The importance of a balanced diet for babies

Parents are responsible for the daily care of their baby. Because nutrition is the basis of good health, it is important to make good choices.

Kick-starting optimal development

As a parent, you know the importance of all those "firsts"—first touch, first smile, first bath, first bite of food, first word, first steps, and so on. These milestones often become imperishable memories—especially when you are lucky enough to capture them in photos or on videos!

As your baby grows, you'll have plenty of opportunities to admire their brilliant exploits. One of your responsibilities is to provide your little one with all the resources needed to strive. Nutrition is as much a priority as it is a concern and a responsibility. Here's how to provide the best of everything.

Choosing a milk

The Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, and the World Health Organization (WHO) promote exclusive breastfeeding for infants up to six months of age, and in combination with adequate complementary foods for up to two years of age or longer. The benefits of breast milk include immune protection and optimizing the growth and development of infants and young children.

It's important to note that if your baby is exclusively breastfed, it is necessary to give a daily vitamin D supplement (400 IU per day).

In any event, when breastfeeding is not possible or desired, another option is infant formula. Read the following text for additional information: How to choose infant formula.

Introducing solid foods

A child can try solid food for the first time at about six months. This is an exciting challenge for both baby and parents! Despite baby's funny faces and Mom and Dad's giggles, introducing solid food remains a step that must be taken seriously. Here is some advice to make the transition easier.

  • Begin with liquid textures and move on to increasingly solid ones. Ensure that lumpy textures are introduced by nine months.
  • Respect your child's appetite and pace. Pay attention to hunger cues and satiety. If your baby refuses to eat the food being offered, don’t force them to eat it.
  • Make mealtimes enjoyable and promote communication with your child.
  • Never let your child eat without supervision.
  • Avoid giving your child small, round, hard or sticky solid foods, as this can increase the risk of choking.
  • If your baby is tired, fussy or sick, it may not be the right time to introduce a new food. Instead, wait for a more opportune time when they seem rested and in a good mood. This will increase your chances of success!

The importance of a varied diet—and healthy choices!

Until babies develop autonomy, they must be able to rely on their parents to provide a variety of healthy foods. Here are some tips about food and beverage choices for your baby.

  • Introduce iron-rich foods early on, such as iron-fortified cereals (rice, oats, and wheat) and pureed meats and alternatives. Iron is essential to a baby's health and development. Ideally, your child should eat foods that contain it at least twice a day. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, and tofu are good examples of healthy iron-rich foods.
  • Pureed fruits and vegetables are also good foods to introduce early.
  • Always introduce one food at a time, over a three to five-day period.
  • After a few months, you can add a variety of healthy snacks from the four food groups, which are ideally rich in vitamins, protein and fibre, to the regularly scheduled meals. Leave out foods that are high in fat or too sweet.
  • Also limit the consumption of juice and sugary drinks. Instead, focus on water and milk, ideally breast milk or infant formula.
  • Do not introduce cow's milk before the age of 9 to 12 months. When the time comes, choose homogenized milk, which has a fat content of 3.25%. Ideally, offer no more than 750 ml of cow's milk per day.

Don't hesitate to speak to your pharmacist if you have any questions about your baby's health and well-being.


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The importance of a balanced diet for babies

Parents are responsible for the daily care of their baby. Because nutrition is the basis of good health, it is important to make good choices.
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