Nutrition for the First Year

Here are some important first-year nutritional guidelines and considerations to best promote the healthy development and safety of your baby.

0-6 Months

During this time, your baby will draw their nutrients from breast milk or iron-fortified infant formula. A daily Vitamin D supplement of 400 IU (10 μg) is recommended for exclusively and partially breastfed infants from birth until one year of age. If you are breastfeeding, ensure that you are eating a healthy diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals as well as DHA (a type of Omega-3 fat). DHA is an important building block of a baby’s rapidly developing brain.

It is not recommended to offer your baby solids before 6 months of age. If you do, your baby may:

  • Have lower iron levels
  • Breastfeed less often causing your milk supply to diminish
  • Stop breastfeeding early
  • Not receive all the benefits of breast milk such as protection from illness and allergies

6-9 Months – Starting Solids

At 6 months, most babies cannot get everything they need from breast milk or formula alone. The Canadian Paediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada, Health Canada and the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada recommend introducing iron-rich foods at 6 months of age. Iron is essential for physical and mental growth, and more is needed as your baby ages to avoid iron deficiency anemia. Iron-fortified infant cereal is a good place to start. Once your baby has accepted the new texture and taste, you can move on to puréed meats and/or fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, peaches, peas and carrots. Introduce new foods gradually, one at a time.

9-12 Months - Cow's Milk

This is a good  time to introduce cow’s milk into your baby's diet. Doing so any earlier might pose significant developmental risks, as it does not contain the proper amount of iron that a younger baby needs, plus it contains higher levels of proteins and some minerals that are not appropriate for younger babies. You may introduce pasteurized whole cow’s milk from 9-12 months and continue up until your baby is at least 2 years of age.


Other Considerations

  • Babies and children don't need to drink juice. Too much juice, especially apple juice, can cause diarrhea. It can fill up small stomachs and decrease your baby's appetite for nutritious foods. Too much juice can also cause early childhood tooth decay.
  • When you do offer juice, be sure it is only 100% fruit juice. Always offer it in a cup, as part of a meal or snack. Offer water to babies and young children between meals and snacks if they are thirsty. Limit juice to 120 to 180 mL (4 to 6 oz.) per day.

Avoid tea.

  • The tannins in tea inhibit your baby's ability to absorb iron, which can put your little one at risk for anemia. And the caffeine in tea can interefere with calcium absorption, which is critical to bone building.

Avoid honey in the first year.

  • Honey or baked foods containing honey should be avoided until 1 year or age. Honey can cause botulism, a serious type of food poisoning.

Pinpoint potential choking hazards.

Mash or purée foods so that your baby can swallow them easily. Whole or chunky foods can get caught in your baby’s windpipe, blocking air from their lungs.
Foods to avoid:
  • Chunks of hot dogs
  • Whole grapes
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Chips
  • Lumps of peanut butter
  • Pieces of hard, raw vegetables
  • Hard candy or chewy candy like gummy bears or jelly beans

Avoid nitrates.

Processed meats and even some drinking water contain nitrates, which may pose a potential health hazard to your baby.
Foods to avoid:
  • Bacon
  • Bologna
  • Ham
  • Hot dogs
  • Sausage
  • Nitrate-contaminated drinking water, such as some well water

Monitor sugar or salt intake.

Additional sugar and salt are unnecessary in your baby's diet and do not represent sound nutrition. By flavouring with sugar and salt, you will inhibit your child from experiencing the natural flavour of different foods, which might lead to poor or difficult eating habits later on.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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