Cookies Policy statement X

 

 

Join the Nestlé Baby Program

 
Baby's First Foods: A Step-by-Step Guide

Baby's First Foods: A Step-by-Step Guide

Let the fun begin! By about 6 months, when your little one is ready for solid foods, you’ll need to be ready too. We’ve compiled this guide to help you make the transition to solid foods easier for you and your baby. We have more information for you if you aren’t sure whether your baby is ready for solid foods, and may also want to also consider talking to your baby’s doctor.

Starting solid food is fun, but breast milk or infant formula is still baby’s most important food during her first year. At 6 months, solid foods are a complement (not a substitute) to breast milk or formula, which still make up about 80% of your little one’s diet.

Learn more on what to do for your baby's very first feeding.

After the first feeding: Baby's first foods

The foods that you offer your baby now can help to build healthy eating patterns as he grows. Be sure to introduce a wide variety of healthy foods within the first year of life even ones you may not like. The foods that your baby becomes familiar with now will be preferred over those that were not offered in these early days. Most foods are eventually accepted, but sometimes it can take up to 10 exposures to a new food for it to be accepted. Offer foods from all 4 of Canada’s Food Groups with particular attention to iron-rich foods such as meat, meat alternatives and iron-fortified infant cereal when you first begin introducing solids.

Learn more about the importance of iron.

Introducing the second, third foods and on

As you continue on your adventure of introducing solid foods to baby it is still recommended that you introduce one new food at a time, waiting 2 days before introducing a new food, to rule out the possibility of allergic reactions or intolerances to certain foods. After about 2 days of a new food being offered in the morning, shift that food to the afternoon and introduce a new morning food for a couple of days. Once you have introduced a few foods that your baby enjoys you can provide a variety of these foods while continuing to add new foods to the menu.

Gaining approval

Babies may not like a food the first time you offer it but that doesn’t mean they never will. Offer the same food in different ways, such as a small amount of iron-rich chicken puree added to a favourite veggie or fruit puree. You may need to offer foods up to 10 times before they are accepted, and many eventually are. It is also important not to offer the same rejected food back-to-back at every meal. Give it a few days or more before offering a food again.

You can also begin to offer your baby family foods as long as they are prepared appropriately for a safe and happy meal time. This means pass on the salt, butter and avoid going too heavy on hot spices and sauces when it comes to offering what everyone else at the dinner table is going to eat. Babies like simply prepared foods; this also gives them a chance to enjoy the true taste of what they’re eating. And remember to puree the portion for baby; he won’t be ready for steamed whole vegetables for a little while.

There is no set order

There is no order when it comes to what to offer your baby next. Stick to single ingredient food choices with a focus on iron-rich foods such as meats, meat-alternatives and iron-fortified single-ingredient baby cereals such as rice, oat and wheat. Vegetable and fruit purees are also good early food choices, many babies like the taste of sweet potato, carrots and squash because they are naturally sweet. They also provide a source of vitamin C which helps with iron absorption. To get more ideas on what foods are appropriate for your little one, check out the Nestle Baby Feeding Guide.

Friends and family may tell you that your baby should avoid certain foods until her first birthday because she could have an allergic reaction. Regardless of family history of allergy, health experts advise that you can introduce peanuts, soy, whole eggs, fish, and wheat as you would any other food, one at a time for 3-5 days and monitor for allergic reactions. There is no need to delay the introduction of any food in order to try to avoid allergies once your baby is 6 months or older. Speak with your baby’s doctor if you have any concerns.

Gradually increase the amount you offer

The best indicators of how much to feed your baby will come from his hunger and fullness cues. During the first few feedings your baby may only eat a spoonful of food, but as he grows so will his appetite. By about 9 months of age he may eat up to ¼ - ½ of what an adult might eat at each food offering. Let his appetite be your guide, gradually increase the amount you offer and become an expert in decoding his hunger and fullness cues.

Continue to offer breast milk or infant formula. From 6-9 months of age babies will drink about 24-32 oz. (720-960 mL) each day. It doesn’t matter whether you offer breast milk, infant formula, or solids foods first at meal time, if your baby is hungry he will eat1.

Recognize signs of hunger and fullness

Babies may not be able to communicate with words to tell you when they are hungry or full but they have plenty of other ways of letting you know. Every baby is different and it is important to monitor your baby and learn his body language to help guide you in knowing how much to feed him. Here are some hunger and fullness cues you might expect from a 6-9 month old baby:

Hunger

Fullness

Cries or fusses

Reaches or moves towards spoon

Points to food

Slows down eating

Clenches mouth, turns head away from spoon/food

Pushes food away

Food textures are important, too

As your baby grows and develops, you can begin to introduce new textures along with a variety of nutritious foods. Be sure to introduce new textures when it is developmentally appropriate for your baby.

Around 6 months baby's first foods should be semi-solid textures, like smooth purees without any lumps, and add more textured purees as your baby gets used to eating solid foods.

Around 7-7 1/2 months, start to serve increased textures, such as purees with soft lumps.

Encourage self-feeding

Once you have introduced a few different foods to your baby, put some of the puree du jour on your baby’s tray so that he can touch, feel and explore the food with his hands, and maybe eat some too! You can also put some small pieces of mushy food on his tray to encourage development of his pincer grasp, using the thumb and index finger to pick things up.

A day in your baby’s diet

Here’s a sample of what your baby may be eating. Remember, this is only a guide. This meal plan is typical for infants 6-9 months of age, once they’re accustomed to eating solid foods. However, it’s important to follow your individual baby’s hunger and fullness cues, and to introduce new foods one at a time.

Waking up with baby

Breast milk or formula

Breakfast

Breast milk or formula
2-4 tbsp iron-fortified infant cereal
2-3 tbsp pureed or mashed fruit

Mid-morning snack

Breast milk or formula

Lunch

Breast milk or formula
1-3 tbsp meat or alternative
2-3 tbsp pureed cooked vegetables
2-3 tbsp pureed or mashed fruit

Dinner

Breast milk or formula
2-4 tbsp iron-fortified infant cereal
tbsp pureed, cooked vegetables
2-3 tbsp pureed or mashed fruit

Before going to bed

Breast milk or formula

Eat as a family as often as possible

For infants around 6-8 months, Canadian healthcare experts recommend offering food at 2-3 meals and 1-2 snacks depending on his appetite. Include baby in family meals to help promote good eating habits. Offer the same family foods to baby and he will learn from your actions. Set a good example by taking this opportunity to make healthy eating habits a priority for the whole family and show baby just how yummy healthy eating can be.

What to avoid

Not all foods are appropriate for your little one. Learn more about you should avoid when feeding your little one and baby food prep and storage.

If you don't find the information you're looking for, please feel free to contact us for additional support.


References:

1World Health Organization. (2009). Infant and young child feeding: Model chapter for textbooks for medical students and allied health professionals. http://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/documents/9789241597494/en/ Accessed: March 6, 2014.

 
440