Parents tend to have lots of questions when it comes to starting solids. Here are some of the most common, along with our experts' advice.
Now that I've started weaning, which milk should I feed and when?
Babies need to drink breastmilk or formula until they are at least 12 months old.
After that time you might choose to switch to ordinary cows' milk - but even then, it's best to give your baby whole (full-fat) milk, rather than semi-skimmed or skimmed milk.
After age two, if your child is a good eater and has a varied diet, it's fine to switch to semi-skimmed if you like. Skimmed milk isn't a good choice for children under five years old.
How can I tell if my baby is eating enough?
Obviously all babies are different, and not all babies the same age will eat the same amount of food at mealtimes, or drink the same amount of milk. Your best bet is to follow your baby's lead – give as much as your baby needs to be satisfied and maintain a steady weight gain.
If your baby is feeling well, wetting and filling nappies regularly and putting on weight steadily, it's a safe bet that he or she is eating and drinking enough. If you have any questions about how much to feed your baby, it’s best to speak to your health visitor. For more advice, you can also watch Helen's video below.
My baby is constipated - what should I do?
Some babies may become a bit constipated during weaning, as the amount of milk they drink decreases and they start to eat more food. The first thing to do is make sure your baby is drinking plenty of fluids (offer extra water or a bit of diluted fruit juice in addition to the normal amount of milk) and eating fruit and vegetables regularly. Fruit is particularly helpful to help ease constipation: apples, apricots, peaches, plums, prunes and berries are all good choices.
You can also offer some whole grains (such as wholemeal bread, beans, lentils and whole cereals) to your baby after 6 months of age, but it's best to avoid giving them in large amounts. (They’re too bulky and may reduce your baby's energy intake.) Similarly, it's not a good idea to give bran to babies and children under 5 years, because the bulkiness can impair their ability to absorb nutrients from their food.
Helen offers some advice on what to do if your baby is constipated in her video below.
Why does my baby need iron in their diet?
Babies are born with a store of the iron they need for good health, but this gets used up by the time they are about 6 months old. That's why it's important to give your baby weaning foods that contain iron, along with vitamin C-rich foods to help them absorb all the iron in their meal.
Does my baby need extra vitamins?
If your baby is drinking 500ml of infant formula a day, you won't need to give any extra vitamins, because infant formula already contains added vitamins and minerals.
However, if your baby is over six months old and is breastfed (or is drinking less than 500ml of infant formula a day), you might want to start giving some vitamin drops containing vitamins A, C and D.
Which foods are most likely to cause allergies?
If there is a history of allergies such as asthma or eczema in your baby's close family, it's a good idea to speak to your GP, health visitor or allergy specialist before giving your baby peanut products, such as peanut butter or groundnut (peanut) oil.
The other foods most likely to trigger food allergies are milk, egg, soya, wheat and other cereals that contain gluten, such as rye and barley.
My baby got a bit of a rash after trying a specific food – is it an allergy?
Some babies react a little bit when they eat certain foods - they might have a tummy upset, or develop a rash around the mouth where the food has been in contact. Unless you notice other symptoms at the same time, such as wheezing, redness, or vomiting, it's possible that your baby's reaction is just a ‘transient' intolerance, which often goes away with age. (Our HiPP Advice Centre has more information about how to identify food allergies and intolerances.)
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. It's not harmful, but young babies can be sensitive to it, so it's best to avoid these cereals or foods containing them (such as pasta, bread, wheat breakfast cereals, rusks, etc.) until your baby is at least 6 months old.
All ready-made baby foods give full information on the pack about when they can be given and whether they contain gluten.
My baby refuses to eat lumpy food - what can I do?
Once your baby has learned to eat smooth foods from a spoon, it's important to move on to foods with different textures. Babies are usually able to cope with lumpier foods from about 7 months. Offering mashed foods containing soft lumps is important at this stage as it encourages chewing, which helps to develop the muscles involved in learning to speak.
Babies don't always like the lumps at first, and they may spit them out or appear to gag on them. This is a normal part of learning to chew, and it doesn't mean your baby is choking.
However, it has to be said that choking is always a possibility, so for safety's sake never leave your child alone with food. If you think your baby might be choking, follow the NHS advice for helping a choking baby or child.
Why is vitamin and mineral content not listed on HiPP products?
The Organic Food Regulations prohibit adding vitamins and minerals to organic baby foods (with the exception of thiamin in cereal-based foods and vitamin C in some fruit juices). This means the only vitamins and minerals in our foods are found naturally in the delicious organic ingredients we use to make them!
We use cooking methods designed to retain that natural nutrition, such as using the minimum amount of water necessary to cook the ingredients and the shortest cooking time possible.
We do all this so you can be certain that all our recipes are packed with as much natural goodness as possible!
How can your products have such a long shelf life but not contain any artificial preservatives?
The food in our jars is sterilised for a short period at a high temperature inside vacuum-sealed jars, and this ensures that no bacteria or moulds are present inside the jar to cause food spoilage. The integrity of the vacuum seal guarantees the quality of our products – and it means we don't need to use any artificial preservatives. Win-win!
How much fruit and veg should my baby be eating?
This is a great question – but a complicated one. Read our guide to fruit and veg portions for advice that's tailored to your baby's age and stage of development.
What is omega 3?
Omega 3 unsaturated fats play an essential role in the body. They are an important component of the brain and nerve tissue, so they're very important for the brain and nerve tissue development that happens during infancy.
To make sure your baby's getting enough Omega 3, we've added rapeseed oil to our stage 1, 2 & 3 savoury jars*. Rapeseed oil provides alpha-linolenic acid, which is converted to omega 3 in the body. Each jar contains at least 25% of the daily reference value for ALA (= 0.39g per day for 4-12 month olds).
*except Tender Carrots & Potatoes and Pasta in a Ham & Tomato Sauce.
Can I freeze HiPP Organic baby foods?
We do not usually recommend freezing our products because of the risk of bacterial contamination. However, it is technically possible as long as all hands and utensils are thoroughly cleaned beforehand, and the frozen food is defrosted slowly in the refrigerator.