There 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.