Feeding Your Baby

baby eating

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At around six months of age your child is ready to start solid foods. Your child should have good head control, sit up in a high chair, turn their face away if they don’t want the food and keep food in their mouth and swallow instead of pushing it out.

Introducing solid foods

Baby's first food should be a source of iron such as:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Fish (watch for bones)
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Legumes such as beans and lentils
  • Iron-fortified cereal

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

Finger foods

After introducing iron rich foods, introduce all other foods, except for honey and milk. 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.  

Some finger foods you can feed your baby include:

  • Soft cooked vegetables and fruit
  • Ripe fruit such as banana
  • Mashed cooked meat
  • Grated cheese
  • strips of toast

Safety during feedings

Gagging is a normal and natural reflex that helps older infants avoid choking. As long as an older infant is free from distractions, sitting upright, and attentive, the risk of choking is the same as for an adult.

Follow these tips to keep your baby safe:

  • Always stay with your baby while he/she is eating
  • Stop feeding if your baby is crying or laughing
  • Do not feed your baby in a moving car
  • Do not give your baby foods that are hard, small, and round like nuts, popcorn, whole grapes, or hard vegetables

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    Do not give your baby smooth and sticky foods, such as peanut butter, on its own
  • Do not give your baby honey or any food made with honey for the first year. It can cause botulism (a type of food poisoning).
  • Some fish are high in mercury and should be limited for babies under one year of age. Limit canned white (albacore) tuna, frozen or fresh tuna, shark, swordfish, marlin, orange roughy and escolar.      

Allergies

To decrease the chance of your baby developing an allergy, introduce foods containing the most common allergens early and serve them often. This includes:

  • Peanuts
  • Seafood
  • Sesame
  • Soy
  • Tree nuts
  • Wheat
  • Eggs

Avoid offering more than one of these foods per day and wait two days before you introduce another common food allergen. When introducing foods not found in the list above, you do not need to wait before introducing another new food.

Signs of an allergy might be:

  • Rash
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Breathing problems

Stop feeding the food if you think it caused any of these symptoms. Talk to your doctor. Call 9-1-1 if your baby is having trouble breathing.

For more information on allergies, visit Anaphylaxis Canada.

Make your own baby food

It is easy to make your own baby food. You can use the same healthy foods that you feed your family. It also:

  • Saves you money
  • Lets your baby try a greater variety of foods
  • Helps your baby get used to different textures and tastes
  • Lets your baby eat the same foods as your family

Starting cow's milk

In addition to breast milk, you can give your baby cow's milk at nine months of age. Offer your baby homogenized cow's milk (3.25% milk fat) as they need fat to grow. Do not give soy, almond, rice or other vegetarian beverages until your child is 2 years of age. These products do not have enough fat and may be low in protein and important vitamins and minerals. At two years of age you can give your child the milk that your family drinks (skim, 1%, 2% milk, or low-fat milk products).

Call Telehealth Ontario toll-free at 1-866-797-0000 to speak directly to a registered dietitian about nutrition and healthy eating. This service is available 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, in over 100 languages.

North Bay

345 Oak Street West
705-474-1400

Parry Sound

70 Joseph Street Unit #302
705-746-5801

Burk's Falls

17 Copeland Street (by appointment only)
1-800-563-2808