New Canadian Guidelines for Introducing Solids to Babies

bigstock-Baby-Boy-3549230There was an article in The Toronto Star last week (on September 25, 2012) stating that the new Canadian guidelines suggest that parents should be introducing meat, fish, poultry or meat alternatives to babies for their first solid food.  Health Canada said that these foods should be offered to babies two or three times a day to increase their iron stores.  Previously, meat was one of the last foods recommended for introduction to babies.

Another new recommendation is that whole eggs, a common allergen, can be offered to a 6 month old if there is no family history of allergies.  Previously, eggs were not recommended until a baby turned one year old.  Carol Harrison, a registered dietician, was quoted as saying “There is no evidence that withholding whole eggs prevents allergies later on.”

Other iron-rich foods recommended for babies as first foods include tofu, legumes and iron-fortified infant cereals.

As a pediatric nutritionist, I am deeply concerned by these new guidelines.  No babies are born with mature digestive systems.  And the digestive systems of today’s babies are at even more risk than the digestive systems of babies born in previous generations, due to the toxicity of the world we live in today.  And more babies than ever are being born by caesarian, which means these babies are already born with less good bacteria in their digestive tract than babies who go through the vaginal canal and collect good bacteria there. Because a baby’s digestive system is rapidly developing in their first year, the last thing a parent would want to do is to introduce hard-to-digest foods to a baby. All of the new recommended first foods for baby i.e. meat, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, legumes and cereal are hard to digest compared to other foods.

We all know how much babies grow in their first year!  We see the number of outfits that no longer fit them after just 3 months.  We want our babies’ bodies to focus on growing, not on digesting hard-to-digest foods!  And when babies do not digest their food well, they suffer from symptoms and eventually, conditions.  Just a few examples of symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, skin rashes/eczema, frequent waking, fussiness, gas, allergies, ear infections and other infections.

Health Canada does continue to stress the importance of breastmilk for babies, thank goodness and breastmilk is truly the best food for babies in their first year, if mother can provide it.  Yes, the iron content of breastmilk does lower sometime after 6 months.  However, feeding a baby hard-to-digest foods or common allergens in order to increase iron stores is NOT the answer.

Fruits and vegetables are the foods that are easiest to digest and are closest to breastmilk, in terms of their consistency and digestibility.  They are the foods that need to be given to babies as their first foods.  And certain fruits and vegetables contain iron!  Some examples include prunes, watermelon, spinach, bok choy and other green leafy vegetables.  There are also vegetables that babies can consume in order to increase their iron absorption.  They include: broccoli, brussel sprouts, tomato, potato, green and red peppers.

The hardest foods to digest are fats, then protein, then starch – in that order.  Please help me spread the word that none of these foods should be given to babies as first foods.  Please share this post on Facebook, Twitter and via email.  I am teaching a class at Prenatal Plus Parenting Centre in Newmarket and at the Early Learning Centres in Richmond Hill and Markham later this month, for any of you that are local and are interested in learning more about the healthy order of introduction of solids to babies.  I also created a 2 hour DVD of myself teaching First Foods for Baby to a group of mothers and I have 50 pages of handouts on the subject, available for purchase by clicking here.

Every website will tell you a different order of introduction of solid foods.  I teach parents the easiest to hardest-to-digest foods and which ones to stay entirely away from in the first year.  I also explain exactly how to tell if a new food is not agreeing with your particular child.

Approximately 90% of all sickness begins with the digestive system being out of balance.  If you don’t allow your babies’ digestive systems to grow and develop properly in their first year, your child’s health will be negatively affected.  How you introduce solids to your baby is vitally important to setting up your child’s health for life.

I love receiving feedback! Don’t forget to leave a link back to your own blog too if you have one via the commentluv feature here on the site. And, if you love this blog, won’t you vote for us?  You’ll find the link in the sidebar to the right of this post. If you are reading this post via email, please click here to be taken to the website where you’ll find the vote box.

Until next time,

Meredith

 

 

10 thoughts on “New Canadian Guidelines for Introducing Solids to Babies

  1. I have a six Month old beautiful baby boy and my one and only. Atm. But after what feels like decades of continuous endless searching after searching the web to find what I personally thought would be a very popular request a baby’s first year calendar! I am like I said a first time young Mother completely lost and totally unsure about absolutely EVERYTHING! Ugh! I know it sounds terrible but its true! I have wasted my money on “lame” books that sorry to say ALL TELL YOU SOMETHING DIFFERENT! Which really urks me because then I think “Now What?!” I can’t be the only first time young Mother out there who is searching for a simple calendar of your babies first year that is a guideline, that entails the “What, When, Why, How’s” Regarding everything you need to know about a babies first year! Am I? But then literally after weeks of searching the internet finding many resourceful sites and blogs I do have to say that coming across theresourcefulmother.ca really brightened up my day! Why?!? Because Meredith you were honest, you spoke from your heart, from experience, and knowledge! You said what no other blogs were saying. Well to me anyways! You may not have this calendar that I am desperately searching for but you do have very valuable and informative information.. That may I cheerfully add relates to my very unorganized, all over the place, but still trying very very hard family! & I have been leaning lots so I would love to thank-you for all of your very hard work and dedication. I know that I am grateful!

    From an unresourceful mother 🙂

    Jessica xo

    • Hi Jessica –
      Oh, it is so wonderful to hear from you! Yes, I remember being a first time mother and having no idea what to feed my child or how much or how often and actually calling my husband at work and asking him to come home early from work, for the first time ever, to discuss it all with me. I felt such a huge weight on my shoulders knowing that we were responsible for the growth and wellbeing of our child and knowing how ill prepared we were. That was in 1999. For over a decade now, I have been helping other moms with this challenge, in a way that makes sense to them, introducing the easiest-to-digest to hardest-to-digest foods in that first year and helping them to know when a particular food is not agreeing with their child. I have had moms stop me on the street and in stores and tell me that this method has worked for them and their children and then go on to explain how healthy their children are. My work is infinitely rewarding and your email reminds me of that. Thank you for taking the time to write and please let me know if I can assist you further in any way.
      With much thanks and appreciation, Meredith

  2. I love this, I was lost too, thank goodness I read your post about health myths a while ago. The one sentence you wrote about first foods actually changed my entire plan for feeding my now 9 month old son. (Thank goodness that ended up being good advice, it’s probably not recommended to base an entire health plan for a baby on one sentence from a blog.) My baby had vegetables, every type me and my hubby could find for 2 months, then at 8 months we started adding some fruits to this plan. This is all alongside a diet of almost entirely breastmilk. I shudder when I look at some of my best friends that have the philosophy of feeding their baby everything as fast as possible; even feeding their 4 month old iced cappucinos >:(. (they look at me with the same horror thinking that my baby will grow up being picky…)
    It really is amazing all the philosophies out there, in the end I am still hoping it comes down to more how the child is treated and values they are taught. I don’t mind trying to give my own a small advantage in the meantime. 🙂
    Cheers!

    • Natasha,

      Your comment could not have come at a better time – thank you for stating that my discussion on the order of introducing of solids makes sense to you. You are right in that the majority are introducing all sorts of solids too early and I worry about the future health challenges of these children. The ice cappucino takes the cake though – wow! Great job on feeding your little one, Natasha.
      Meredith

  3. Pingback: New Canadian Guidelines for Introducing Solids to Babies | InfoEWorld

  4. Hi Meredith,

    Just wanted to say thanks so much for writing this blog, this article and your awesome book. I have a baby who just turned 6 months old (blessed to be exclusively breastfed) and have had a hard time finding solid information about what to feed my daughter. I was given your book from my sister who’s studying to become a holistic nutritionist and absolutely love it. Any advice for a vegan mom hoping to raise her daughter that way as well?
    Also, thanks for including your info on vaccinations. I am definitely against them but I’ve always had a hard time convincing my husband that I’ve made the right choice. Your information and insight has helped in that regard as well!
    Thanks again!!

    • Your daughter is a very lucky girl! Thank you for your support of my work. My book will give you everything you need to know about raising a vegan child. Please let me know if you have any specific questions and I would be happy to help!
      Meredith

  5. Pingback: Pediatric Nutrition Handbook · My-infoWorld.NET

  6. I love your blog but wanted to ask some questions here. It is my understanding that our breastmilk is made up of proteins and fats, not carbohydrates – and that a baby’s ability to digest carbohydrates (in contrast to an adult digestive system where carbs are more easily digested) is not achieved until close to two years old. I’d also read that babies start to need iron and more calories after 6mths hence introducing calorie dense foods with high amounts of protein and fat. I intend to follow the Weston A Price Foundations recommendations – which are in line with these new Canada Food Guidelines. Am I wrong here – and does WAPF have it all wrong?

    • Hi Michelle. The facts you shared are indeed true. The Weston Price method of introducing solids is perfect in an ideal world but we do not live in an ideal world. Unfortunately, our world is toxic. They recommend unpasteurized cow’s milk in their formula recipes, which is illegal in Canada. They recommend eggs as a baby’s first food at 6 months. Eggs have become a common allergen and generally what the chickens are fed is no longer wholesome or good quality. They recommend liver and beef around 8 months but how many parents are going to get those meats in their clean or organic forms? And babies digestive systems are not as strong at 8 months as they were generations ago to be able to properly break down meat at that age. Everyone is free to feed their children as they please. I have helped my own children and many families for over a decade now, read everything I could get my hands on and I stand firm on the advice I share on this subject.
      Meredith

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