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Introducing Solid Foods

Breastmilk is the only food your baby needs for the first 6 months to grow and be healthy. If you give your baby any other food, you may make less breastmilk, which can lead to stopping breastfeeding earlier.1

  • Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months means that only breast milk, vitamins and medications are given to baby in the first six months of life.1
  • Once your baby is ready for other foods at about 6 months, you can still continue to breastfeed until your child is two years old or longer.2

If you have made an informed decision to offer infant formula to your baby, the recommendations for offering complementary (or solid) foods are the same as for babies who are breastfed.


Vitamin D

All babies who are breastfed should be given a daily vitamin D supplement.1 Your breastfed baby needs 10 micrograms (400 IU) of vitamin D as a supplement.1 In some situations, healthcare providers may recommend up to 800 IU or (20 micrograms) per day. They are sold as drops at pharmacies. Continue to give the supplement until your baby is two years of age and is getting vitamin D from their diet.2 There is usually no need to give other vitamins to a baby. View Vitamin D for Breastfed Babies (PDF).

When to start solid foods: About 6 months

Your baby is ready to start solid foods at about 6 months of age.2  Breast milk is still the most important food, but extra nutrients like iron are needed from food.

At 6 months, look for all of these signs that your baby is ready for solids:2 

  • Baby is 6 months old (give or take a few weeks).
  • Baby holds their head up.
  • Baby sits up in a high chair at the family table.
  • Baby opens their mouth wide when you offer a spoon.
  • Baby turns their face away if she doesn’t want the food.
  • Baby closes their lips over the spoon.
  • Baby keeps food in their mouth and swallows it instead of pushing it out.

Baby’s First Foods

At 6 months, it is important to offer iron-rich foods (PDF) such as:2

  • Meat, chicken, turkey
  • Fish
  • Cooked eggs (poached, boiled, scrambled)
  • Tofu
  • Well-cooked legumes such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas
  • Iron fortified infant cereal

After baby has started eating iron-rich foods and is offered them twice a day, offer other foods like vegetables and fruits, food made with whole grains, and milk products like yogurt and cheese.2 No particular order is recommended.

Include your baby in family meals. Family meals help to teach babies better eating habits. Enjoying meals as a family may also help encourage babies and children to try new foods. Do not get discouraged if your baby does not seem to like a food. They often need to try a new food multiple times before they will eat it regularly.


Health Canada infant nutrition guidelines support the introduction of foods in a variety of textures from about 6 months. Offer a variety of soft textures such as finely minced, mashed, ground, lumpy foods and finger foods to your baby starting at 6 months of age.2 This helps your baby develop chewing and swallowing skills. By one year of age, very few puréed foods should be offered.2

Family foods can be mashed with a fork and served on a spoon, cut into pieces the size of a green pea or cut into soft “strips”. Most babies will not learn to use a fork or spoon well until after 1 year of age. Some families prefer to skip pureed foods altogether. Learn more about baby led weaning.

Homemade baby food can be a healthy choice. Choose nutritious ingredients, cook and store foods safely and be extra careful about cleanliness. For more information about making baby food, check out our Baby Food webpage.

Changes in Bowel Habits

Introducing solid foods to your baby may change their bowel habits. It is important to remember that different babies will have different bowel habits. Some babies may have more than one bowel movement a day, while other babies might skip some days. Many parents become concerned that their baby might become constipated after introducing solid foods. Constipation can cause stomach pain, bloating, gas, poor appetite and crankiness. Luckily, true constipation is rare. For more information, visit the Mayo Clinic to learn about the signs of infant constipation and the best way to treat it.

Food Allergies

An allergy is an abnormal reaction of the immune system to a protein in food. Food allergies are more common if a baby’s sibling or parent have allergies, asthma or eczema. Symptoms of food allergies may include diarrhea, vomiting, skin rash, hives and breathing problems. 

Some foods are more likely to cause allergies than others. It is still recommended that you offer these foods to your baby at 6 months.The only foods your baby should not have are honey before one year and homogenized milk to drink before 9-12 months.2

Introduce only one of the allergenic foods (listed below) every two days:

  • whole eggs, milk, mustard, fish and shellfish, sesame, soy, tree nut butters (e.g., almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butter), wheat products, including wheat-based infant cereals.

During this two-day waiting period, look for signs of a food allergy in your baby. If there is a reaction, it will likely appear within 48 hours. If you think your baby has an allergy, contact your doctor. When introducing foods not found in the list above, you do not need to wait before introducing another new food. Visit Food Allergy Canada to learn how to help prevent food allergy in your baby.

Introducing Milk

Wait until 9-12 months, when your baby is eating a variety of iron-rich foods before introducing homogenized milk (3.25% milk fats). Offer homogenized milk in an open cup. For more information, check out Transitioning Your Baby to Cow’s Milk.

If you want to offer a plant-based beverage to your baby instead of cow’s milk, you should wait until 24 months of age. Many plant-based beverages do not have enough fat and protein to support a young child’s growth. Before 24 months of age, soy formula is the best plant-based option. For more information, check out Nutritional Content of Plant-Based Beverages.

Feeding Your Vegetarian Baby 

A vegetarian diet that includes a variety of foods from Canada’s Food Guide will help your baby grow well and be healthy. However, a vegetarian diet that lacks too many nutrients may put your baby’s growth and health at risk.

Starting at 6 months, you can introduce iron rich infant cereal, whole cooked eggs. and pureed or mashed plant-based proteins, such as tofu, dried peas, beans and lentils.2 Once your baby is eating iron-rich foods twice a day, offer vegetables, fruit, whole grains and milk or soy products.2

If you have questions or concerns about introducing solid foods to your baby, talk to a Registered Dietitian or your healthcare provider.


Feeding Your Baby: A Guide to Help You Introduce Solid Foods

Feeding Your Baby from 6-8 Months

Feeding Your Baby From About 9 Months

Iron for Babies and Young Children

Vitamin D for Breastfed Babies

Vitamin D: How to Give to Baby

Eating Well for New Moms

Date of creation: January 14, 2013
Last modified on: January 27, 2024


1Health Canada. (2015, August 18). Nutrition for healthy term infants. Recommendations from birth to six months. Retrieved from
2Health Canada. (2015, January 19). Nutrition for healthy term infants. Recommendations from six to 24 months. Retrieved from