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Introducing solid food to your baby


Introducing solid foods can be a confusing time for parents and caregivers. Use these tips to help you get started.

When can I introduce solids to my baby?

You can introduce solids at around six months. Solid foods give your baby extra energy, iron and other nutrients needed for healthy growth. Your baby is ready to start solids when she:

  • Has good head control
  • Can sit up and lean forward
  • Can pick up food and try to put it in her mouth
  • Can turn her head away to let you know she is full

What textures should I start with?

Start your baby with a variety of textures, such as pureed, mashed, finely chopped and lumpy foods. You can also give your baby soft finger foods starting at six months to help her learn how to feed herself.  

What foods should I start with?

Start with iron-rich foods like:

  • Soft-cooked pureed, mashed or finely chopped beef, chicken or pork
  • Mashed or finely chopped low sodium canned salmon with bones mashed or removed
  • Well-cooked mashed eggs, tofu, lentils or beans
  • Iron-fortified infant cereals mixed with breastmilk or infant formula

After iron-rich foods, choose foods like:

  • Vegetables: Well-cooked mashed sweet potato and squash, soft-cooked pieces of broccoli and carrots 
  • Fruit: Pieces of mango, pears, peaches and banana
  • Full fat cheese and yogurt: Grated cheddar, mozzarella and Swiss, plain cottage cheese and plain yogurt
  • Other grain products: Strips of whole grain toast, “O” shaped cereals and well-cooked pasta

Tip: You can offer solids before or after you breastfeed or give infant formula. Try this sample meal plan for feeding your baby.

How should I introduce solid foods?

Try these tips:

  • Include your baby at family mealtimes.
  • Put your baby securely in a high chair.
  • Put a small amount of food on the tip of a small spoon. Wait until your baby opens her mouth before you put the spoon in.
  • When your baby reaches for the spoon, let her start to feed herself.
  • Allow your baby to explore foods with her fists and fingers. Let her make a mess.
  • Avoid distractions like TV, toys and phone calls. This will help you and your baby focus on eating and help prevent choking.

How much should my baby eat?

Let your baby decide how much she eats. Your baby will will open her mouth when she is hungry. She will shut her mouth, turn her head away or push food away when she is full. Never try to force your baby to eat.
A good starting point is to offer iron-rich foods about two times a day such as at breakfast and lunch. Offer 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 mL) of a few foods and see how much your baby eats. Offer more if your baby wants more.
As your baby gets a little older, offer solids three to five times a day at meals and snacks. It’s normal if your baby eats a different amount from one day to the next.

What if my baby refuses new foods?

It may take 15 tries or more for your baby to accept a new food. This is common. Don’t force your baby to eat. Instead, try these tips:

  • Offer the food again in a few days.
  • Mix solid food with breastmilk or infant formula to make it more familiar to your baby.
  • Let your baby feed herself with her fingers or fists.
  • Make sure your baby is not tired.
  • Serve the food at different temperatures.

Try these other tips to encourage your baby to eat solids:

  • Offer solids when you think your baby is most hungry.
  • Make sure your baby is not getting too much breastmilk or infant formula. Your baby may not be hungry for solid foods if she has had too much to drink.
  • Feed your baby when you or other family members are eating.

Bottom line

Every baby is different when it comes to learning to eat solid foods. If you have questions or concerns, talk to your health care provider or call an EatRight Ontario dietitian at 1-877-510-510-2. You can also send an email.


You may also be interested in:

Introducing solids to your baby: Safety tips
Transitioning your baby from breastmilk to cow’s milk
All about homemade baby food
All about store bought baby food
Food allergies and babies

Last Update – October 26, 2016

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If you have questions about what you've read here, or other questions about food, nutrition or healthy eating, click to email our Registered Dietitians or call 1-877-510-5102.