British Columbia Specific Information
At 6 months of age, your baby needs more nutrients and is ready to start trying solid foods. To learn how to introduce your baby to solid food and how much food to offer, see HealthLinkBC File #69c Baby’s First Foods. For sample meal ideas and recipes, see Healthy Eating for Infants and Children Babys First Foods.
If your baby is at increased risk of food allergies and you would like to learn more about food allergy, see Reducing Risk of Food Allergy in Your Baby.
If you have questions about introducing solid foods to your baby call 8-1-1 to speak with a registered nurse or registered dietitian. Our nurses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and our dietitians are available Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or you can Email a HealthLinkBC Dietitian.
Can I Give My Baby ‘allergy Foods’
Allergy foods are foods or drink that can trigger an allergic reaction. Common allergenic foods are peanut butter, cow’s milk, wheat, egg, fish, shellfish, tree nuts , sesame and soy.
The best time to introduce allergy foods is when you are introducing solids. It is also recommended that you introduce allergy foods before your baby reaches 12 months old. Leaving it until they are older may increase the chance of your baby developing an allergy.
If you’re concerned that your baby could have a food allergy, speak to your healthcare provider.
Learn more here about how to introduce allergy foods.
To 24 Months Old Feeding Schedule
Expressed breast/human milk or cows milk: 16 fluid ounces maximum
Infant formula: None, unless otherwise recommended by a childs medical provider
Solids: 3 meals + 2 snacks
If your toddler is still bottle-feeding at this age or has limited interest in solids, consult your pediatrician or health care professional.
Note: At this age, breast/human milk is not an adequate source of calcium and vitamin D. Although there are many other health benefits to extended breastfeeding, its important to offer various foods that provide both calcium and vitamin D. 8
A word on cows milk: Never put cows milk in a bottle. At this age, serve cows milk in an open or straw cup, but limit consumption of cows milk to 16 ounces per day or less, if the child is consuming other sources of dairy such as yogurt or cheese. One way to keep within this limit: remind yourself that milk is a drink that accompanies a meal and not a meal itself. Only serve milk in a cup with meals. While you dont have to offer cows milk, it does bring a good amount of protein, fat, calcium, and vitamin D to the table. If youd like to forgo cows milk and dairy entirely, make sure to offer other sources of calcium and vitamin D. See our Nutrient Cheat Sheet for a list of foods by nutrient.
For more on milk and milk alternatives, see our Milk FAQs.
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What Should A Babys First Food Be
If you live in the United States, youve probably heard recommendations about unseasoned rice, puréed and mixed with breast milk or formula. Typically, parents are advised to mix infant rice cereal to a very thin consistency.
This works. Its acceptable. But there havent been any studies showing that rice is the best choice, and if you take an anthropological perspective looking at how people have fed their babies worldwide its clear that rice is just one of many infant foods.
For example, in traditional agricultural societies, parents provide their babies with a strained or puréed mash of whatever carb-rich staple was at hand millet, corn, oats, or rice and mixed it with animal milk.
Hunter-gatherers offered their babies mashed-up fish, meat, and animal fat .
Nowadays, medical organizations are more savvy to all of this, and they recognize that babies may begin with a variety of different puréed foods.
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics notes that puréed meats are good first foods, especially for babies that have been exclusively breastfed. Meats are a good source of iron, and iron stores can become depleted in breastfed babies.
Other good choices include puréed bananas, apples, pears, peaches, and sweet potatoes.
But the emphasis is on puréed foods not chunks, globs, or sticky pastes. These latter foods, like nut butters, are choking hazards, so keep these away from your baby.
Likewise, dont add honey to your babys foods it can cause botulism.
Which Is Better Bought Or Homemade Food
Many babies eat a combination of homemade and bought food. Store-bought food is convienant and easy to prepare. It’s also handy for when you are not at home or travelling. When buying store-bought food for your baby, read the labels and try to avoid foods that are high in sugar and salt.
Although making your own food might be a bit time-consuming, the advantage is you know what’s in it. Making one big batch and freezing in portions will go along way. Homemade food will help your baby become familar with family cooked meals. You can serve small portions of meals made for the rest of the family before any salt or spices have been added. Making your own baby food is also more affordable.
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What Are The Signs Of A Food Allergy In Babies To Look Out For
While food allergies are relatively common in babies , they do need to be taken seriously. Babies’ reactions to food can range from gassiness, diarrhea or mucus in the stool to vomiting and rashes . Other symptoms include a runny nose, watery eyes, wheezing that doesn’t seem to be due to a cold and unusual wakefulness or crankiness, day or night.
If you think your baby may be allergic to something you’ve fed her, speak to your pediatrician before offering it again. It’s especially important to check in with your doctor if your baby seems to react to almost every new food you offer, or there’s a history of allergies in your family.
Baby Milestone : When They Can Drink Water
Babies don’t need water during their first 6 months of life. They get all the water they need from breast milk or baby formula. Babies under age 6 months should not be given any water at all, because its easy to fill up their tiny stomachs — and they should be filling up on the nutrients they receive from the milk to grow. Once they start eating mostly solid foods, around age 9 months, they can start water with meals using a sippy cup.
If your older baby shows an interest in water that youre drinking, theres no harm in letting them have a few sips. Just dont let it replace the nutritious breast milk or formula they should be getting.
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Recommended Feeding Guide For The First Year
Don’t give solid foods unless your child’s healthcare provider advises you to do so. Solid foods should not be started before age 4 months because:
Breast milk or formula provides your baby all the nutrients that are needed for growth.
Your baby isn’t physically developed enough to eat solid food from a spoon.
Feeding your baby solid food too early may lead to overfeeding and being overweight.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants, children, and adolescents take in enough vitamin D through supplements, formula, or cow’s milk to prevent complications from deficiency of this vitamin. In November 2008, the AAP updated its recommendations for daily intake of vitamin D for healthy infants, children, and adolescents. It’s now recommended that the minimum intake of vitamin D for these groups should be 400 IU per day, starting soon after birth. Your baby’s healthcare provider can recommend the proper type and amount of vitamin D supplement for your baby.
How Much Will Your 4 Month 6 Month Old Baby Eat At His First Meal
Babies will probably only eat 1/2 of a tablespoon portion of food the very first times you begin solids. Dont expect your baby to finish a meal remember this is a new experience for your baby. As your baby gets older and is eating more solids, you will gradually increase the portion sizes. Also, keep in mind that breast milk and/or infant formula are providing for the total nutrition of your baby at this stage.
Read How Much Food Should My Baby Eat page for more information.
Many parents find their babies will push the food out of their mouths on the first few tries. This is normal however it may also indicate that your baby is not yet ready for solid foods. Only you know your baby and will be able to decide if baby is truly ready for solids.
A babys tummy is the size of his fist remember this as you are feeding him it doesnt take much food to make a meal!
Breast-Fed Baby Growth Charts from the World Health Organisation Reflecting Breast-Fed Babies Growth Patterns
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How Much Milk Does A Baby Need When Eating Solids
Some parents experience mixed emotions when they begin introducing solid food to their breastfed babies. They are excited that their baby is growing up and ready to try new foods, textures, and flavors, but at the same time this is the first step towards weaning. Now here comes the question: how much milk does a baby need when eating solids? That your baby is starting to eat solid foods does not mean that he shouldnt have breast milk anymore. In fact, breast milk will be your babys main source of nutrition until he is a year old and you can even keep breastfeeding after this as long as you and your baby are comfortable with it. Parents just beginning the transition to solid foods for their baby often wonder how much milk they need if theyre already eating solid foods and here is the answer.
Best Practices For Preemies
When you first bring your preemie home from the hospital, it can be tough to tell if they are hungry or full, as these cues may be more subtle in babies who are born early. Consulting your pediatrician can help you determine whether your baby is eating enough based on their growth pattern. There are some common feeding issues that impact premature infants. Here is a closer look at what you need to watch for.
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When What And How To Introduce Solid Foods
For more information about how to know if your baby is ready to starting eating foods, what first foods to offer, and what to expect, watch these videos from 1,000 Days.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend children be introduced to foods other than breast milk or infant formula when they are about 6 months old. Introducing foods before 4 months old is not recommended. Every child is different. How do you know if your child is ready for foods other than breast milk or infant formula? You can look for these signs that your child is developmentally ready.
- Sits up alone or with support.
- Is able to control head and neck.
- Opens the mouth when food is offered.
- Swallows food rather than pushes it back out onto the chin.
- Brings objects to the mouth.
- Tries to grasp small objects, such as toys or food.
- Transfers food from the front to the back of the tongue to swallow.
For How Long Should I Keep Breastfeeding Or Bottle Feeding
Breastfeeding or formula feeding should continue until your baby is 12 months old. After that, water and cow’s milk should be your baby’s main drinks. Some babies can have an intollerance or allergy to cow’s milk, so they may need an alternative, such as soy. Follow your doctor’s or allergy specialist’s advice and read food labels carefully.
Breastfeeding can continue for as long as you and your baby are happy to keep going, but infant formula is not needed after 12 months.
Read more about balancing solids with milk feeds.
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Tips For Getting Started
How Do I Determine The Best Baby Food Portion Sizes
General serving size recommendations can be helpful, but remember that every baby is different. Its perfectly normal for your little eater to chow down one day and clamp her tiny mouth shut the next.
Try not to worry if your cuties appetite isnt always exactly the same, or if what she chooses to eat doesnt quite match up with the recommended servings.
Forcing your baby to eat when shes not interested isnt fun for either of you, and over time, it can make it harder for her to tune in to her bodys natural hunger and fullness cues.
Instead, focus simply on offering a variety of nutrient-rich foods in age-appropriate serving sizes and letting your little one take it from there. Your new nosher has the ability to take in what her body is asking for.
As long as youre offering balanced options, shell likely get what she needs over the course of the day or week.
On the other hand? Trust your gut. Talk with the pediatrician if you suspect that your baby has a feeding issue, seems uncomfortable or unusually fussy after eating, or doesnt seem to be gaining weight as she should be. Together, you can figure out whats going on and make mealtime more enjoyable.
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Signs Your Baby Is Ready For Solid Foods
Between 17 and 26 weeks , your baby may begin to show some signs they are ready for weaning. Your baby should show more than 1 of these signs before you think about introducing solid foods, especially if they are 17 weeks.
Signs your baby is ready for solid food:
- Able to sit up with support and can control their head movements.
- Co-ordination between their eyes, hands and mouth – they can look at food, pick it up and put it in their mouth by themselves.
- Can swallow food instead of spitting it back out.
These signs show that your baby is ready for you to begin introducing foods other than milk.
Some signs mistaken for a baby being ready for solid foods:
- Chewing fists.
- Waking in the night when they have previously slept through.
- Wanting extra milk feeds now and then.
These are normal baby behaviours and not necessarily a sign of hunger or an interest in solid food.
Starting solid foods will not make your baby any more likely to sleep through the night. Sometimes a little extra milk will help until they are ready for solid food.
Can I Add Spices To Baby Food
As I note elsewhere, experiments suggest that babies enjoy flavors like garlic, and overall, the evidence is clear: There is nothing natural or normal about restricting infants to flavorless, bland food.
Even before they are born, opens in a new window infants are exposed to flavors in the foods that their mothers eat. Food flavors are also opens in a new windowpresent in breast milk. And in cultures throughout the world, babies first foods are mashed up or pureed versions of the foods their parents eat.
This doesnt mean we should spice up an infants food with reckless abandon. Babies may experience flavors a bit differently than we do, and have a lower tolerance for bitter flavors and spicy irritants.
Moreover, some commercially available spices are contaminated with lead. It makes sense to avoid overwhelming your infant with intense flavors, and to be cautious about the source of your spices.
But studies indicate that babies tend to like flavors they have encountered via their mothers diets during gestation and breastfeeding. So if spices like garlic, cumin, or cinnamon are a part of your diet, your baby may be appreciative of such flavors.
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What Should I Do If My Baby Rejects A New Food
Sometimes it isnt just that your baby makes funny faces.
Your baby actively rejects food, by turning away from it, or pushing back the spoon.
Its important to respect these signals and back off for a while. But you shouldnt giving up entirely. Experts advise that you try again the next day.
Research confirms that its perfectly normal for babies to reject new foods on their first, second, and even third tries In fact, babies need many, repeated tastings to develop a liking for a food.
In experimental studies, it has taken 8-10 days of repeated, daily exposure for babies to start accepting a new food .
So the trick is staying the course, even if your baby seems unenthusiastic. In a given feeding session, keep offering the food until your baby has rejected it three times . Then try again tomorrow.
And be advised that you might not notice when things start to change. In the food introduction experiments, parents reported that they perceived no differences over time, even though objective measurements showed the babies had started to come around: They were definitely eating more of the new foods.