From fussy eaters to happy, healthy toddlers
From fussy eaters to happy, healthy toddlers

Most toddlers become less open to trying new foods or reject foods they liked before, any time from about 12 months onwards. It can be stressful but it’s completely normal and nothing to panic about.

Why do toddlers get fussy now?

Many toddlers experience a fear of new foods known by experts as neophobia.  It’s thought to be a survival mechanism, left over from thousands of years ago to protect them from eating unfamiliar foods that may be poisonous.

My little one’s getting fussy. What can I do?

Keep offering things they’ve rejected, along with their favourites. They will usually change their minds and eat many of these foods again.

In some cases, your toddler may only want to eat a very limited range of foods. If this happens, remember that most toddlers can regulate how much food they actually need – and they still have tiny tummies. The following tips may help.

  • Try not to react – just keep offering a range of healthy options.
  • Give small portions and learn to tell when your toddler has had enough.
  • Praise your toddler if they try everything and allow them to stop when they have had enough.
  • Don’t comment about any leftovers. Simply take them away.

 

Encourage them to help themselves
Encourage them to help themselves

Give your toddler plenty of goes at feeding themselves with a spoon or fork. Offer more and more food that they can pick up and feed themselves with and ensure there is always finger food available. Always supervise your toddler when they are eating.

What to do if you're worried

Your toddler's appetite can vary hugely from day to day, so try not to worry on those days when they appear to eat very little. They might eat poorly for several days in a row, especially if teeth are coming through.

If you’re really worried or your toddler is clearly not gaining weight, talk to your GP or healthcare professional. They will be able to spot the very rare cases that may require specialist help.


Watch out for food allergies
Watch out for food allergies

As your baby’s diet becomes more varied, it’s a good idea to look out for the signs of allergies. You can never be too careful.

Look for the symptoms

Symptoms of a food allergy are due to the body’s immune system trying to tackle the food. They can include diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, swelling and rashes. These symptoms may develop straight away, or several hours after eating.

In very rare and serious cases, food allergies can lead to anaphylaxis, which can cause swelling of the throat and mouth and can be life-threatening.

Is your baby at risk?

Most babies and toddlers can eat a varied diet without any problems. But, your baby is more likely to have a food allergy if either parent or their siblings have a history of food allergies, or suffer from eczema, asthma or hay fever.

What’s likely to cause an allergy

There are certain common foods likely to cause allergies – these include milk, eggs, wheat, nuts, sesame seeds, soya, lupin, celery, celeriac, mustard, sulphur/sulphates, fish, shellfish and molluscs. Avoid giving these foods until 6 months, and then introduce them one at a time so you can monitor your baby's reaction. Whole nuts should be avoided until your child is five years old because of the risk of choking.

Avoid possible peanut allergies

If your baby’s close family have eczema, asthma, hay fever of any other food allergy, it might be an idea to avoid peanuts when you’re breast feeding. It’s also wise to wait until your little one is at least 3 months old, before giving them any foods that may contain peanuts. Make sure you check packets for any traces of peanut.

Always check labels

If a product contains one of the common allergens, it will be clearly labelled in the ingredients list or often in a separate "contains" box. Make sure you check!

Family celebrations
Family celebrations

Family occasions are always a great get-together, and even more fun when there’s a little one around. But with family celebrations come noise and extra stimulation – and that can upset your baby’s routine. Stick to a few simple rules, such as keeping usual sleep, nap and meal times to help you have less tears and more fun.

 

Fun food ideas

 

Typical party food isn’t always ideal for little mouths, so here are some handy tips on how to turn your baby’s usual food into fun food!

  • Finger foods such as mini sandwiches – without the crusts from 12 months
  • Tuna flakes with mini pasta – small shells or bows are ideal from 10-12 months
  • Satsuma segments – cut in half for little fingers to manage from 10-12 months
  • Banana slices – perfect for picking up from 10-12 months
  • Heinz Biscotti – its dissolving texture is ideal from 6 months
  • Soft-cooked vegetables – carrot batons, courgette slices etc. from 4-6 months
  • Other soft fruits and vegetables – avocado cubes, cucumber sticks, mini halved tomatoes, melon cubes from 4-6 months

In case they have any difficulties swallowing, never leave your child to eat on their own.

If you fancy getting creative in the kitchen, our recipe section is packed full of fun food inspiration. Here are some of our top tasty recipes we think your little one will love:

1. Smiley face bagels: A super sandwich idea to make your little one smile.

2. Moreish mini beef burgers: Great for the whole family and makes the youngest members feel included.

3. Oat and orange fingers: A fibre-friendly oaty biscuit – something everyone can enjoy.

4. Fabulous fruit kebabs: A colourful feast and a tasty dessert.

5. Tasty fish goujons: Not only are these healthy but they make a great finger food too.

 

 

Your baby’s first Christmas

Family celebrations are one thing but Christmas is something else!

Being their first Christmas, your little one is bound to be the centre of attention. And that means lots of extra attention, noise and stimulation. Just like any other family gathering, the best thing to do is try to make sure your baby’s routine is disrupted as little as possible.

 

Here are some useful tips on feeds needs and sleeps to help you at any celebration but are particularly helpful over the festive season when every day seems a party day.

  • Try to keep your baby’s bedtime routine consistent. Your little one will be more likely to sleep, even with all the excitement going on around them.
  • If you go out in the evening with your baby, try to go through the usual bedtime routine at home. When you're out feed them at the usual times so that by the time you get home, your baby will be ready to go straight to bed.
  • During the daytime, try to do a wind-down routine in a quiet room before any naps so that your baby takes a break from the excitement to prepare for sleep.
  • If you’re travelling long distance over Christmas, it’s an idea to plan the journey around your baby’s routine. Little ones usually sleep well in the car, so make the most of it!

 

Your little one’s first Christmas dinner

Have a go at making baby's first Christmas dinner with our easy recipe that's baby friendly and just as yummy as your own meal!

Or alternatively, why not stir a little cranberry sauce through a chicken and vegetable baby food jar, pot, home-cooked meal or pouch, for a festive twist?

Keep little hands away from sweets and treats – just stick to your little one’s main meals. We know it’s hard, even for adults, but a rule worth sticking to.

Merry Christmas!

Cooking for kids made easy
Cooking for kids made easy

Making food for your little one

Making food for your baby may seem quite daunting at first. Don’t worry, it’s not. With the right kitchen equipment and a little know-how it’s both simple and satisfying.

It’s a good idea to begin early weaning with smooth purees made from baby rice, fruit or vegetables – perhaps apple and pear, or carrot and parsnip.

Making a fruit puree

Firstly, peel, and if needed, core your fruit. Then finely chop it. Next, heat gently in a pan with a tablespoon of water. When it’s soft, puree until nice and smooth with a blender, food processor or a sieve. Finally, simply add a teaspoon or two of your baby’s usual milk to get the consistency just right.

Making a vegetable puree

Peel and chop your vegetables. Next, cook until soft. You can steam, boil or microwave – whichever is easiest. When it is soft, puree until nice and smooth with a blender, food processor or a sieve. Once again, simply add a teaspoon or two of your baby’s usual milk to get the right consistency.

Time for lumps

When you think your little one is ready, why not introduce soft lumps to their food at mealtimes? Simply mash soft fruits, cooked vegetables, or pasta with a fork. You can always vary the texture – just add minced chicken or meat, fish or beans.

Easy, healthy ways to cook

The best way to keep all the delicious flavour and goodness of fresh fruit and vegetables is to steam them. It’s only too easy to overcook food and boil out all the goodness.

If you do boil your baby’s fruit and veg, it’s a good idea to use as little water as possible. Naturally, how long you boil food for depends on what you’re cooking. A good way to tell if food is ready is to use a knife – piercing to check to see how soft or hard your fruit or veg is. Then, just mix with some of your leftover boiled water to make the puree.

Baking is a fuss-free way to cook potatoes, sweet potatoes, apples, pears or butternut squash. Simply bake until soft, then scoop out the flesh and mash with some baby milk. Ideal for time-pressed mums.

Kitchen gadgets useful to have

A baby food grinder, or a mouli - basically, this is a hand-turned food mill. It’s great for pureeing foods like peas, chickpeas or dried apricots. It even gets rid of the skins.

An electric hand blender is ideal for pureeing small quantities of food, while a food processor is best for making larger quantities, which can be frozen.

If you are freezing batches of food, you’ll find food cube trays are brilliant. Or you could use ice cube trays. Simply cover before freezing. Mini freezer pots are also good for freezing larger amounts of food for older babies. All will help you save time and hassle.

Golden rules when preparing and storing your little one’s food

As a new mum, we appreciate there’s lots to remember when you’re getting food ready for your baby, or making batches of food to store. Which is always a great idea. Here are some top tips on what to do and what to avoid.

  • If you’re using ready-made food, place the jar, can or pouch in a bowl of warm water to gently warm it through
  • If you do use a microwave to heat your little one’s food, make sure you thoroughly stir it through to get rid of any ‘hot spots’ and test the temperature before feeding
  • Use a clean spoon to place a small amount of food into your baby’s bowl
  • Don’t add anything extra to your baby’s food, such as salt, sugar or honey
  • Never keep uneaten food from your little one’s bowl. Saliva from your baby’s mouth will be in the food so it’s unsafe to keep
  • Store freshly cooked, or uneaten baby food at the back of the fridge for up to 48 hours only, then throw it away

Freezing food for your baby – do’s and don’ts

Freezing food is a great way to make meal times easier. Just make sure you follow some basic rules when freezing and defrosting your little one’s favourite pureed dishes.

Once food has cooled down, freeze it as soon as you can. Your freezer should be -18°C  (0°F) or below.

You’ll find it a good idea to clearly label food with contents and date – fruit and veg purees keep for up to eight weeks.

Make sure you always thoroughly thaw your baby’s food – either in the fridge, heating gentle in a pan or defrosting in the microwave. And always reheat food thoroughly, being sure to check its temperature. Little mouths are sensitive.  If you use a microwave, stir your little one’s food to get rid of any nasty hot spots.

And remember, don’t refreeze meals that have already been frozen, or heat defrosted foods more than once.

If you’re freezing one of our delicious Heinz baby food meals, you’ll find all the information you need on the packaging itself. Or, if you prefer, have a read through the product section on our website.
Enjoy travelling with your little one
Enjoy travelling with your little one

Whether you’re out for the day or out of the country, travelling with your baby can be a journey of discovery in itself.

There’s loads to think about. Some things obvious. Some not. So here are our top tips to help you on your way and end your journey with a smile.

Milk on the move

It’s always a good idea to carry your baby’s usual milk in an insulated bottle bag with an ice pack – it’ll stay cool and fresh. But remember, don’t put warm, prepared foods in the carrier. They could warm the milk up and might upset your little one’s tummy – not good if you’re travelling!

If you use formula milk, pack empty, sterilised bottles. And ready-to-use cartons are always a handy option.

Keep your little one calm in the car

There’s nothing worse than an upset baby when you’re trying to drive, so it pays to do all you can to keep things calm. Always use a properly secured safety seat. If you need to see to your little person, pull over somewhere safe first. Naturally, if you’re going on a long journey, it makes sense to pack enough food and milk for your little one. To find out more about the law and kids in cars, visit the Directgov website.

Peace on the plane

Airports can be unpredictable places. So it makes sense to pack extra food, clothes and nappies, just in case of delays. Also, take-off and landing can upset little ears so time these with a feed to help them get comfortable. Pack individual bags with wipes and nappies to make changing on the go easier.

Restrictions on liquids can make getting through security tricky but you’re allowed to take enough sterilised water (in a bottle), formula or expressed milk and baby food for the flight in your hand luggage.

Fuss-free flying with Boots

If you’re not able to squeeze your little one’s food into your hand luggage there is an alternative. Boots now offer a baby food ‘order and collect’ service at airports across the country. How handy is that? To order just call the Boots store in the airport you're flying from 10-14 days before your journey. You can find all the telephone numbers here or call Boots customer service on (UK) 0845 070 8090 or (ROI) 1890708091. Service may vary between branches.

Relax in the restaurant

When eating out, it may be a good idea to call and check if the restaurant has high chairs. A good tip is to always have a booster seat with you. Most places will be happy to heat up your baby’s food – just check the temperature before feeding.

Travel essentials

Finger foods, pouches or jars of baby food.  Bottles/cup and formula milk for bottle feeding. Weaning spoons and bowls. Bibs and baby wipes. Nappies, nappy bags and changing mat. A change of clothes. Antibacterial wipes for cleaning surfaces and antibacterial hand gel for you.