Introducing Solid Foods

At 6 months of age, your baby is ready to start trying some solid foods. Breast milk should continue to be an important part of your baby’s nutrition until 2 years and beyond.

The shift to solid foods is a whole new stage of feeding. Your baby is ready to experience new textures and new ways of eating. The tips below will help you prepare for this exciting time, but talk to your health care provider before you begin.

  • Remember to introduce all solid foods, including infant cereal, with a spoon. Babies can choke on solid foods in a bottle.
  • Babies may eat less than half a teaspoon at first. Spoon a small amount into a bowl or onto a plate with a clean spoon.
  • Do not feed your baby directly from the jar. The bacteria from your baby’s saliva will make the unused food deteriorate, even when refrigerated.
  • Introduce only one new food at a time to your baby, waiting 3 to 5 days before trying another. This helps you determine if the new food agrees with your baby.
  • Start with nutrient rich foods containing iron. In Canada, most babies have an ironfortified infant cereal as their first solid food. Iron-fortified cereals can be mixed with breast milk, formula, or water.
  • Meat and alternatives can also be introduced at this stage. This includes cooked meats, fish, and poultry; tofu, cooked egg yolks; and well-cooked peas and beans. Iron from meat sources is better absorbed than iron from non-meat sources.
  • Vegetables and fruits are usually added to baby’s diet next, followed by milk products such as cottage cheese, other cheeses, and yogurt.

Avoid Choking Hazards

Foods that are more likely to cause choking are:

Small and slippery, such as...

  • grapes
  • raisins
  • hot dogs
  • hard candy

Hard to chew, such as...

  • popcorn
  • chips
  • raw carrots
  • nuts
  • chunks of meat

Sticky, such as...

  • peanut butter

or...

  • any food that is the size of baby’s little finger.

In addition, bottles should never be “propped up” for feeding.

Risky Foods For Young Children

For Babies Under 1 Year Old

  • Honey is not safe for children under 1 year old. It may contain a germ that can cause serious illness or death.
  • Egg yolks should be fully cooked and any foods containing raw eggs should be avoided.
  • Avoid citrus fruits and juices (orange, grapefruit, lemon, and lime) until 1 year of age because they can cause a painful diaper rash.
  • Cow’s milk is usually offered around 1 year of age as part of a mixed diet.

For Older Children

  • Children and infants are especially vulnerable to the food borne illnesses linked with raw (unpasteurized) milk and juice. The sale of raw milk is illegal in Canada. Unpasteurized juices and ciders may be sold at some farmer’s markets, roadside stands, orchards, and grocery stores. Most producers voluntarily label unpasteurized juice or cider but if you have any doubts, boil it first or don’t give it to children or infants.