Feeding Your Baby Solids

For the first six months, breast milk is the only food your baby needs.

When to Start Solid Foods

You can begin to offer solid foods in addition to breast milk when your baby is six months of age and showing signs of readiness.

Your baby is ready to start eating solid foods when your baby can:

  • Keep control of head
  • Sit in a high chair
  • Show interest in food when others are eating
  • Open mouth wide for food
  • Close lips over the spoon
  • Swallow food in mouth
  • Turn body or head away when full

Talk to your health care provider before starting solid foods if your baby has eczema, a diagnosed allergy or there is a family history of allergy. 

Along with solid foods, you can continue to breastfeed for up to two years or more. 

For more information about signs of readiness read Feeding Your Baby and Young Child.

How to Start Solid Foods

When your baby is showing signs of readiness for solid foods, start with:

  • Iron-rich foods such as meat, meat alternatives and iron-fortified infant cereal
  • A variety of soft textures, such as pureed, finely minced, ground, or mashed foods
  • 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

Let your baby decide whether or not to eat a food and how much to eat.

Once your baby is eating a variety of iron-rich foods, you can start to offer other foods, such as:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Milk products
  • Grain products

These are good sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre, and add variety to your baby's diet.

Prepare food according to 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.

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 nine to 12 months old and eating a variety of iron-rich foods.

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.

For more information about starting solid foods, read Feeding Your Baby and Young Child or call Health Connect Ontario at 811 (TTY: 1-866-797-0007) to talk to a registered dietitian for free.

Introducing New Foods and Food Allergies

After six months of age, there is no need to delay introducing common foods that may cause allergic reactions. Introduce one common food allergen at a time. Wait for two days and watch for signs of allergy before introducing another new food.

 Common food allergens include:

  • Eggs
  • Milk*
  • Soy
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Wheat
  • Peanut
  • Tree nuts
  • Sesame 

*Wait until your baby is nine to 12 months of age to introduce pasteurized, 3.25% MF, cow's milk.

Once the food has been introduced without allergy, continue to offer it regularly.

If your baby shows any signs of food allergy (rash, vomiting, swelling, etc.) stop feeding the food immediately and talk to your health care provider. It is important to get a proper diagnosis of a food allergy.

Call 911 if your baby has trouble breathing.

Additional Information

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