Last Reviewed: March 2017
Baby's First Foods
6 to 9 months
Your baby needs iron for good health. You can provide her with iron by:
Tips for Feeding Your Baby
How do I start feeding my baby?
Up until now, your baby has only been drinking breast milk. He has to learn how to use his tongue to push food to the back of his mouth and swallow. This is a skill that can take some time.
Your baby should be offered a variety of soft textures from family meals (such as lumpy, tender-cooked and finely minced, pureed, mashed and ground) and finger foods (e.g., pieces of soft-cooked vegetables and fruits; finely minced, ground or mashed cooked meat; and bread crusts).
Your baby needs to try different textures (puree, minced, lumpy, mashed, soft finger foods) to learn to chew. Babies should be eating a variety of textures by 9 months of age.
Can I prepare homemade food for my baby?
You don't need to make separate food for your baby. Instead offer your baby a variety of textures, modified from family meals (e.g. Family meal= salmon, mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. Baby's meal= mashed salmon, mashed potatoes, and steam broccoli longer until very soft for your baby).
Iron Rich Foods: What kinds of meat and alternatives should I feed my baby?
- Keep meat, chicken, fish, and other meats moist so they are easy to swallow
- Add extra water or broth to meats and cooked beans
- Mix it up! Add fruit such as applesauce or mango to meats
- You can also offer your baby tofu
- Give your baby fish such as tilapia, pollock, cod, haddock, salmon and light canned tuna at least twice a week.
- Do not give your baby fish that is high in mercury or raw fish that can put your baby at risk for food poisoning. Read more about which fish to avoid.
- Avoid giving your baby deli meats such as ham, or hot dogs, because they are high in fat, salt and nitrites and low in nutrients
When starting an infant cereal, read the label carefully. Choose a cereal that:
- Is iron-fortified
- Single grain (e.g. rice, oats or barley)
- Does not have extra sugar or fruit
- Does not contain other ingredients
Iron Rich Foods: What types of infant cereal should I feed my baby?
- Start with an iron-fortified, single grain infant cereal.
- You may add fruit to the cereal (e.g. puree peaches or mashed banana). Fruits are high in vitamin C, which helps to absorb the iron from fortified cereal.
- Read the labels to make sure that the cereal is appropriate for your baby.
- Always feed cereal from a spoon, so your baby learns the skill of eating by developing her muscles that will also be used for speech.
- Never add cereal to a bottle because it may cause your baby to choke.
Never offer solid foods mixed with liquids (breast milk) in a bottle because this can cause choking.
How do I mix infant cereal?
- Mix the dry cereal with breast milk.
- Follow the instructions on the package of cereal.
- Add less breast milk to make the cereal thicker.
Serve iron-rich foods with foods like vegetables and fruits.
Start with mild tasting fruits and vegetables, like:
- Sweet potatoes
- Green or yellow beans
What kind of vegetables and fruits should I give my baby?
- Start with mild tasting foods.
- Wash peel and remove all seeds before using fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Cook all fruits and vegetables except bananas, papayas, avocados, mangos, and melons which you can mash
- You can also start to offer your baby soft pieces of fruits and vegetables.
If you decide to use store bought baby food:
- Use fruit canned in juice (not in syrup)
- “Fruit desserts” are high in sugar so avoid buying them.
- Store-bought jars that have both vegetable and meat in them are lower in nutrients then when you buy vegetables and meat separately.
Can I give my baby milk and milk alternatives?
- You can give your baby full fat yogurt and cheese (cubes or shredded) once she is eating iron rich foods.
- It's recommended to wait until 9-12 months of age to offer sips of whole cow's milk (3.25%) from an open cup.
Tap water is routinely tested
to make sure it is clean, safe and free of any pollutants.
What about juice and other drinks?
- Your baby gets enough to drink from breast milk.
- She doesn't need juice.
- You can give your baby tap water from a cup if he seems thirsty.
- Do not give distilled, carbonated, or mineral water.
Your baby may get thirsty during hot weather or when she's active.
- Water is the best drink to satisfy your baby's thirst. Offer it in an open cup.
If you decide to give juice, wait until your baby is eating fruit and other foods and remember:
- Give your baby 100% pure fruit juices without added sugar.
- You do not need to buy special baby juice but check that the juice is pasteurized.
- You do not need to add water to juice, but limit fruit juice to 1/2 cup (125 ml) per day with meals or snacks.
- Serve juice in an open cup.
- Do not give your baby fruit drinks, fruit punch, soft drinks, sports drinks, or herbal teas.
For more information:
Call Region of Peel Public Health at:
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Caledon residents call free of charge at: 905-584-2216
To speak with a Public Health Nurse