Frequently Asked Questions: Stage 2

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.   

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.

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 kumara or broccoli until the lumps are small and soft. Then all you need to do is mix it in with a can or jar of baby food. It's a great way of adding a twist to those familiar tastes. 

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. 

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 Wattie's baby food products are clearly labeled and it'll say on the packaging if they contain ingredients like gluten or, wheat.

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.

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.