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First Year

Last Reviewed: March 2017

Baby's First Foods

9 months to 1 year

  • Encourage your baby to feed himself. This helps him learn to eat independently
  • Offer foods he can pick up and that are easy to chew, such as: small pieces of soft
  • Continue to offer a variety of textures of food, so your baby learns to chew
  • During mealtimes, turn off the TV and remove all distractions (such as toys or books)
  • You can decide whether to breastfeed or offer solid foods first based on your child's cues and convenience
  • Allow your baby to eat at his own pace
  • Eat together as a family whenever possible, you are your child's best role model
  • If you're returning to work or school during this time, you can still continue to breastfeed your baby with a bit of planning

Foods to Avoid:

  • Certain foods that are hard, sticky or crunchy can block your baby's airway and cause choking
  • Examples of foods that shouldn't be given to children under 4:
    • Chunky peanut butter
    • Hard candy
    • Chewing gum
    • Raisins
    • Popcorn
    • Nuts and seeds
  • Examples of how to avoid choking:
    • Spread smooth peanut butter thinly on toast, never serve it from a spoon
    • Cut cooked vegetables (carrots, squash) in strips
    • Cut grapes, cherries in half or quarters and remove seeds
  • You can offer all foods except honey. You need to wait until your baby is 1 year of age before offering honey in any form. This is because honey can cause infant botulism.
  • Serve fish that are low in mercury (tilapia, haddock, cod, salmon) twice a week. Avoid fish that are high in mercury (swordfish, tuna steak).
  • Do not serve your baby sashimi and sushi that contain raw fish and raw oysters, because of the risk of food poisoning.

Food group tips

At about nine months, your baby can pick things up with her thumb and forefinger. Now is the time to offer small pieces of table foods or “finger foods” for snacks and with meals.

  • Let your baby feed herself with her hands or with a plastic baby spoon. Make sure her hands are clean before eating.
  • Expect a mess! Making a mess is just part of learning how to eat.

Vegetables and fruit

  • Continue to offer a variety of vegetables and fruit.
  • Offer your baby foods that you're cooking for the rest of the family. You don't need to make separate food for your baby.
  • Vegetables and fruits should be:
    • Soft
    • Cooked
    • Cut in bite-sized pieces (so your baby can pick them up with his fingers)
  • Ripe fruits like bananas, peaches, kiwi, and cantaloupe are soft and do not need to be cooked.
  • You can grate raw vegetables or fruits, such as carrots, cucumber, apple.

Grain products

  • Continue to give your baby iron-fortified infant cereal.
  • You can mix infant cereal with fruit or other healthy foods.
  • Offer finger foods such as:
    • Pieces of bagel
    • Dry toast strips
    • Roti, naan, or flat bread
    • Noodles,
    • Cooked pasta
    • Unsalted crackers
  • Avoid offering pre-packaged snacks such as 'baby puffs'. These foods provide little nutrition and are not a substitute for healthy finger foods.

Meat and alternatives

  • These foods are a good source of iron and important for your baby's growth and development
  • Offer foods from this food group two or more times each day
  • Give bite-size pieces of tender boneless meat, (i.e. beef, chicken, fish, lamb, pork)
  • You can also offer cooked eggs, beans and tofu
  • Avoid or limit the use of processed meats, like deli meats or hot dogs, as they are too high in added salt

Milk and alternatives

  • Breast milk is still your baby's most important food. You can continue to breastfeed until your baby is 2 years or older
  • Between 9-12 months and when your baby is eating a variety of iron-rich foods, you can offer your baby homogenized cow's milk (3.25% milk fat).
  • Give milk at meal times in an open cup - babies can go directly from breastfeeding to drinking from a cup
  • Offer full fat plain yogurt, cottage cheese and small cubes of soft cheese (pasteurized) or shredded cheese
  • Full fat goat's milk can be given if it's fortified with folic acid or vitamin D
  • Babies who drink too much milk are at risk for iron deficiency, limit milk to no more than 750mL per day


  • Babies need the fat from milk and milk products to grow.
  • Babies shouldn't be given skim, 1%, 2% milk, or low-fat milk products.
  • Avoid giving soy, rice or other vegetarian beverages:
    • They do not have enough fat
    • They may not have vitamin D added to them
    • If your baby is allergic to cow's milk, talk to your doctor
  • Never give unpasteurized milk.

For more information:

Region of Peel - Public Health
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
to speak with a Public Health Nurse

Caledon residents call free of charge at 905-584-2216

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Revised: Wednesday June 28 2017

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