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First Year

Last Reviewed: March 2017
Baby's First Food

Baby's First Food

These 2 printable resources will provide you information about introducing solids to your baby:

Food Textures
What kind of textures can I start with?

Offer your baby a variety of different textures:

  • Pureed (e.g., chicken with fruit)
  • Lumpy (e.g., scrambled eggs)
  • Mashed (e.g., banana with iron-fortified infant cereals)
  • Minced/Ground (e.g., well-cooked lentils)
  • Shredded (e.g., cheese with soft cooked broccoli florets)
  • Soft finger foods (e.g., pieces of soft-cooked: vegetables, tofu, deboned fish)

You don't need to prepare separate food for your baby. Offer your baby a variety of soft textures from family meals that include foods from all four Food Groups from Canada’s Food Guide.


Liquids can be offered from an open cup (cup without a lid). Liquids, such as tap water, can be offered from an open cup starting at 6 months.

Babies don’t need juice or sweetened drinks, as they can cause:

  • Dental cavities
  • Diarrhea
  • Replacement of healthy foods
  • Increase risk of obesity

Offer fruits instead of juice, it’s a healthier choice. If you decide to offer juice, then offer 100% undiluted pasteurized fruit juice in a cup (no need to purchase baby juice) and limit juice to 2-4 oz (60 – 125 mL) per day.

Between 9-12 months and when your baby is eating a variety of iron-rich foods, you can offer her homogenized whole cow milk (3.25% milk fat). Babies need the fat from milk and milk products to grow.

Full fat goat's milk can be given if it's fortified with folic acid and vitamin D.

If your baby is allergic to cow’s milk, talk to your doctor.

Babies who drink too much milk are at risk for iron deficiency, limit milk to no more than 750mL per day

Do not give your baby:

  • Low fat milk (skim, 1%, 2%), soy, rice, coconut or almond milk. These beverages do not have enough fat for babies to grow
  • Unpasteurized milk which can make your baby ill

Food Tips:

  • Offer her vegetables or fruit together with iron-rich foods to help her body absorb iron (e.g., meat or lentils with applesauce).
  • Avoid offering pre-packaged snacks such as 'baby puffs'. These foods provide little nutrition and are not a substitute for healthy finger foods.
  • Avoid or limit the use of processed meats, like deli meats or hot dogs, as they are too high in added salt.
  • Wait to offer your baby full fat plain yogurt, cottage cheese and small cubes of soft or shredded pasteurized cheese until she is eating a variety of iron-rich foods.
  • You may need to offer a new food many times before she accepts it.
  • Your baby doesn’t need teeth to eat soft finger foods.

At six months of age, breast milk is still the most important food for your baby. When your baby is about 6 months old and consistently shows the signs of readiness, he's ready for solid foods.

Iron-rich foods should be the first foods that you offer your baby. These include:

  • iron-fortified infant cereals
  • beef
  • chicken
  • turkey
  • lamb
  • fish
  • pork
  • eggs
  • tofu
  • prunes and
  • well-cooked legumes such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas

Starting Solid Foods
Your baby may want extra breast milk at times when she's going through faster periods of growth called growth spurts. That's normal. Breastfeed her when she is hungry.

  • She's not ready for solid food until about 6 months of age and when she consistently shows signs of readiness.
  • Starting solids doesn't help your baby sleep through the night.

Growth spurts are common at about:

  • 3 weeks
  • 6 weeks
  • 3 months

As your baby grows he'll want to eat more frequently and will become more active. It's important to offer tummy time throughout the day to help with his growth and development.

Foods that are most likely to cause an allergic reaction include:
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Sesame
  • Shellfish
  • Soy
  • Wheat

These foods are called "common allergen" foods.

When to start solid foods: 6 months

When your baby is about 6 months old and consistently shows signs of readiness, she's ready for solid foods. Starting solid foods too early or too late can cause problems. If you start your baby on solid foods too early, your baby may:

  • Breastfeed less often (and you will make less breast milk)
  • Stop breastfeeding too early
  • Not get all the benefits of breast milk, like protection from illness
  • Have a diet low in protein, fat, and vitamins or minerals
  • Be unable to handle solid foods, which may cause your baby to choke

If you start your baby on solid foods too late, your baby may:

  • Be slow to want to eat solid foods
  • Find it hard to chew solid foods
  • Not get all the vitamins and minerals he needs, like iron and vitamin A

How do I tell if my baby is ready for solids?

Your baby is ready to start eating solids when she consistently shows signs of readiness.

When you offer food, she should:

  • Open her mouth wide when you offer her food
  • Turn his face away if he doesn't want the food
  • Reaches for it, picks it up, and puts it in her mouth
  • Leans forward when the food is offered

What to do if your baby doesn't want to eat solid foods?

At first your baby may not want to try new foods. She may close her mouth before you feed her or turn her head away.

  • If she shows you that she doesn't like or want the food, stop feeding her that food. Try it again another day.
  • Your baby may need to try new food a few times before she likes it.
  • Keep feeding time pleasant. If your baby feels pressured to eat, she may not want to try other new foods.
  • Each baby is different. Try not to compare your baby to other babies. Follow your baby's feeding cues.

How to start solid food

  • Enjoy your baby's meal time, without the distractions of TV or toys.
  • Start a new food when your baby is happy and hungry.
  • Foods that are not common allergen foods (e.g. fruits, vegetables, beans, meat) can be introduced together and without a waiting period.
  • Offer one common allergen food (e.g. peanuts, fish, wheat, yogurt, cheese, soy and whole eggs) per day and wait two days before introducing another allergen food. *Wait until 9-12 months before introducing whole cow's milk.
  • Start new foods in the morning or at lunchtime so you can watch your baby for any food sensitivities or allergies (e.g. rash).
  • Offer iron-rich foods at least twice each day.
  • If she accepts the food, offer more, and if not, then try again the next day.
  • Continue to breastfeed throughout the day as your baby wants breast milk

It's safest to sit your baby in a feeding chair. Do up the seat belt to help keep your baby safe. Never leave your baby alone.
Safety is important so make sure you:

  • Sit your baby up straight and in a feeding chair.
  • Buckle the seat belt on the feeding chair to help keep your baby safe.
  • Never leave your baby alone because she can choke easily.
  • Stop feeding your baby if she is crying or laughing.
  • Never force your baby to eat.

How can I offer new foods if I am worried about possible food allergies?

  • Continue to breastfeed.
  • Offer one common allergen food (e.g. peanuts, fish, wheat, yogurt, cheese, soy and whole eggs) per day and wait two days before introducing another.
  • Start new foods in the morning or at lunchtime so you can watch your baby for any food sensitivities or allergies.

Signs of allergies are:

  • Signs of allergy are a rash anywhere on the body, vomiting, diarrhea, or breathing problems.
  • Signs of food allergy may take up to five days to appear.

Stop feeding the food if you think it causes any of these symptoms. Talk to your doctor. Call 911 if your baby is having trouble breathing.

For more information on food allergies and babies visit EatRight Ontario.

For more information:

Region of Peel - Public Health
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
to speak with a Public Health Nurse

Caledon residents call free of charge at 905-584-2216

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Revised: Tuesday May 03 2022

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