How to Introduce Solid Foods to Your Baby

Introducing solid foods is an exciting milestone for both parents and baby. As your little one grows from a milk-fed newborn to an exploring toddler, they will reach key development points that signal readiness to leave bottled formula or breastmilk behind.

The first taste of cereals, purees or finger foods opens up a world of flavours, textures and sensory learning. This journey into eating not only fuels their tiny growing bodies but helps baby begin to participate in family mealtime.

Starting to supplement milk feedings with solid foods can be confusing though, especially for first-time parents. When should you start? What order should new foods be introduced? How much should a baby eat when beginning solids? This article will guide you through the when, what, and how of starting solids so you feel informed, confident and ready to take this next step together with your baby.

When is Baby Ready for Solids?

There are a few signs that indicate your baby is ready to begin eating solid foods:

  • They can hold their head up and sit with support: Babies need good head and neck control to be able to safely swallow solid foods. If your baby’s head still flops back when upright, they may not be ready yet.
  • They seem interested in food: Your baby may start staring at your food, reaching for it, or opening their mouth when they see you eating. This is a clear signal they want to try some!
  • Doubled birth weight or more: Generally, babies that have at least doubled their birth weight and weigh over 13 pounds have the muscle strength needed to eat solids.
  • Can bring objects to their mouth themselves: Fine motor development and coordination allows your baby to successfully self-feed some finger foods.

If your baby is hitting most or all of these milestones, it’s likely a good time to introduce that first taste of rice cereal or pureed carrots!

Starting with a Single Ingredient

When first offering the solid foods, start with just one ingredient at a time. This allows you to monitor for any signs of an allergic reaction or intolerance. Rice cereal and pureed fruits/veggies are great first foods.

For the first few days, offer just a teaspoon or two of the new food. Gradually increase to a couple tablespoons each meal over the following week as your baby adjusts to the texture and flavours. Take it slow though - their digestive systems are still immature. Too much volume of solids too fast may upset their little tummies. 

Mealtime Tips and Safety

Here are some useful tips to make mealtimes go smoothly as your baby navigates eating solids:

  • Choose a time when the baby is alert and hungry.
  • Use a baby spoon but be prepared for a mess! Scooping up some food onto the tip of their spoon can help them guide it into their mouth.
  • Start meals with just a few teaspoons of food. Let your baby guide you if they want more or are full.
  • Be patient and let them explore new foods with their hands too. Sensory play is great during this learning process!
  • Supervise constantly to prevent choking hazards. Never prop bottles or leave baby alone with food or drink besides breastmilk or formula.
  • Sit the baby upright, either in a high chair or infant seat to reduce the choking risk. 
  • Always check food temperatures. Solid foods should not be served straight from the fridge, warm them up or allow them to come closer to room temp before spooning some for the baby.

Introducing allergenic foods

The latest infant feeding guidelines no longer promote delaying introducing allergenic foods like cow’s milk products, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts and peanuts. Unless your baby has a known food allergy, you can start incorporating these ingredients between 4-6 months following the same tips above for single ingredient introduction. This early exposure may actually help prevent some food allergies down the road.

Making Your Own Baby Food

If you want to prepare your own homemade purees, fruits and veggies like apples, pears, sweet potatoes, peas and carrots are all great starter options. Cook until very soft, then puree to smooth consistency with breastmilk, formula or water using a blender or food processor. Frozen fruits and veggies work too but may need some warming first. When freezing homemade purees in an ice cube tray, thawed cubes can be easily re-hydrated with a liquid.

Signs Your Baby is Ready to Move to Finger foods and More Texture 

Over the next several months, your baby will continue mastering the art of eating solid foods. Look for these signs around 8 months old that signal they may be ready to add more texture and start self-feeding some easy finger food options:

  • Sitting sturdily without support
  • Good ability to chew up and down
  • Developing pincer grasp to pick up foods
  • Trying to grab spoons or food off your plate

Great first finger foods include small pieces of bananas, strips of toast, steamed vegetables, little meatballs, cheese cubes, pasta spirals and baby crackers. Always be nearby to assist since gagging or choking is still a risk at this age as they learn how to manoeuvre new foods in their mouth.


Transitioning to Family Meals with Modified Table foods 

Between 9-12 months old, your baby will likely have mastered purees and soft finger foods. Now is the time to get them acclimated to joining family mealtimes! They can be eating almost everything you eat, though their portions will still be quite small. Here are some final tips as you help baby round out their first year eating journey:

  • Offer bite sized pieces your baby can pick up themselves
  • Modify the texture of some foods if needed by cutting softer cooked veggies or fruits into manageable sticks or small dices 
  • Skip added sugars or salt from the family meal you serve baby
  • Allow self-feeding while closely supervising 
  • Understand that meals will be messy as baby learns! Use bibs and washable plates while allowing them to explore



The first year of starting solid foods comes with such rapid change. Pay close attention to your baby’s signals, introduce new foods slowly and follow safe feeding practices. Their smiles and food covered face let you know they are ready to join the family table and all the mealtime fun ahead!

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1. How to start introducing solid foods?

Ans. Start by offering simple foods like rice cereal and pureed fruits/veggies.

2. When to start feeding solids to the baby?

Ans. Lookout for signs of readiness such as can hold their head up or sit with support, doubled their birth weight and they seem interested in food.

3. What are some signs that my baby might be allergic to a new food?

Ans. Watch out for signs like rash, hives, vomiting, or diarrhea after introducing a new food.

4. Can I make my own baby food at home?

Ans. Yes, you can! Fruits and veggies like apples, pears, sweet potatoes, peas, and carrots can be cooked or served easily.

5. How much solid food should I feed my baby at each meal?

Ans. Start with just a few teaspoons of food and gradually increase the quantity as they show signs of being full or wanting more.

6. When can I start giving my baby finger foods?

Ans. You can start introducing soft finger foods to your baby when they became more than 8 months old.

7. Are there any foods I should avoid giving to my baby?

Ans. Avoid foods that are choking hazards, such as whole grapes, nuts, popcorn, and chunks of meat. Also, avoid honey before age 1 due to the risk of botulism.

8. How can I tell if my baby is choking?

Ans. Signs of choking include difficulty breathing, coughing, gagging, or a bluish tint to the skin. 

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