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Infant nutrition needs: 6-8 months

As your baby reaches 6-8 months old, some vitamins and minerals are especially important for their health. Learn about 5 essential nutrients for infants in this stage and the foods that are rich in them!

4 mins to read Nov 6, 2023

Your baby is growing faster during the first year than at any other time of their life. On average, their birth weight will triple, and they will grow about 25cm (10in) in length by the time they turn one.

As your little one starts having solid foods, there are several key nutrients to keep in mind to promote their growth and development.

Offer your little one a variety of foods from all the food groups to ensure that they’re getting enough of the following necessary nutrients.


Why it’s important

Iron is essential for the proper development of your baby’s brain. It also helps their blood carry oxygen around their body to where it’s needed.

By six months the iron stores your baby was born with are running low, so it’s important to offer them foods rich in iron.

Research has shown that many six to eight-month-old babies may not meet the recommended intake of iron. Not getting enough iron can result in anemia, which causes fatigue and weakness. Worldwide, approximately 43% of children aged six months to five years have anemia—that’s the equivalent of 273 million children.

The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends introducing iron-rich first foods to your baby’s diet at around 6 months, when baby has used up most of the iron they received from mom during pregnancy.

Iron-rich foods for babies 6-8 months

Here are some examples of iron-rich foods that you can introduce to your baby at this stage:

  • Iron-fortified baby cereals
  • Unprocessed meats (such as beef, pork, lamb, and chicken)
  • Fish
  • Eggs

Other sources of iron include:

  • Beans and legumes (such as lentils, chickpeas, and black beans)
  • Leafy dark green vegetables (such as spinach, green peas, and broccoli) 

Wait until your baby is 9-12 months old and eating a variety of iron-rich foods before introducing whole cow’s milk.

Vitamin D

Why it’s important

Vitamin D is essential for bone, tooth, and muscle growth.

Our bodies produce vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunshine. Since young babies need to be kept out of the sun, or wear sunscreen at an appropriate age, they are not able to produce enough vitamin D and need to get it from another source.

It’s important to know that while breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby, breast milk is low in vitamin D. This is why the Canadian Pediatric Society recommends that babies who are breastfed or partially breastfed receive a vitamin D supplements of 400 IU per day such as ones like Gerber® Supplements for Baby Vit D + DHA. Not getting enough vitamin D can lead to rickets—a softening of bones that can occur as children grow.

Foods with vitamin D for babies 6-8 months

Keep in mind that breastfed and partially breastfed infants should receive a daily vitamin D supplement. Here are some foods that can top up your baby’s vitamin D intake:

  • Fatty fish (such as salmon and trout)
  • Eggs


Why it’s important

Calcium is important for building your little one’s bones, as well as their teeth. It also helps their nervous system and muscles work properly.

Getting enough calcium is important for babies at this age so keep breastfeeding and/or formula feeding, and offer your little one foods that are high in calcium

Calcium-rich foods for babies 6-8 months

Here are some examples of foods rich in calcium to consider feeding your 6-8 month old:

  • Plain, whole-milk yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Leafy dark green vegetables (such as kale and broccoli)
  • Tofu
  • Beans


Why it’s important

Your baby needs zinc for healthy growth. It plays an important role in keeping their immune system strong, helping fight off infections, and healing wounds. Zinc is also essential in cell growth and repair, so it’s a key mineral for your growing baby.

Zinc-rich foods for babies 6-8 months

Zinc is a nutrient that is found in a variety of foods. Here are some examples of zinc-rich foods you can enrich your baby’s diet with:

  • Meats (such as beef and chicken)
  • Seafood
  • Beans and legumes (such as lentils, chickpeas, and black beans)
  • Whole-milk yogurt and cheese (such as cheddar and mozzarella)
  • Whole grains (such as wholegrain bread, quinoa, and oats)

Vitamin A

Why it’s important

Vitamin A promotes healthy growth and vision.

Vitamin A deficiency is common in low-resource countries. Because of this, the World Health Organization recommends a vitamin A supplement for babies and children aged six months to five years in areas of the world where vitamin A deficiency is high.

Foods with vitamin A for babies 6-8 months

Consider trying to feed your baby these vitamin A-rich foods:

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Butternut squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Spinach
  • Mango



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