Feeding Infants and Toddlers

 

Background

Dietitians of Canada partners with other health professional organizations and Health Canada to develop evidence-based guidance on feeding infants and toddlers and monitoring their growth and development.
 

 

Positions

The positions of Dietitians of Canada (DC) on feeding infants and young children are contained in the following Joint and endorsed Statements:
 

Recommendations include:

  • Breastfeeding - exclusively for up to six months, and sustained for up to two years or longer - and a daily vitamin D supplement of 10 µg (400 IU) for breastfed infants
  • Iron-rich foods such as meat, meat alternatives, and iron-fortified cereal, as an infant's first complementary foods - may be introduced a few weeks before or just after the sixth month
  • Common food allergens, such as peanut, fish, wheat (including iron-fortified infant cereals with wheat), milk products, soy and whole eggs - can be introduced from about six months of age and then continue to offer these foods regularly
  • Routine growth monitoring using the WHO Growth Charts for Canada
  • Responsive feeding of infants to promote the development of healthy eating skills, including feeding that is responsive to infant’s cues, promotion of self-feeding and use of an open cup
  • Nutritious family foods, offered in a variety of textures
  • Regularly scheduled meals and snacks for young children, from one year of age.

Dietitians of Canada supports implementation of the policies and practices of the Baby-Friendly Initiative (BFI) for hospitals and community health services.

Actions and Public Policy Statements

Dietitians of Canada has been a partner with Health Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) since national guidance for health professionals on infant feeding (Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants) was first released in 1998. These organizations, joined by the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada, collaborated through the Infant Feeding Joint Working Group to revise guidance from 1998 and 2005. Revised guidance for feeding infants ages 0-6 months was released in 2012, followed by revised guidance for older infants/toddlers, ages 6-24 months in 2014.   

Dietitians of Canada collaborated with CPS, the College of Family Physicians and the Community Health Nurses of Canada to develop the public policy statement on Promoting Optimal Monitoring of Child Growth in Canada in 2010.  Together with the Canadian Pediatric Endocrine Group (CPEG), the WHO Growth Charts Adapted for Canada were redesigned and released in 2014.

Dietitians of Canada also endorsed the 2014 Rourke Baby Record, an evidence-based health supervision guide for health care providers to use in their care of children from birth to five years.

Dietitians of Canada, the Canadian Paediatric Society and Health Canada do not endorse the use of any homemade infant formulas. Breastfeeding is the normal and most beneficial method of feeding infants. Commercial infant formulas are the only recommended alternative for parents/caregivers of infants who have made an informed decision to transition from breastfeeding or breastmilk. For infants between 9-12 months of age who are no longer breastfed, pasteurized, whole cow milk or commercial infant formula is recommended.

Resources


Growth standards and growth references for boys and girls in Canada.

WHO Growth Charts