Introducing solid food to your baby is an exciting time. We had a full-on photoshoot in a highchair, and that went just about as well as one could expect. We have used different provincial health recommendations for food stages, so if there is ever any doubt please consult with your health practitioner. Enjoy every minute of re-discovering these foods yourself, and have fun with the pure flavours!
Feeding Baby From birth to 6 months of age
Breast milk is the best food for your baby. Babies who are not breastfed should be offered iron-fortified infant formula. Babies do not need solid foods until they are 6 months of age.
Breastfed babies need 400 IU of vitamin D each day from a vitamin supplement. Formula-fed babies can get enough vitamin D from formula. If your baby drinks both breast milk and formula, ask a dietitian or your doctor if your baby needs a vitamin D supplement.
Why start foods at 6 months?
At 6 months old your baby needs more nutrients, especially iron. Your baby needs to try different tastes and textures. Most babies are ready for solid foods. Signs of readiness include:
- Baby sits and holds their head up, and
- Watches and opens their mouth for the spoon, and
- Does not push food out with their tongue
High nitrate vegetables such as beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, spinach and turnips should not be offered until after 6 months of age.
How much should I offer my baby?
Let your baby decide how much to eat. When feeding your baby, look for signs of hunger and fullness.
Your baby will shut their mouth, turn their head, or push food away when they have had enough to eat.
Don’t force your baby to eat more when they have had enough.
Babies who are still hungry will continue to open their mouths for food and may be upset when the food is taken away. Use the amounts of food listed here as a general guideline only.
How do I start introducing solid foods to my baby?
- Offer one new food at a time.
- Wait at least 3 days before adding another new food.
- Do not put cereal or other solids in a bottle.
Baby Food from 6 to 9 months of age
Continue to breastfeed or offer iron-fortified infant formula whenever your baby is hungry, about 720-1250ml (24-40 oz.) each day. As your baby eats more solids, they will gradually drink less breast milk or formula.
Sips of water may be offered in a cup, but don’t let your baby fill up on water.
Your baby does not need juice. If offering juice, limit to 60ml (1/4 cup) per day, served in a cup. Offer 100 percent juice only.
When starting solids, choose a time when baby is content, interested and alert. Begin by offering solids 1-2 times per day and increase to 3-4 times per day. Sit down and eat with your baby.
Start with small amounts of high iron foods like iron-fortified infant cereal or well-cooked finely minced meat, poultry or fish. Mix with breast milk, formula or water.
Use a single grain iron-fortified infant cereal to start with.
Gradually increase cereal to about 60-125ml (4-8 Tbsp) each day.
If your baby does not eat meat, aim for at least 125ml (8 Tbsp) of cereal, on average, each day by 9 months of age.
Offer cooked, well-mashed vegetables like yams, sweet potatoes, potatoes, squash, carrots and mashed fruit like pears, peaches, and bananas. Start with small amounts and gradually increase to about 60-125ml (4-8 Tbsp) per day.
Continue to offer meat, poultry and fish, while adding other high iron foods like cooked egg yolk, lentils, beans, and tofu – about 100ml (6 Tbsp) total per day.
Around 9 months, try cottage cheese, plain yogurt, and pasteurized cheeses.
Pureed foods are not needed. Baby can enjoy mashed foods and finger foods before teeth appear.
Finger foods for your baby
- Pieces of cooked vegetables or soft fruit without the peel (like potato, yam, avocado, apricot, pear, banana, peach, and plum).
- Strips of toast, cooked rice, cooked pasta
- “oat rings” cereal.
Baby Foods From 9 to 12 Months of age
Breast milk or iron-fortified formula – about 720-840mL (24-28 oz) per day.
Offer water in a cup.
Your baby does not need juice. If offering juice, limit to 60-125mL (1/4-1/2 cup) per day, served in a cup. Offer 100% juice only.
Do not let your baby sip on juice (or diluted juice) between meals or snacks as this can cause tooth decay.
Offer foods 3 to 4 times per day. Offer solid foods before breast or formula feeding.
Iron-fortified infant cereal, about 125mL (1/2 cup) or more per day. Meat, fish, poultry, cooked egg yolk, lentils, beans, and tofu – about 100-125mL (6-8 Tbsp) total per day. Soft vegetables and fruit – about 125-250mL (1/2-1 cup) per day. Let baby try self-feeding with fingers or a spoon.
By 1 year of age your baby can eat the same meals as the rest of the family (except foods that may cause choking – see safety tips below)
Health professionals recommend that egg white not be given to babies until 1 year of age to lower the chance of an allergic reaction.
What about cow’s milk?
Breastfeeding is recommended until your baby is 2 years-old and beyond. When your baby is 9-12 months old and taking a variety of iron rich solid foods, it is okay to start substituting whole milk for breast milk or formula. Whole mil may be substituted for breast milk or formula when your baby is 1 year old.
Babies and toddlers need fat for brain development, so choose whole milk until 2 years of age. Lower-fat milk (1% and 2%) can be offered after 2 years of age. Other drinks such as soy or rice beverages may be offered after 2 years of age, but check the label to make sure they are fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
If you choose whole goat milk, make sure it is pasteurized. Most goat milk does not contain vitamin D, in which case your baby would need a vitamin D supplement.
Tips for enjoyable mealtimes
Help your baby develop healthy food habits and a relaxed feeling about eating.
Offer food at the same times each day.Sit down and eat with your child. Babies and children enjoy company while eating.
You decide what foods to offer.Let your baby decide how much and whether to eat.
Expect a mess. It is part of learning to eat!
If you have questions or concerns about feeding your baby solids, talk to a registered dietitian.
Baby Feeding Safety Tips
Always stay with your baby while he or she is eating or drinking.
Do not give foods that can cause choking such as popcorn, peanuts, nuts, hard candies, hard raw vegetables like carrots, whole marshmallows, jellybeans, globs of peanut butter, ice cubes, and chips.
Hot dogs and grapes should be sliced lengthwise first, and then into small pieces.
Honey can cause botulism poisoning in babies and is not recommended for babies under 1 year of age.
Milk, juice, and soft cheeses, such as brie, camembert and feta should be pasteurized.
Are you concerned about food allergies? Talk to your baby’s doctor, a registered dietitian or a public health nurse.