Your baby's first foods should be rich in iron because the iron they were born with is running low. Iron helps a baby grow and be healthy. A baby without enough iron may have poor appetite, develop slowly, get sick more often, and be tired. Learn more about why iron is very important for healthy development.
Start with one spoonful of a single iron rich food and try to offer these foods two to three times each day. Some healthy iron rich foods to try are:
Well-cooked finely minced or shredded meat, poultry or fish
Mashed cooked egg, lentils or cooked tofu
Single grain iron-fortified infant cereal
List of iron rich foods to try
It is also important to introduce a variety of textures from other food groups starting at six months. Try to offer a variety of food from Canada's Food Guide. Food does not need to be pureed. Simply mushing it with a fork is good enough. If you start with pureed baby food, move to well mashed food within a few weeks of starting solids. You should also offer a variety of finger foods as a part of first solid foods.
By nine months of age, offer your baby the same foods as the family is eating. Small amounts of whole milk may be offered once your baby is 9-12 months old and is eating a variety of iron rich foods.
Fish is a great source of protein, iron and lots of other nutrients. However, some fish have higher levels of mercury which might be harmful to the brain. Infants 6-12 months should only have ½ serving (40 grams or 1 ¼ ounces) per month. Children over the age of one can have 1 serving (75 grams) per month. Fish that are high in mercury are fresh or frozen tuna, shark, marlin, swordfish, escolar and orange roughy. Here are guidelines for eating fish with higher mercury levels.