Nutrition Guide for a 6-Month Baby

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This is a general nutrition guide for a 6-month-old baby. Many health professional organizations recommend starting solids around 6 months and in this guide, you’ll learn a bit more about the transition, foods that contain certain nutrients for growth and more! Remember, it’s always helpful to reach out to a healthcare professional if you need individualized advice, as this is not a substitute for medical advice.

The transition from Breastmilk (or formula) to Solids:

  • Transitioning from breast milk (or formula) to solids is a gradual process. At the beginning of starting solids, it is not recommended to cut or reduce breast feeds during the first few weeks. 90-100% of nutrition needs will likely be met with breast milk; however, the addition of solid foods is complementary to that. You can begin with small portions of developmentally appropriate and soft finger foods or purees or mashed foods and gradually progress to more complex textures and recipes. Pay attention to your baby’s cues and preferences, ensuring a smooth transition that aligns with their developmental readiness.
  • If you choose and you are able, you can continue to offer breast milk feeds as normal. When your child starts to catch on to eating, you may see the amounts or frequency of breastfeeds decrease. This is a natural part of the weaning process and looks different for every child.

Healthy Foods for a 6-Month-Old Baby:

  • When it comes to nourishing your 6-month-old, think about introducing developmentally appropriate foods from all of the food groups including fruits, vegetables, meats, legumes, and healthy fats. These choices offer a well-rounded blend of essential vitamins and minerals, supporting your baby’s growth and development during this crucial stage.
  • Babies can typically have most foods as long as they do not show signs of an allergy, or as long as they are not very high in sodium or refined sugars. The one food you really do want to avoid is honey as botulism is not worth the risk.

First, let’s take a closer look at the macros.


  • Importance: Essential for growth, tissue repair, and immune function.
  • How much do babies need?
    • 6 month olds need: 1.52 gm/kg/day or around 9 gm/day
    • 10 months old need: ~1.2gm/kg/day or around 11 gm/day
  • Food sources: Protein is typically sourced from foods like chicken, turkey, beef, pork, and lamb as well as fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, cod, and haddock which offer both protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Seafood choices encompass shrimp, crab, lobster, mussels, and clams. All of which should be cooked. Eggs and dairy products, including eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, milk, and various cheeses like mozzarella, are excellent protein sources. Plant-based proteins like lentils, chickpeas, black beans, quinoa, and tofu offer alternatives for vegetarians and vegans. Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, peanuts, walnuts, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds, are rich in protein and healthy fats. Soy products like tempeh, edamame, and soy milk provide additional plant-based protein options. Even some veggies and other grains contain small amounts of protein.


  • Importance: Essential for the development of the infant’s brain and nervous system, fat also serves as a concentrated source of energy crucial for growth and overall health.
  • How much fat do babies need? Infants aged 6 months require approximately 30 grams of fat per day, constituting a significant portion of their total caloric intake.
  • What are some fat-rich foods? Breast milk or formula provides an adequate amount of fat for the infant’s needs. Additionally, introducing age-appropriate solid foods such as avocados, tender or ground meats, and oils (avocado, olive) can contribute to a well-rounded fat intake.


  • Importance: Crucial for providing energy to support the rapid growth and development of babies, carbohydrates play a vital role in meeting the energy demands of various physiological processes.
  • How many carbohydrates do babies need? Infants aged 6 months require approximately 60 grams of carbohydrates per day, constituting a substantial portion of their total caloric intake.
  • What are some carbohydrate-rich foods? Breast milk or formula naturally contains carbohydrates, primarily in the form of lactose. As complementary foods are introduced, age-appropriate options such as fruits, vegetables, iron-fortified cereals, grains and root vegetables can contribute to a balanced carbohydrate intake.

Check out our guides for the best fruits and vegetables for every age and stage.

Essential Vitamins and Minerals for a 6-Month Baby

At 6 months, your baby benefits from a spectrum of nutrients – iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and D. These play vital roles in bone development, immune function, and overall well-being. Ensuring a diverse and nutrient-rich diet lays a solid foundation for your baby’s health.

In addition to a balanced macro profile of protein, fat and carbohydrates, some nutrients to focus on will be Iron, Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Omega-3 fatty acids and Zinc.

This list is not entirely conclusive of all of the nutrients needed for growth. It’s also important to recognize that we do not typically recommend parents track or measure nutrients or foods eaten unless a child has a specific medical condition where that is recommended. This is more of a general guide to help you understand what you can offer your baby, and also some prominent foods that help babies meet their nutrient needs.


  • Importance: Iron is an essential mineral needed for babies’ proper growth and development. The body uses Iron to maintain essential blood health and also to make some hormones. It is vital for cognitive development and preventing iron deficiency anemia, which can affect a baby’s learning, behavior and general growth.
  • How much iron do babies need? Infants 7-12 months need around 11 mg/day.
  • What are some iron-rich foods? Some iron-rich food sources babies can have are typically meats such as beef, lamb, turkey, mackerel, and salmon. Some plant-based sources are beans, legumes, lentils, and tofu. Foods such as eggs, spinach, and prunes also contain small amounts of iron. All of these foods can be offered if cooked to a soft texture as a puree, ground meat, or a patty. You can also offer the meats in finger-length strips as long as they are tender, and shred easily.


  • Importance: Essential for the development of strong bones and teeth, calcium plays a crucial role in the formation of a baby’s skeletal structure.
  • How much calcium do babies need? Babies 6-11 months need 260 mg of calcium per day. Many babies’ calcium needs are typically met with breast milk or formula within the first year, and calcium supplementation is often not needed.
  • What are some calcium-rich foods? Foods with the highest amount of calcium are typically dairy or animal products such as yogurt, cheese, kefir, and milk. Yogurt and cheese are okay to introduce to babies at 6 months, however, dairy is considered a top 9 allergen and should be introduced individually (not with another allergen) at first. It is not recommended for babies to have cow’s milk before 12 months, as we do not want it to displace their breast milk or formula feeds (as these are more nutritionally complete and appropriate for babies). Other foods with calcium are sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds (a choking hazard, so offer grounded or finely chopped), beans, lentils, salmon, and leafy greens.

Vitamin D:

  • Importance: Works in conjunction with calcium for bone health and supports the immune system.
  • How much vitamin D do babies need?
    • Breastfed or partially breastfed babies need 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day starting soon after birth.
    • Babies should continue to receive this amount of vitamin D until weaned from breast milk or until they drink 32 ounces (about 1 litre) a day of vitamin D-fortified formula or, after age 12 months, whole milk.
    • If a baby is formula-fed and getting less than 32 ounces (about 1 litre) a day of vitamin D-fortified formula it is recommended they receive 400 IU of liquid vitamin D supplement a day — starting in the first few days after birth. Babies should continue receiving the vitamin D supplement until they drink at least 32 ounces (about 1 litre) of vitamin D-fortified formula a day.
    • It’s important to note that research is evolving with vitamin D needs, and some countries that are located far in the north are starting to recommend more than this. It’s always good to check with the guidelines in your country.
  • Food sources of vitamin D are salmon, mushrooms, sardines, and mackerel. However, the amounts needed to consume daily to meet vitamin requirements are very high and babies or small children are unlikely to eat that quantity daily. Therefore, it’s often recommended to supplement.

Vitamin A:

  • Importance: Essential for vision, immune function, and skin health. There are two forms of vitamin A (preformed and provitamin A carotenoids).
  • How much do babies need? Babies from birth to 6 months have a recommended daily allowance of 400 mcg (RAE) (retinol activity equivalents).
  • Food sources: Organ meats such as liver (beef or chicken). If offering liver we recommend offering small amounts occasionally as the amount of vitamin A can exceed the RDA. Foods such as salmon, sweet potato, dairy products, green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, and other orange, and yellow vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and winter squash. Fruits, including rock melon, mangos, and apricots also contain vitamin A. Eggs are also another great source.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

  • Importance: Support brain development and function. DHA, a type of omega-3, is a major component of the brain and eyes.
  • How much do babies need? The adequate intake from birth to 12 months is 0.5 g per day.
  • Food sources: fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel. Nuts and seeds such as flaxseed, chia and walnuts. Plant oils such as flaxseed oil and olive oil. Some fortified foods such as eggs, yogurts, milk, soy beverages and infant formulas may also have omega 3’s.


  • Importance: Essential for various physiological functions, zinc plays a crucial role in supporting the infant’s immune system, growth, and overall development. It is involved in cell division, protein synthesis, and wound healing.
  • How much zinc do babies need? Infants aged 6 months require approximately 2 milligrams of zinc per day, contributing to their overall nutritional needs for optimal health. Zinc supplementation is rarely needed unless medically indicated.
  • What are some zinc-rich foods? Breast milk and formula naturally provide zinc for infants. As complementary foods are introduced, incorporating sources such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and fortified cereals can help meet the baby’s zinc requirements.

Meeting nutritional needs is often achieved through a combination of breast milk or formula and the gradual introduction of nutrient-rich solid foods. It’s important to consult with a paediatrician for personalized guidance based on the individual needs and development of the infant.

For help with understanding solids introduction, please read our Guide to Introducing Solids.

Author: Leah Hackney, RD, LD, CSP @kids.nutritionist

Photo by Garrett Jackson on Unsplash