10 Tips for Introducing Foods to Your Baby After 6 Months of Age

April 16, 2024
This article has been written and endorsed by the nutritionist María Patricia Piñero
As your baby grows, their diet must diversify to ensure that they get the nutrients needed to continue to develop. But there are a few things you should know before you start introducing new foods.

You did a good job with exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of your baby’s life, but from now on, your baby will grow much faster, and you need to combine breast milk with new foods. Do you want to make it all go smoothly? Then follow some tips for introducing foods to your little one after six months that we’ll share with you below.

Remember that complementary feeding is a process that requires special knowledge and dedication on the part of parents and caregivers. For this reason, you should be guided by health professionals. Keep reading for the best advice!

Differences in feeding before and after six months of age

Until six months of age, a baby’s digestive system is still developing, so breast milk or formula are the most suitable options for feeding. Of course, of the two, breast milk is tailor-made. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends it as the exclusive food during the first six months of a little one’s life.

After six months of age, a baby’s nutritional requirements change, as explained in a report published by the World Health Organization (WHO). Breast milk fails to meet the new demand for energy and nutrients for babies. Therefore, introducing new foods to supplement their diet is necessary.

For example, the baby’s iron stores are depleted, and breast milk or formula milk can’t meet those needs. Other food sources must then be sought to cover it. In addition, sources of protein, zinc, and vitamins A and C must be included in a baby’s diet.

In addition, according to the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, the inclusion of new foods after six months of age is associated with greater digestive and renal maturation. Likewise, it also contributes to greater neurological and immune system development.

What advice should you follow for this new stage in your baby’s feeding? We’ll talk about that below.

Tips for including new foods after six months of age

The American Academy of Pediatrics also makes it clear that in order to include new foods, babies must have good motor maturity. For example, they need to be able to hold their head up, open their mouth when food is brought near them, and take food from the spoon to their mouth. Let’s look at some other tips to consider when it comes to introducing new foods.

1. Watch out for microbial contamination

When you start introducing new foods, make sure your baby’s hands and your own hands are clean. Remember that by this time, your baby is crawling, and their hands are touching all types of surfaces, including the floor you walk on. Food should also have good hygiene, so washing with plenty of water and disinfecting it is a priority, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables.

2. Make sure that most of the calories are provided by breast milk

As recommended by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), introducing new foods doesn’t mean that the baby abandons breastfeeding or formula. On the contrary, it’s advisable to offer food after or between breastfeeding sessions. This should be maintained until at least one year of age.

3. Start with foods with a soft texture

A baby’s motor limitations during chewing are a point to take into account. A good tip is to start with foods with soft, non-fibrous textures that are easy to chew. So, include well-mashed fruit or vegetable purees. Steam cooking is advised as the best option to preserve nutrients.

The work of Esteban Borowitz, published in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics in 2021, also recommends that first foods should be easy to swallow. For example, iron-fortified baby purees and cereals.

You can start with half a tablespoon or less, and during the process, talk to your baby about the food. Then, increase the amount gradually, watching for signs of fullness. If they refuse the food, don’t force them to eat. Try again with a lot of patience and without pressure.

What foods should you choose to feed your baby after six months?

We’ll show you right now. It’s advisable to start with the following:

  • Parsnip
  • Potato
  • Yam
  • Zucchini
  • Sweet potato
  • Carrot
  • Pear or apple
  • Iron-fortified rice and oats


  • Cooked and finely ground chicken or turkey
  • Well-cooked and mashed legumes
  • Yogurt and cheese (it’s advisable not to incorporate cow’s milk as a drink until one year of age).

4. Give the right amount according to the capacity of your baby’s stomach

As a baby’s stomach is very small, start with half a spoonful to try and then increase to two. The frequency can be twice a day. As the child grows, the capacity increases.

Children between 7 and 8 months of age can already eat half a cup of soft foods two times a day. Between nine and eleven, you can increase the frequency to three or four times a day and offer small pieces instead of mashing.

5. Get guidance on other complementary feeding methods

There are other ways to introduce new foods. The Cleveland Clinic promotes baby-led weaning. In this method of complementary feeding, parents guided by specialists start to offer small pieces of whole food to their children.

However, although, among other advantages, the baby’s autonomy is developed, there are some risks, such as choking and lower nutrient intake. If you want to implement this method with your baby, consult your pediatrician.

6. Introduce foods one at a time

It’s important to introduce new foods one at a time and wait three to five days to see if there’s any allergic reaction. This also allows your baby to get used to the taste and texture of each food. Evaluations in collaboration with a specialist are recommended in the case of suspected food allergies.

7. Incorporate foods that are sources of iron and zinc

Foods such as fortified whole grain cereals or soups made with meat are sources of iron and zinc. Also, make sure that cereals are baby-friendly, starting with rice and oatmeal and then incorporating barley, buckwheat, and quinoa.

8. Don’t add salt or sugar to baby foods

You should never use salt or sugar in baby foods during complementary feeding. Salts can overload kidney function, and sugar can contribute to the development of tooth decay.

According to an article in the journal Nutrients, the frequent use of these ingredients in infants can negatively influence their health in the medium term.

9. Offer a variety of foods

Once new foods have been incorporated one at a time, you should maintain the variety of different groups to ensure key nutrients for growth and good development.

In addition to the foods listed above, you can vary with banana, mango, peach, melon, or watermelon. Among vegetables, you can introduce broccoli, sweet potato, cauliflower, and spinach–all well-cooked and mashed.

Avocado and olive oil are good sources of healthy fats, as well as peanut butter or almond butter. You can switch from white meat to beef or veal and offer it in soups, meatballs, or as burgers. You can also incorporate legumes one by one, varying between lentils, chickpeas, beans, and peas, among others.

10. Beware of choking

Beware of the texture of some foods because of the risk of choking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say to be careful with cherry tomatoes, grapes, small pieces of fruit, berries, and cherries. The same is true in the case of dried fruits, nuts, corn kernels, crackers, and granola bars.

Meats should be cooked and mashed or ground. In the case of fruits such as apples, peaches, pears, or any other fruit with a firm, hard texture, it’s best to steam them to soften them.

Assure that your baby’s diet is complete when introducing new foods

The transition to solid foods is an important stage in a baby’s development. It’s essential to introduce nutritious foods, but little by little, in order to ensure your child’s growth and development.

Care must be taken with the texture of new foods, the way they’re cooked, and the variety so that no nutrients are missing. Foods such as fruits and vegetables with a smooth texture that are well-mashed or steamed, fortified cereals, lean meats, and legumes are examples of foods you can choose from.

Always remember to consult with your healthcare professional before making any changes to your baby’s diet.

  • Baby-Led Weaning: What You Need to Know. Cleveland Clinic. Actualizado: 27 de octubre 2021. Disponible en: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/baby-led-weaning/
  • Bournez, M., Ksiazek, E., Charles, M. A., Lioret, S., Brindisi, M. C., de Lauzon-Guillain, B., & Nicklaus, S. (2019). Frequency of Use of Added Sugar, Salt, and Fat in Infant Foods up to 10 Months in the Nationwide ELFE Cohort Study: Associated Infant Feeding and Caregiving Practices. Nutrients11(4), 733. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040733
  • Borowitz S. M. (2021). First Bites-Why, When, and What Solid Foods to Feed Infants. Frontiers in pediatrics9, 654171. https://doi.org/10.3389/fped.2021.654171
  • Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades. CDC. Peligros de ahogo por atragantamiento. Actualizado el 15 de diciembre de 2020. Disponible en: https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/foods-and-drinks/peligros-de-ahogo-por-atragantamiento.html
  • Fernandez Vegue, Dra. M. G. (n.d.). Recomendaciones de la AEP sobre Alimentación Complementaria. Asociación Española de Pediatría. https://www.aeped.es/comite-nutricion-y-lactancia-materna/nutricion-infantil/documentos/recomendaciones-aep-sobre-alimentacion
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