When is my baby ready to eat solid foods?
When your baby is around six months old and shows signs of readiness you can start to introduce table or solid foods.
Your baby is interested, or hungry, when they:
- Lean forward and reach for food
- Open their mouth wide when food is offered
Your baby is not interested, or full, when they:
- Turn their head away
- Keep their mouth closed
- Lean back away from food
Offer solid foods when your baby can:
- Hold their head up
- Sit up and lean forward
- Let you know when they are full
- Pick up food and try to put it in their mouth
Watch Is your baby ready for solids foods? (Toronto Public Health).
How do I get started with introducing first foods to my baby?
When your baby is showing signs of readiness for solid foods, offer iron-rich foods as first foods such as meat, meat alternatives and iron-fortified infant cereal.
Iron-rich foods include:
- Legumes (kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas)
- Soy products (tofu, edamame)
- Eggs (both egg yolk and white)
- Beef, dark meat chicken, turkey, pork, fish
- Iron-fortified infant cereal
Offer iron-rich foods at least twice daily (more often if vegetarian). Vitamin C (vegetables, fruit) helps to absorb iron.
Watch Iron rich foods for babies (UnlockFood.ca).
What kind of textures can I start with?
- Provide a variety of soft textures (lumpy, tender-cooked and finely minced, puréed, mashed or ground) and finger foods.
- Offer your baby a variety of different textures too, for example:
- Pureed (e.g. chicken with fruit)
- 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)
Making baby food at home
You don’t need to prepare separate food for your baby. Offer your baby a variety of soft textures from family meals that include a variety of foods from Canada’s Food Guide.
Offer your baby:
- A variety of soft textures, such as pureed, finely minced, ground, or mashed foods.
- Prepared foods appropriate for your baby’s stage of development to lower your baby’s risk of choking. Do not offer your baby hard, small and round, or smooth and sticky foods that may cause your baby to choke.
- Foods that can be eaten with their hands when prepared safely.
- Foods prepared with little or no added salt, sugar or other sweeteners.
- New foods introduced one at a time to watch for signs of allergy.
New foods can be introduced daily
- Once iron-rich foods are introduced, all other foods like vegetables, fruit, dairy products and grains can be offered in any order. These are good sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre, and add variety to your baby’s diet.
- The only food to avoid is honey (even cooked). Do not offer honey until your baby is one year old to prevent food poisoning.
- Do not offer cow’s milk until your baby is 9 to 12 months old and eating a variety of iron-rich foods.
- No need to wait days between new foods (common food allergens are the exception).
- Water can be offered from an open cup (cup without a lid) starting at six months. Babies don’t need juice or sweetened drinks
- Let your baby decide whether or not to eat a food and how much to eat.
- Be patient with your baby when you start to introduce solid foods. It is a new experience and some babies need more time to adjust than others.
Watch Feeding Cues – Trust Me, Trust my Tummy (Toronto Public Health).
For more information about starting solid foods, read Feeding Your Baby and Young Child (Best Start) or call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 (TTY: 1-866-797-0007) to talk to a registered dietitian for free.
Preparation and equipment needed (video)
Freezing, storing and serving (video)
© All videos developed by the Middlesex-London Health Unit and reproduced with permission.