Your baby is ready to start solid food at about six months old. Solid food provides the extra iron and the added nutrients your baby needs for their healthy growth and development.

It is a new experience for you and your baby and may take time to learn. Your baby will use all their senses by seeing, smelling, touching, hearing and tasting the foods you prepare.

Let your baby decide how much to eat and whether or not to eat. Pay attention to your baby’s hunger and fullness cues. Do not force-feed or refuse to give food to your baby.

Hunger Cues

  • Opens mouth when offered food on a spoon
  • Puts hands in mouth
  • Shows interest in eating
  • Leans towards food/spoon
  • Sucks hands or smacks lips

Fullness Cues

  • Pushes spoon with food away
  • Keeps mouth closed
  • Is upset or disinterested
  • Spits food out
  • Turns head away
  • Covers mouth with hands


Video: Trust Me, Trust My Tummy (15:02). This short video will give you some examples of baby’s hunger and fullness cues.

Breast Milk After the First Six Months Is Still the Most Important Food

You can continue to breastfeed your baby throughout the day as this is still your baby’s main source of nutrition. However, at this time, your baby also needs solid food rich in nutrients.

Begin by Offering Iron-Rich Foods

The first solid foods to offer your baby are foods rich in iron. These foods include beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, fish, pork, eggs, tofu, well-cooked legumes such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas and iron-fortified infant cereals.

Iron-rich foods are important for the proper growth and development of your baby. Offer iron-rich foods two or more times a day.

Once you introduce iron-rich foods, along with iron-rich foods, you can offer vegetables and fruit or milk products such as cheese and yogurt in no particular order.

Do not give your baby whole milk until your baby is between nine months and 12 months.

Vitamin C from vegetables and fruit will help your baby absorb iron better, so when your baby eats, include a vegetable and/or fruit.

For vegetarians, offer iron-rich foods at most meals to make sure your baby meets their iron needs.

At six months of age, it is important to provide a variety of foods with soft textures such as lumpy and tender-cooked, finely minced, pureed, mashed, ground and finger foods. Offering finger foods encourages your child to feed themselves.

Here are some examples of safe finger foods to offer your baby:

  • Pieces of soft-cooked vegetables and fruits
  • Soft, ripe fruit such as banana
  • Finely minced, ground or mashed cooked meat, deboned fish, and poultry
  • Grated cheese
  • Bread crust, and toast

It is important for baby’s foods to progress quickly to a lumpier texture. Delaying the introduction of lumpy textures beyond nine months is linked to feeding difficulties and to baby eating lower amounts of nutritious foods such as vegetables and fruit as they get older.

When you offer any new food to your baby, it is important to watch for signs of an allergic reaction.

Aim towards giving your baby two to three feedings and one to two snacks per day based on your baby’s appetite and follow your baby’s signs that indicate whether your baby is hungry or full.

Food From Family Meals

From six months you can give your baby small amounts of the same healthy foods that your family is eating with little or no added sugar or salt. Ensure that the food you offer your baby is in the right texture for your baby’s age and will not cause choking. You can also introduce new foods with a variety of flavours and include your baby in family meals.

Common foods that can cause allergic reactions such as peanuts, fish, eggs, wheat, milk products, soy and whole eggs can be introduced at about six months of age. When giving these foods, introduce one of these foods at a time and wait two days before introducing another. This will make it easier for you to identify a food that may have caused an allergic reaction in your baby.

If you are not breastfeeding or giving your baby breastmilk and have made an informed decision,  the recommendation is to give your baby commercial infant formula until your baby is nine to 12 months old.

You can give your baby water in an open cup.

You can continue to breastfeed your baby and continue to provide a variety of foods from Canada’s Food Guide.

  • Offer your baby a variety of finger foods as your baby can now bite and chew foods from about eight months of age.
  • Ensure that your baby is given a variety of foods in the right textures for their age (e.g. chopped, ground, mashed).
  • Continue to include your infant in family meals to help them learn social skills, to observe your healthy eating behaviours, and to supervise them when they are eating.

Other Liquids For Your Baby

You can offer pasteurized, homogenized, whole cow’s milk (3.25% milk fat) to your baby between nine to12 months of age, once your baby is consistently eating a wide variety of iron-rich foods.

  • Do not give more than three cups of milk a day as drinking too much milk can lead to iron deficiency.
  • If you give soy beverage occasionally, in addition to regularly breastfeeding or giving whole cow’s milk, it should be full-fat, unflavoured soy beverage.
  • Rice, almond and coconut “milks” are not nutritionally similar to whole milk (3.25% milk fat) and are not suitable for your baby.
  • Skim milk should not be given to children younger than two years.
  • You can give your baby water in an open cup.

Here are some foods that can cause choking for children younger than four years of age.

Hard, round and/or small foods such as, nuts, popcorn, raisins, seeds, smooth and sticky solid foods.

Here are some foods that should not be given to your baby.

  • Honey should not be given to your baby before one year of age as honey may cause infant botulism a rare, serious disease. For more information about honey and infant botulism.

 Fruit Juice and Sweetened Beverages

  • Your baby does not need juice. Babies have small stomachs which fill up quickly and juice given to your baby may take the place of other nutritious foods.
  • Fruit juice also does not have the fibre of whole fruit.
  • Offer fruit instead of juice.
  • If you decide to give juice, limit the amount of juice per day to ½ to ¾ cup (125 to 175 ml) of 100 percent pasteurized fruit juice and offer it in an open cup. You do not need to dilute the juice.

Use of Open Cup

  • Breast milk and other fluids can be offered in an open cup. At first, your baby will need help from the parent or caregiver so assist them by holding the cup against their mouths.
  • Although it’s common practice to use “sippy cups”, they don’t support the development of mature drinking skills.
  • The use of an open cup is much better for encouraging skill development.
  • The use of an open cup also prevents prolonged bottle-feeding and drinking too many sugary beverages.

Always Supervise When Your Baby Is Eating

  • Babies can choke easily when they are learning to eat so it’s important to supervise and engage your baby when eating.
  • Your baby should be sitting upright and not lying down, walking, running or distracted, when eating.
  • For proper supervision, include your baby in family meals.
  • Parents should be able to tell the difference between gagging and actual choking.
  • Gagging is a natural reflex that helps older infants avoid choking.

Create a Healthy Feeding Relationship with Your Baby

  • Mealtimes are more than just about eating. They are a time to get together with family, build strong and positive relationships and create lifelong memories.
  • You can enjoy mealtimes without distractions (toys, TV, electronic devices) Keep meal times pleasant and don’t bribe or force your child to eat.

Set Regular Meal and Snack Times

  • Set a regular time for meals and snacks every day and avoid frequent snacking throughout the day.
  • Eating every two to three hours gives your baby time to feel hungry and to be interested in eating. Set a good example by sitting down and eating with your baby whenever possible.
  • To keep mealtimes exciting, limit the time for meals and snacks to about 30 minutes; as baby’s attention will start to drift.

It’s Okay for Meal Times to Be Messy

  • Let your baby explore food and allow them to eat with their hands. Your baby will learn about textures, tastes, colours and what foods they like and dislike.