Feeding Your Baby

Babies need to learn to eat solid food. It is normal for them to want to touch the food - so expect some mess and have fun!1 Add one new food at a time1. Wait 3 days before adding a new food.

Starting at 6 months:

Start by offering cereal and other non-allergenic foods first (eg. rice cereal, pureed vegetables and fruits).

You can introduce peanut, tree nuts, milk products and sesame seed, as well as cooked egg, fish, wheat and soy2.

The risk of a food allergy developing to these foods is lowest when they are introduced early2:

  • Offer peanut and tree nut butters blended into infant cereal or spread thinly on strips of toast2.
  • Offer milk products such as yogurt and grated cheese2.
  • When your baby shows you they tolerate these foods continue to offer them regularly2. This may help prevent a food allergy from developing2.

Offer sips of water in an open cup, but do not let your baby fill up on water2.

Work towards feeding your baby solid foods at 2 to 3 meals and 1 to 2 snacks each day based on their appetite2.

Make sure the foods are soft (ie. Pureed, minced, mashed, ground, lumpy, and tender-cooked foods)2 and cut into small pieces.

Do not give juice or other sugary drinks in a bottle2.

Do not let your baby sip on milk or juice between meals or snacks2 or at night. This can lead to tooth decay.

Never feed honey to babies younger than 1 year. Honey could give your baby a food-borne illness called botulism2.

Spices are not harmful to babies (just limit the salt and hot chili content).

How Much is Enough?                                                   

Babies will close their mouths, turn their heads and push food away when they have had enough to eat1. Don’t force your baby to eat solids1 and don’t give up if your baby refuses a new food. It may take several tries for your baby to accept a new food1.

Fluids for your baby                                                 

Breast milk is best for babies1. Breastfeed for as long as possible1. Your baby does not need juice1. If you offer juice, offer 100% unsweetened juice only and offer it in a cup as part of a meal or snack1. Limit to 60-125 mL (1/4 -1/2) per day. Offer sips of water in a cup1.

Iron                                                                                  

Make your baby’s first foods rich in iron2.

Offer your baby foods that are rich in iron 2 times per day2. These foods include iron-fortified infant cereal, egg, lentils, chicken, tofu, beans, turkey, fish and beef2.  

Babies need iron to help them grow to be healthy children1. A baby without enough iron may have a poor appetite, develop slowly, get sick more often, and be tired, weak and cranky1.

By 9 months:

Offer your baby the same foods that the family is eating1, having meals 3 times per day. Sit down and eat with your baby1. Babies enjoy company and learn about eating by watching you and others eat2. Introduce a large variety of foods early so your baby gets used to eating different tastes and textures and will less likely grow up to be a picky eater.

At 12 months:

Baby should not get more than 750 mL or 24 oz of milk per day; it can interfere with iron absorption and increase constipation. Give full fat (3.25%) cow’s milk until age 2; fat contains essential vitamins A and D.

To Prevent Choking:

Always be in the room to watch your baby eat.

Feed babies when they are sitting in a high chair.

Do not give a baby small pieces of food that are round and hard, slippery, very sticky or hard to swallow.  They can get stuck in a baby’s throat.

Babies may choke on these foods:

nuts             whole grapes         chips            marshmallows

raisins         popcorn                  hot dogs

olives          raw vegetables       hard or small candy

Whole grapes and hot dogs need to be cut lengthwise and into small pieces to prevent choking

Note: This table was adapted from “Finger Foods” by the Vancouver Coastal Health.

Sample Meals                                                                    

Let your baby decide how much to eat1. These are sample meals to get you started1. Serving sizes are a guide only1. Every baby is different1. Start with a small serving and increase it as your baby wants more1. Baby may not finish all the food listed here1. Enjoy feeding your baby!1

Solid foods can be offered before or after breastmilk2. You and your baby will decide what works better. This may change over time2.

Note: This table was adapted from “What to Feed Your Baby (6 -12 months) by the Vancouver Coastal Health.

                

6-9 months

9-12 months

Early morning

  • Breast milk *, **
  • Breast milk *, **

Breakfast

  • Breast milk*** (before or after solids)
  • 5-60 mL (1 tsp- 4 Tbsp) infant cereal mixed with breast milk, water or formula
  • 5-60 mL (1 tsp- 4 Tbsp) soft fruit in small pieces
  • 1 boiled egg
  • Small pieces of toast with peanut butter
  • 30-60 mL (2-4 Tbsp) soft fruit in small pieces
  • 30-60 mL (2-4 Tbsp) yogurt
  • Water in a cup

Morning snack

Breast milk

  • 30-60 mL (2-4 Tbsp) soft fruit in small pieces
  • Breast milk

Lunch

  • Breast milk*** (before or after solids)
  • 5-60 mL (1 tsp- 4 Tbsp) mashed fish, meat, egg or beans
  • 5-30 mL (1 tsp-2 Tbsp) mashed vegetables
  • 5-30 mL (1 tsp- 2 Tbsp) soft fruit in small pieces
  • 45-60 mL (3-4 Tbsp) small pieces of tofu, chicken or meat
  • 30-60 mL (2-4 Tbsp) soft cooked pieces of vegetables
  • 60-125 mL (4-8 Tbsp) infant cereal, whole grain pasta or rice
  • Breast milk.

Afternoon snack

Breast  milk

  • 15-30 mL (1-2 Tbsp) small pieces of cheese
  • Breast milk

Supper

  • Breast milk*** (before or after solids)
  • 5-60 mL (1 tsp- 4 Tbsp) infant cereal mixed with breast milk, water, or formula
  • 5-60 mL (1 tsp-4 Tbsp) well cooked, finely minced fish, lentils, tofu, meat, chicken, egg or beans
  • 5-30 mL (1 tsp- 2 Tbsp) mashed vegetables
  • 30-125 mL (2-8 Tbsp) cooked pasta, rice or quinoa
  • 45-60 mL (3-4 Tbsp) chopped fish, tofu, chicken, meat, or beans
  • 30-60 mL (2-4 Tbsp) pieces of soft vegetables or fruit
  • Breast milk

Evening snack

  • Breast milk
  • Oat ring cereal
  • Breast milk

*    Give your breastfed baby 400 IU Vitamin D every day.

**  If you cannot give your baby breast milk, give your baby an iron-fortified infant formula.      

*** Depending on your baby, you may offer breast milk before or after solid foods.                                                                                                                              

IDEAS FOR FINGER FOODS FOR BABIES

Choose soft foods that baby can grasp easily with fingers or hands. Offer your baby different kinds of finger foods from all 4 food groups3.

Vegetables (soft cooked) and Fruits

carrot slices, broccoli, green beans

yam, sweet potato, potato

cauliflower, zucchini

cooked apple, pears, ripe slices of kiwi, mango, papaya,

melon, cantaloupe, banana, fresh or canned unsweetened

peaches, ripe avocado, oranges, thawed frozen fruit and berries 

Grain products

whole wheat toast

unsalted crackers

whole wheat bagels, buns, roti, tortilla

unsweetened oat ring cereal like CheeriosTM, rice puffs

cooked soft macaroni, rotini noodles, rice

Milk products

grated or sliced pasteurized cheese

Meat and Alternatives (soft, well cooked)

pieces of chicken, turkey,

ground or chopped meat, or fish (no bones)

well cooked eggs, lentils, tofu cubes, and soft beans. 

Note: This table was adapted from “Finger Foods” by the Vancouver Coastal Health.

Other fact sheets are available at your local Community Health Office/Centre or online:

Vancouver Coastal Health: http://vch.eduhealth.ca- search ‘baby food’

See also “Baby’s First Foods”  http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthfiles/hfile69c.stm 

Or Call:

  • Dietitian Services at HealthLink BC- call 8-1-1 to speak to a dietitian or go to www.healthlinkbc.ca /dietitian to email your question. Translation services are available in 130 languages.
  • A community Nutritionist or Public Health Nurse at Vancouver Coastal Health: www.vch.ca 

 

References

  1. Vancouver Coastal Health. What to Feed Your Baby (6-12 months). [Internet]. February 2012 [cited May 19 2019]. Available from: https://vch.eduhealth.ca/PDFs/GK/GK.260.W58.pdf 
  2. HealthLinkBC. Baby’s First Foods. [Internet], September 2018 [cited May 19 2019]. Available from: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/hlbc/files/documents/healthfiles/hfile69c.pdf 
  3. Vancouver Coastal Health. Finger Foods. [Internet], July 2016 [cited May 19 2019]. Available from: https://vch.eduhealth.ca/PDFs/GK/GK.260.F56.pdf 

This document was prepared by Dr. Amanjit Mann

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