your little one finger foods, but some babies may be ready a little earlier, for example around 7 months.

    Finger foods are great for encouraging chewing – even if they don’t have teeth yet!  Start off with softer foods like cooked carrots or soft, sliced fruit.

    Here are some finger foods your little adventurer may like:

    • Fairly soft toast or bread soldiers (pita bread is good too)
    • meatballs or strips of cooked meat
    • Slices of soft, ripe, peeled fruit
    • Cooked vegetable pieces
    • Small cubes of cheese
    • Cooked pasta shapes


    Q. What equipment do I need to prepare solids?

    An electric hand held blender can be a real blessing around this time. They’re great for puréeing small amount of food at a time.

    Mini freezer pots are also convenient, or you can make up batches of fruit and vegetable purées in ice cube trays. When they’re frozen, pop them out, and put them in freezer bags so you can write the date on them.


    Q. When to I start introducing lumps to my baby’s diet?

    If they’re happily taking purees from a spoon, you can start introducing lumps or more interesting mashed textures to your baby’s food. This is usually around seven months onwards.  Try soft lumps in thick puree for now, maybe something like a mashed banana. Harder lumps, like whole peas in a sauce will be too much for them and they’ll run the risk of choking.

These soft lumps and mashes will help them learn to chew, and encourage tongue flexibility and movement. Most babies can learn to chew soft lumps, even if their teeth have not come through yet. If they experience foods with lumps now, it may make them less likely to reject lumpy food later on.


    Q. How do I cope with a fussy eater?

    It is very normal for your baby to go through a fussy period - don’t feel like it’s a reflection of your parenting skills. Of course it can be frustrating, but the key is to be patient with them - they’re too young to understand what they’re doing. Here are a few tips to help you deal with a fussy baby in a positive way.

    • Spoiled appetites  - Milk is the best drink at this stage. Start to offer water with or after a meal so baby doesn’t get too full. Don’t offer sugary drinks like juice, and cordials as these provide sugar with not much other nutrition. Don’t force it - try to recognise when your baby has had enough to eat.  Signs might include turning  their head away, refusing to open their mouth, crying and pushing the bowl or spoon away.
    • Keep it low key  – try to keep meal times relaxed, and don’t let them drag on for too long. Babies usually won’t want to eat for more than 20 minutes in one go.
    • Small is good  - keep portions small and include a variety of tastes, textures and colours where you can.
    • Don’t force it  – by forcing your baby to finish what is on their plate you teach them to ignore their own fullness signals which can lead to overeating when they are older.  Your baby has an inbuilt appetite for food and knows when they have eaten enough.  It is important not to force your baby to eat. Mealtimes should be enjoyable.
    • Smile! - babies read their parents faces. If you have a frown or grumpy face as you are offering food to your baby, they will think there is something is wrong.  Remember - there’s no need to stress about your baby's eating habits. Babies will actually pick up your anxiety. If on the odd occasion they don’t seem to eat much, it’s not a big deal. If they’re gaining weight and seem well, then they’re probably getting enough food.


    Q. Can I stop my baby from becoming a fussy eater?

    Fussy eating is a normal developmental phase for your baby to go through - don’t feel like it’s a reflection on your parenting skills. Babies tend to be suspicious of new foods because they are unfamiliar with them. Generally, the more variety and exposure a baby gets to new foods, the less fussy they will probably be.

    Of course it can get frustrating, but the key is to be patient with them. They’re too little to understand what they’re doing.


    Q. A full tummy: how do I know if my baby has had enough to eat?

    As your baby gets older you can start to wonder if you’re giving them the right amount of food – especially if they’re now having solids. Luckily, babies and toddlers have a pretty good idea of when they’ve had enough and when they’re still hungry, so let them guide you. 
It might seem like they’re not getting enough, but remember they have little tummies. They’re probably eating the right amount.

    Odds are they’ve had enough when:

    • Flat out refusal - refusing to swallow, spitting food out, pushing their bowl away, refusing to open their mouth or turning or shaking their head.   
    • General unhappiness – noises, faces and gestures that tell you no.
    • Waterworks kick in - crying or shouting can tell you they’re full.


    Q. Textures, colours and tastes: why do I need variety in baby meals?

    Introducing your little one to a variety of foods will encourage them to eat well and get plenty of nutrients, but it’s also an opportunity for fun and exploration.

    It’ll help them start out with healthy eating habits and be more open to new things. Virtually all children will go through a period of being a ‘fussy eater’ and keeping a variety of foods in their diet might reduce this.

    Here are a few tips to help you out:

    • Food rainbow  – if you can, include a range of different coloured foods to keep things interesting and fun, for example carrots, avocado and kumara.
    • Be persistent  – you might need to offer some foods a number of times. Even if they reject it to start off with they might enjoy it later. Sometimes babies need to be offered food 8 to 15 times before they try it and like it.
    • Variety  – include a range of flavours and textures if you can. It’ll help make them a more confident eater and be open to new things.
    • Adding lumps – once your baby is confidently eating purees, you can increase the texture to include mashed food with soft lumps.
    • Family meal times – sitting down to eat as a family can encourage a more fun social experience. 
    • Food is fun - your baby might want to play with their food and try to feed his or herself – this is good thing! Let them get messy and encourage self-feeding by letting your baby hold the spoon. Food is a whole new world to be explored and they’ll want to experience it with all their senses (touch, taste, see).


    Q. How many solid feeds a day?

    Once your baby is happily eating around ½ cup (or more) at each solid feed, you can progress  to three meals a day. As they get a bit older you can even give them a small snack in between meals too.

    Luckily, babies have a pretty good idea of when they’re full and when still they’re hungry, so let them guide you.

    Remember to offer solids after a milk feed at this stage, and then when baby is around 8-9 months old, you can offer solids before milk.


    Q. How much do I feed my baby when they first start solids?

    In the early stages of introducing solids, the main goal is for your baby to become used to taking food from a spoon. You don’t need to give them too much food, as they'll still be getting most of their nutrition from milk. To start off with they will probably only be able to eat small amounts anyway.

To start with offer one meal of solids a day, after baby’s normal milk feed. They will still need as much breast milk or formula as usual.

    • Messy meal times -  you might find food gets everywhere but into your baby's mouth! Prepare just a small amount of food to begin with and put a small amount on the spoon, maybe  offer just ½-1 teaspoon on the first day. You can always heat up more food if your baby still seems hungry afterwards. Go at your baby's pace - they'll decide when they have had enough.
    • Slow increases are best - over the next few weeks, you can gradually increase the amount of solids you give your baby, but always offer food after their milk feed. When baby is eating around ½ a cup of food at one meal, offer a second meal, and then eventually progress to three meals a day. Aim to be feeding baby two to three meals a day at around seven months.
    • Easy does it  – every baby is different, so let their appetite guide you. Try introducing one food at a time and stick with it for two to four days before adding a new food.
    • More food, less milk - as your baby starts eating more solids, you may notice they want less milk. They may want fewer milk feeds, or not drink as much at each feed. Even if they appear to want less milk, it is still their most important source of nutrition so continue to offer milk before solids until your baby is around 8-9 months old.


    Q. How do I know if my baby has Allergies?

    Food allergies aren’t as common as many people think but a small number of babies can develop allergies to certain foods If your baby’s brother or sister, or either parent has a diagnosed allergy, then baby has a higher risk of developing an allergy as well.

    Symptoms might be diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, swelling and skin rashes. They don’t always come on straight away, they can sometimes take a couple of hours to become obvious. In very rare cases serious food allergies can lead to anaphylaxis, which can cause swelling of the throat and mouth, restricting the airways and can be life threatening.

    Breastfeeding lowers the risk of allergy in babies:

    • Breastfeed  –breastfeed your baby for at least the first six months, and continue to breastfeed for as long as you can after you have introduced solids. Don’t introduce solids before 4 months.
    • Take it slowly –when your baby starts solids, introduce just one new food at a time. Try a new food for 2-4 days to see how your baby tolerates it, then you can try another food.

    There is no reason to delay introducing any foods to your baby unless you know they have a diagnosed allergy to a certain food.

    If you do suspect your baby has a food allergy, make sure you talk to your health professional or a dietitian before you start changing their diet-you don’t want your baby to miss out on important and nutritious foods for no good reason.


    Q. Very first tastes…

    It’s recommended that you breastfeed for the first six months of your baby's life, but all babies are different. Your little one might be ready for solids before six months – chat to your health professional about it. Just remember that babies under 4 months are not ready for solids.

    If your baby is showing signs he or she is ready for solids before six months, here are a few suitable food choices to start with:

    • Cooked pureed pumpkin,sweet potato, and carrot (no skins)
    • Ripe, smooth mashed avocado and banana
    • Cooked pureed apple and pear (no skins and pips)
    • Baby rice cereal prepared with breast milk, formula or water


    Q. What time of day is good to start baby on solids?

    Choose a time when you and your baby are both feeling relaxed and not too tired, maybe after a mid-morning or mid-afternoon milk feed. Try sitting baby in your lap, tucking one of their arms behind you and holding onto the other one gently or you feed your baby in a high chair if they are strong enough and have good head control.


    Q. How can I tell if my baby is ready for solids?

    Every baby is different, so the right time to introduce solids will vary, and you definitely don't need to rush it. Until they're around six months old, your baby will get most of the nourishment they need from milk. Babies will be ready for solids at some time between four and six months, but make sure you don’t introduce foods too early (before four months) because their digestive system isn’t ready.

    It’s best not to leave introducing solids later than six months, as your baby could miss out on some very important nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. You should also seek advice if your baby was born prematurely as their timeline for solids will be different.

Here are some of the signs your baby may be ready for solids:

    Can I have some of yours?  - they will start showing an interest in what you’re eating, leaning forward or even reaching out for the food on your plate

    • Milk isn’t enough  - you may notice they don’t seem satisfied after a milk feed. Your baby may still seem hungry and cry, or show signs they want more milk. If your baby is showing these signs before four months, it is too early to introduce solids and baby may need more frequent or larger milk feeds, but after 4 months, these signs may be an indication your baby is ready to start solids.
    • Waking at night  – they may start waking up hungry during the night when they used to sleep right the way through.
    • Mouthing stuff  – they’ll often put toys up or their hands up to their mouths. They’ll also open their mouths easily if you put their spoon up to their lips.
    • Bigger and stronger – your baby can hold their head up and they’re roughly double their birth weight.

    Remember, all babies are different, and will progress at their own pace. Don’t worry if your baby decides to do things a little differently.

    If your baby is showing these signs before four months, talk to your health professional. They won’t be ready for solids yet, but may need more milk.


    Q. What are the best solids to start with

    Your baby has more taste buds than you do, so even something that seems to taste bland to adults can be a flavour sensation to your baby! Remember eating solids is a new experience and babies will need time to get used to trying new foods.

     

    Try small amounts of a single ingredient food to start off with, like Farex Rice Cereal prepared with milk (breast or formula) or water. You can also try a single type of fruit or veges, cooked and pureed until smooth. Pumpkin, potato, sweet potato and carrot are all good choices of vegetables. If you're offering your baby fruit try cooked and pureed apple or pear. Heinz Baby Foods with the blue lids are all suitable first foods - that's the consistency you are aiming for. Babies (like so many of us) tend to prefer sweet foods. To get them into good habits it might be helpful to start them off with a variety of veges as well as fruit, that way they learn to accept both. Pumpkin is a popular first vegetable.


    Q. The big reheat: does microwave cooking destroy vitamins


    The truth is any type of cooking (boiling, microwaving and steaming) will result in some loss of nutrients. For example Vitamin C content of vegetables is often reduced in the cooking process, especially if you boil the vegetables and tip out the water. Microwave cooking doesn’t destroy more nutrients than other kinds of cooking.  In fact cooking sometimes makes some nutrients more easy to absorb.


    When you reheat food in the microwave, make sure you stir it really well and test the temperature of every dish  before giving it to your baby.   


    Q. Extra liquids: what does your baby need


    Breastfed babies get most of the fluid they need from breastmilk for around the first six months. Sometimes babies on formula may need a little extra water in between milk feeds, especially in hot weather.


    From six months onwards, it is a good idea to get your baby learning to take water out of a cup. You can offer a small cup of water with meals, or after a meal so they don’t get too full.


    Don’t offer juice, cordial or fizz as it’s too high in sugar and can encourage baby to get used to the taste of sweet foods.


    Q. How often should I give my baby meat

    There are no hard and fast rules for how much meat to give or how often. But meat, chicken and fish can all be introduced as first foods (around six months), once your baby is happy eating other solids like fruit and vegetables. To start with, aim to offer them cooked, pureed meat (as part of a meal) five days out of seven. It’s an excellent source of iron and very important for babies, especially from six months onwards. 




    Q. When can I give my baby cow's milk

    Babies aren't ready for cow's milk as a main drink until they're 12 months or older. That’s because it contains too little iron, and doesn’t have the right balance of other nutrients that breast milk or infant formulas do. 

Once your baby becomes a toddler (more than a year old), their digestive systems will be able to handle it. In the meantime stick to breast milk, infant or follow-on formula.

After 12 months, cow's milk can be given as a main milk drink but it is should be full fat until your toddler is two years old.  Later on you can introduce reduced fat milk (light blue top) not trim milk (green top) from two years if your toddler is a good eater and has a varied diet.


    Q. Not loving lumps: why does my baby gag on solids

    Gagging or being sick when you try to introduce lumpy is a very natural reaction for your baby.  Gagging is designed to help protect the baby’s airways.  Start by offering food with the texture of a well mashed banana.  Lumps should be small and soft, and in a thick puree. Avoid solid lumps in liquid (like whole peas in gravy) as your baby will have trouble separating the two in their mouths and will run the risk of choking.

It may be that your baby isn't quite ready for lumps or the lumps are a bit big - it's different for every baby. If they don't accept\ smaller, softer lumps just keep trying. Remember, your baby will progress at his or her own pace. Have a chat to your health professional if you're worried.




    Q. Can I add soft lumps to bought baby food

    Of course you can! Getting the right texture is important, but there's no reason why you can't use one your baby’s favourite jar of baby food as a base. Try mashing banana finely with a fork, or mashing cooked sweet potato or broccoli until the lumps are small and soft. Then all you need to do is mix it in with a pouch or jar of baby food. It's a great way of adding a twist to those familiar tastes.


    Q. Gluten free: is this the same as wheat free

    Gluten is a protein found in wheat, oats, rye and barley.. A gluten intolerance is different to a wheat allergy and needs to be properly diagnosed by a doctor. When a baby is sensitive to gluten, foods containing gluten can damage the lining of the digestive system which means baby can’t digest all the important nutrients from food..This could affect their growth. Gluten intolerance seems to be becoming more common, but a true intolerance needs to be properly diagnosed by a doctor.

     

    If a baby has a diagnosed wheat allergy, this means they will need to avoid foods containing wheat - but they still may be able to eat other grains such as oats and barley. It’s not a very common allergy. Make sure you read the ingredients very thoroughly if your little one has a diagnosed wheat allergy or gluten intolerance. It’s a good idea to consult a dietitian who can work out a meal plan of foods your baby can eat to make sure they don’t miss out on any important nutrients. The great news is that all Heinz baby food products are clearly labeled and it'll say on the packaging if they contain ingredients like gluten or, wheat.


    Q. Not loving lumps: why does my baby gag on solids

    Gagging or being sick when you try to introduce lumpy is a very natural reaction for your baby.  Gagging is designed to help protect the baby’s airways.  Start by offering food with the texture of a well mashed banana.  Lumps should be small and soft, and in a thick puree. Avoid solid lumps in liquid (like whole peas in gravy) as your baby will have trouble separating the two in their mouths and will run the risk of choking.

It may be that your baby isn't quite ready for lumps or the lumps are a bit big - it's different for every baby. If they don't accept\ smaller, softer lumps just keep trying. Remember, your baby will progress at his or her own pace. Have a chat to your health professional if you're worried.




    Q. How often should I give my baby meat

    There are no hard and fast rules for how much meat to give or how often. But meat, chicken and fish can all be introduced as first foods (around six months), once your baby is happy eating other solids like fruit and vegetables. To start with, aim to offer them cooked, pureed meat (as part of a meal) five days out of seven. It’s an excellent source of iron and very important for babies, especially from six months onwards. 




    Q. Extra liquids: what does your baby need


    Breastfed babies get most of the fluid they need from breastmilk for around the first six months. Sometimes babies on formula may need a little extra water in between milk feeds, especially in hot weather.


    From six months onwards, it is a good idea to get your baby learning to take water out of a cup. You can offer a small cup of water with meals, or after a meal so they don’t get too full.


    Don’t offer juice, cordial or fizz as it’s too high in sugar and can encourage baby to get used to the taste of sweet foods.


    Q. When can I give my baby cow's milk

    Babies aren't ready for cow's milk as a main drink until they're 12 months or older. That’s because it contains too little iron, and doesn’t have the right balance of other nutrients that breast milk or infant formulas do. 

Once your baby becomes a toddler (more than a year old), their digestive systems will be able to handle it. In the meantime stick to breast milk, infant or follow-on formula.

After 12 months, cow's milk can be given as a main milk drink but it is should be full fat until your toddler is two years old.  Later on you can introduce reduced fat milk (light blue top) not trim milk (green top) from two years if your toddler is a good eater and has a varied diet.


    Q. The big reheat: does microwave cooking destroy vitamins

    The truth is any type of cooking (boiling, microwaving and steaming) will result in some loss of nutrients. For example Vitamin C content of vegetables is often reduced in the cooking process, especially if you boil the vegetables and tip out the water. Microwave cooking doesn’t destroy more nutrients than other kinds of cooking.  In fact cooking sometimes makes some nutrients more easy to absorb.

    When you reheat food in the microwave, make sure you stir it really well and test the temperature of every dish  before giving it to your baby.   


    Q. Can I add soft lumps to bought baby food

    Of course you can! Getting the right texture is important, but there's no reason why you can't use one your baby’s favourite jar of baby food as a base. Try mashing banana finely with a fork, or mashing cooked sweet potato or broccoli until the lumps are small and soft. Then all you need to do is mix it in with a pouch or jar of baby food. It's a great way of adding a twist to those familiar tastes.


    Q. Gluten free: is this the same as wheat free

    Gluten is a protein found in wheat, oats, rye and barley.. A gluten intolerance is different to a wheat allergy and needs to be properly diagnosed by a doctor. When a baby is sensitive to gluten, foods containing gluten can damage the lining of the digestive system which means baby can’t digest all the important nutrients from food..This could affect their growth. Gluten intolerance seems to be becoming more common, but a true intolerance needs to be properly diagnosed by a doctor.

     

    If a baby has a diagnosed wheat allergy, this means they will need to avoid foods containing wheat - but they still may be able to eat other grains such as oats and barley. It’s not a very common allergy. Make sure you read the ingredients very thoroughly if your little one has a diagnosed wheat allergy or gluten intolerance. It’s a good idea to consult a dietitian who can work out a meal plan of foods your baby can eat to make sure they don’t miss out on any important nutrients. The great news is that all Heinz baby food products are clearly labeled and it'll say on the packaging if they contain ingredients like gluten or, wheat


    Q. How can I teach my toddler good table manners?


    Good manners are built up over time, they’re not something your toddler will learn in one go. Be persistent, be patient, and here are a few things that might help.

    • Lead by example  - your toddler will want to be like you. Often they'll learn by watching and imitating. If you and the family show good manners to one another then your toddler can see how it’s done.
    • Walk them through it  - take time to show your toddler how to wash their hand before a meal, or how to hold a spoon. Remember while it might be second nature to you, it's all new to them.
    • Make meal times fun  - that means no arguing or yelling, no running off to watch the TV. If you make meals a positive family experience then your toddler will want to join in. They’ll also be less likely to engage in any behaviour that make them feel excluded.
    • Good versus naughty  - ignoring, or giving little attention to naughty behaviours can teach your toddler that misbehaving doesn't get a response. Similarly praising good behaviours can reinforce it’s the right thing to do.
    • Keep it simple  - if you get too carried away with praise your toddler might think they're the centre of attention at every meal. Relaxed and positive responses work best.


    Q. What age do most toddlers take their first steps?


    This really varies! You can expect most babies to learn to stand on their own somewhere around 9 to 14 months. From there they’ll slowly learn to take their few steps. If your toddler doesn’t learn until later it’s nothing to worry about.


     Somewhere between their first and second birthday you can expect them to become fairly good at walking, and eventually be able to run.


    Q. Can I give my toddler cow’s milk?


    Yes you can! Once your baby becomes a toddler (more than a year old), their digestive systems will be able to handle cow’s milk. Make sure it’s full fat milk though.


    You should avoid giving your little one light milk as a main drink, until they are over 2 years of age, as it doesn't have enough energy and nutrients that a toddler needs to grow.


    Low fat milk isn't designed for children under 5. Again, it doesn't have enough energy and nutrients for little growing bodies.


    Q. How can I get my toddler to eat vegetables?


    There’s no easy answer to this one – it takes patience, perseverance and creativity!


    Keep offering them vegetables even if they refuse to eat any. You may need to do it over and over again for your toddler to be willing to try it, let alone start to like it. Toddlers are also pretty suspicious of new foods, but this won't last forever!


    Try serving vegetables up in fun ways, like offering them up as sticks to dip in a sauce or building funny faces with them. It might also help for them to see the rest of the family being social and enjoying a vegetable dish. Inviting your toddler to join in will make them feel included.


    Be wary about mixing vegetables in with foods they love, as this can confuse them and put them off both foods altogether.


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