Guidelines for Introducing Solid Foods to Infants
The guidelines for introducing solid foods to infants have changed over the years. The following is a summary of the current guidelines.
Exclusive breast-feeding is recommended for the first six months, and may be continued for up to two years or longer along with solid foods.
Introduce solid foods at around six months of age and no later than nine months of age.
Begin with iron-rich foods. Your baby’s iron stores begin to deplete around six months of age and need to be restored. Iron-rich foods include the following:
- Soft-cooked pureed, mashed or finely chopped beef, chicken or pork
- Mashed or finely chopped low sodium canned salmon with bones mashed or removed
- Well-cooked mashed eggs, tofu, lentils or beans
- Iron-fortified infant cereals mixed with breastmilk or infant formula
After introducing iron-rich foods, there is no particular order recommended for the introduction of other foods.
However, it may be best to introduce vegetables before introducing sweeter tasting foods. This may help your baby enjoy a wider variety of foods. Ensure vegetables are well-cooked, and mashed or in very small pieces.
Introduce fruits such as puréed fruits and small pieces of mango, peaches and bananas.
Introduce full fat cheeses and yogurts.
And finally, introduce grain products such as toast, “O” shaped cereals and well-cooked pasta.
If introducing cow’s milk, introduce between 9 and 12 months of age. Limit intake to no more than 750 mL per day.
Avoid giving honey to children under one year of age to help prevent infant botulism.
Limit fruit juice and sweetened beverages.
How do you know when your baby is ready to try solid foods? Look for the following signs.
- Your baby has good head control
- Your baby can sit up and lean forward
- Your baby can pick up food and try to put it in his or her mouth
- Your baby can turn his or her head away when full