Breast milk provides the optimal nutrition for your baby.
Signs your baby is getting enough to eat:
- 6-8 wet diapers a day
- Loose yellowish stool (1st month)
- Appropriate weight gain
Lactating women should have at least 200 mg of DHA/day§. Eat foods rich in DHA, especially fatty fish such as salmon, to support your baby's normal brain and eye development.†
All breastfed infants should receive a daily Vitamin D supplement of 400 IU (10 μg) until their diet provides it or they reach one year of age.
Babies in northern communities or with dark skin should get 800 IU (20 μg) per day from October to April.
DHA is an Omega-3 fat prominent in your baby's brain and important for his normal brain and eye development. By your baby's 2nd birthday, most of his brain growth will have already occurred.
- 0-6 months: 0.32% of total fatty acids
- 6-12 months: 70mg/day of DHA
- 1-3 yr olds: 70mg/day of DHA
If using an infant formula, use a formula supplemented with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Once on solids, fatty fish is another excellent way to ensure your baby's diet is rich in DHA.
Iron is essential for your baby's physical and mental growth, and as he grows he needs more to avoid iron deficiency anemia. If your baby is on solids, make sure you provide iron rich foods.
- 0-6 months: 0.27 mg/day
- 7-12 months: 11 mg/day
Iron from animal products, especially meat, is absorbed more easily than from other sources. Vitamin C also helps absorption of iron from plant sources (non-heme iron).
Your baby needs calcium for healthy development, especially of his bones and teeth.
- 0-6 months: 200 mg/day
- 7-12 months: 260 mg/day
The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends not introducing pasteurized whole cow's milk (3.25%) until at least 9-12 months of age.║
Introducing solid foods
When and How
At 6 months, you can begin introducing iron-rich solid foods one at a time. Wait at least 2 days after each to identify which foods your baby won't tolerate well. The amount she drinks will naturally decrease as her solid food intake increases.
For up to 9 to 12 months, your baby will get most of her nutrients from breast milk or formula. As your baby is learning to eat a variety foods with different textures, think of solids as a supplement to her diet.
Keep in mind, cow's milk can become part of your babies diet║, however, it is not nutritionally complete and should not be used to fill nutritional gaps.
Start with nearly liquid foods, then gradually introduce foods with thicker textures. Always supervise infants when they're eating.
Avoid foods like nuts, raw carrots, popcorn, hard, sticky or round candy, raisins, hot dogs and whole grapes.
Foods to avoid
- All infants: Sugary drinks or foods
- Infants under 1: Honey (risk of botulism)
Limit fruit juice as it may take the place of more nutrient-rich foods. Give only if baby is older than 6 months and drinking from a cup. Limit to 125 to 175 mL per day.
§ Koletzko B et al. J Perinat. Med. 2008;36:5-14
║ The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends not introducing pasteurized whole cow's millk (3.25%) until at least 9-12 months of age.