What is “Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants”?
Since Canada’s Food Guide does not include specific feeding recommendations for children younger than 2 years old, Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants: Recommendations from Six to 24 Months was developed by Health Canada to guide caregivers in feeding children 6 to 24 months. It lists the most up-to-date information when it comes to feeding children less than 24 months of age. The principles and recommendations are:
- Iron rich meat, meat alternatives, and iron fortified cereal as the first complementary foods. Progress to introduce a variety of nutritious foods.
- Offer a variety of textures starting at 6 months (e.g. lumpy, mashed, pureed, minced, soft finger foods).
- Feed infants until 12 months on demand based on their hunger and satiety cues.
- From 1 year of age, feed children based on a regular schedule of meals and snacks, and generally follow the advice in Canada’s Food Guide.
- Children 12-24 months old should be served homogenized cow’s milk (3.25% M.F.) to meet their energy needs for growth and development. After 2 years of age, children can be served partly skimmed, 2% or 1% milk. Breast milk can also continue as an important source of nutrition for children up to 2 years and older.
- Promote finger foods to encourage self-feeding.
- Encourage use of an open cup.
- Limit fruit juice and sweetened beverages. Offer water instead.
- Offer foods with little or no added salt or sugar.
- Do not give honey (including in cooked foods) until after 1 year of age.
- Infants and young children must always be supervised during feeding.
For more information on Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants, see www.healthcanada.gc.ca/infantnutrition.