Your Baby’s First Foods: How and How Often

Your Baby’s First Foods is a three-part series of blogs on how to introduce solid food to your baby. The first part, ‘Your Baby’s First Foods: Which Method and When’, will introduce you to the common methods, when to start and which foods to start with. The second part, ‘Your Baby’s First Foods: How and How Often’ will give instructions on how to begin the process and the third part, ‘Your Baby’s First Foods: Tips for Success’, will give a few suggestions and tricks to make the process as smooth as possible.

How to Start

The first 6-8 months of feeding can be slow. It is recommended to introduce only one new food every 3 days, first thing in the morning and to watch for any signs of sensitivity or allergy. After 8 months, it is easier to build balanced meals as needs increase. Try to include the items in your meals as well so your child can see you eating them, and eat them at the table to develop good habits for both you and your child.

I have mapped out the first 3 weeks of introducing foods to give you an idea of what it could look like. The 7 foods I chose to start with are:

  • Iron fortified infant cereal (I recommend oat cereal, due to potentially high arsenic levels in rice, and went for one with no added sugar, salt and very few ingredients).
  • Eggs (offer them scrambled, hard boiled, over hard, or as an omelet – cutting or chopping to age appropriate texture).
  • Humus (at first just blended chickpeas, then adding flavour).
  • Broccoli florets.
  • Toast, cut into finger-like pieces.
  • Bananas.
  • Pumpkin seed butter on her toast as it is higher in iron then peanut butter.

How Often Should Your Child Be Eating Solids?

Remember that for the first 2-3 months of introducing foods it should be fun and relaxed to develop good habits for both parents and children. You are experimenting and introducing your child to a wide variety of foods, flavour and textures. It may take a while for your child to even swallow some of the food they are exploring (touching, licking, mushing, spitting out etc.). Be patient and keep introducing foods with minimal pressure. Remember to offer your child food at the same time you and your family will be eating.

6 months: offer foods 1-2 times per day.

7-8 months: work up to offering food 2-3 times per day, at meal times.

9-10 months: offering food 3 times per day at meal times, along with 0-2 snacks.

Note: as the food starts to make up more of your Childs diet, at the 9-month mark, start offering breastmilk/formula after meals and snacks to encourage them to eat more food.

10+ months: offer 3 meals per day plus 1-3 snacks per day.

Your child’s appetite will vary from day to day depending on how they are feeling, time of day, how much breastmilk/formula they have had and whether they are going through a growth spurt. It may seem scary at the start but you will quickly get into a rhythm.