How do I know when to start weaning?
How do I know when to start weaning?
Our beginner section explains some of the signs to look out for to help you decide whether to start weaning. Health Canada recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of your baby's life, and continuing for up to two years and beyond as long as mom and baby both want to continue. All babies are different and develop at different rates, so your baby may start to show signs they are ready at a different rate.

If this is the case and you think your baby may be ready to start solids, speak to your healthcare professional who will be able to advise you. Cues to look for include better head control, sitting up and leaning forward, being able to pick up food and try to put it in their mouth, and the ability to let you know they are full, such as by turning their head away from you.

Variety: the key to a balanced diet
Variety: the key to a balanced diet
As with grown-ups, the secret to a balanced diet for your little one is variety. That’s because different foods contain different nutrients your baby needs. Aiming to give your little one ‘a rainbow a day’ can help – see our age stage section to find out more. Introducing new foods and flavours is a key part of learning about the world of food, and the more flavours they try, the less likely they are to be fussy eaters later on.

That's why we introduce new flavour combinations at every stage!

Textures: what a difference they make
Textures: what a difference they make
Giving your little one the right textures at every age stage helps them learn to chew and develop the muscles they need for speech. From age six months to eight months, Health Canada recommends introducing new textures through two to three feedings and one or two snacks. It is recommended to start textures no later than nine months in order to help prevent feeding difficulties in older children.

We've worked to make sure we offer the perfect texture at every age stage – from smooth purees, through to soft mashed textures and tender little chunks.

Look out for the icons on our packs, they make it easy to choose the right texture for your little one’s stage of development.

The main age stages
The main age stages
Stage 1 (Beginner)
Single-ingredient foods

Wait about 2 days between introducing each new single-ingredient food. Your baby will get to experience new tastes and textures individually and you’ll be able to monitor for any allergic reactions.

 

Stage 2 (6+ months)
Multiple-ingredient foods
After your baby has tried the Heinz Stage 1 Beginner foods, it’s time to move to Heinz Stage 2 foods that have multiple ingredients. Such as mixed-grain cereals, cereals with fruit, mixed fruits, meats and combinations, as well as juices.

Heinz Stage 2 will introduce your baby to a wide variety of new taste experiences. Encouraging your baby to enjoy lots of different tastes can help develop lifelong healthy eating patterns.

 

Stage 3 (8+months)
Introducing Lumps
At this time, babies are generally ready to eat a bit more and start chewing. Heinz Stage 3 foods are chunkier, containing small pieces that will encourage chewing but can be swallowed whole without any difficulty. They also include more sophisticated taste combinations for your baby’s continually developing palate and come in larger sizes.

 

Stage 4 (12+months)
Toddlers
Heinz Stage 4 Foods encourage continued development of chewing skills and provide nutritious choices as your toddler transitions to regular family foods.

 

Vitamins & Minerals: why they’re important
Vitamins & Minerals: why they’re important
Even though babies only need really small amounts of vitamins in their diet, they are vital to many of the processes within the body such as:

• Growth
• Development
• The release of energy from foods
• The use of energy by muscles and other organs
• Protection of cells and tissue from the oxidative effects of free radicals (see ‘Antioxidants’)

You’ll find a healthy balanced diet contains everything your little one needs. One way to do this is to give them a daily diet made up of all the colours of the rainbow – yellow for starchy foods, brown for meats and/or legumes (beans and lentils) and reds, greens, yellows, purples and oranges for vegetables and fruit.

If your baby is exclusively or even partially breast-fed, Health Canada recommends that they should have a daily Vitamin D supplement of 10 micrograms. Please ask your health professional or pharmacist for advice.

Vitamin A helps build strong bones and teeth, supports night vision and aids healthy skin.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) releases energy from carbohydrate and aids normal growth.

Vitamins B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin) and B6 helps energy metabolism and the formation of tissue.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects against the damage of free radicals, it also plays a part in building teeth, bones, cartilage and gums.

Vitamin D improves calcium and phosphorus absorption and helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to protect the fat in body tissues from oxidation.

Antioxidants
Free radicals are unstable by-products of the chemical reactions in our body. They are a bit like little black spots which ping around the body causing damage to the surface of cells, proteins and DNA. Antioxidants are vitamins (Vitamin A, C, E) sometimes known as ACE and are the body’s superheroes – fighting the black dots.

Minerals and why your baby needs them
Minerals are split into two types, ones that we need in tiny amounts (trace elements) and ones that we need more of. Examples of trace elements are iron, zinc and selenium. The ones we need more of include calcium, phosphorus and sodium. Minerals have lots of different functions in the body.

Calcium & Phosphorous help build and maintain healthy bones and teeth

Iron helps build red blood cells (see Why your baby needs iron in the nutrition section of our Beginner stage

Zinc is a factor in energy metabolism and tissue formation

Selenium helps protect against oxidative stress

Magnesium aids in energy metabolism, tissue formation and bone development