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Updated Recommendations for Health Professionals on Infant and Young Child Nutrition

Revised guidance aims to ensure health professionals have the most current information for parents and caregivers

OTTAWA, April 25, 2014 /CNW/ - Health Canada, the Canadian Paediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada, and the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada today released a revised version of Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants: Recommendations from Six to 24 Months. This document provides detailed scientific guidance on infants and young children nutrition for health professionals to help support parents and caregivers.

Health Canada sought advice and guidance on the revisions from doctors, dietitians, nurses, researchers and parents through its external Infant Feeding Expert Advisory Group and through a stakeholder consultation in spring 2013.

The changes to the recommendations reflect the latest science since the last update in 2005 and support Health Canada's commitment to providing information that will help Canadians make healthier food choices for themselves and their families.

Health Canada encourages parents and caregivers to ask their healthcare providers about these revised recommendations.

Key recommendations in the document include:

  • Support for continued breastfeeding after the introduction of solid foods.
  • Supplemental vitamin D for infants and young children who are breastfed.
  • Emphasis on iron-rich foods such as meats, meat alternatives, and iron-fortified cereals, and offering them a few times each day.
  • Encouragement of practices such as self-feeding, the early offering of finger foods, and drinking from an open cup.
  • Feeding infants and young children nutritious foods from family meals.

Quotes

"A balanced, nutritious diet is essential to raising healthy children.  This important guidance document for health professionals provides the most up-to-date information available on nutrition for infants and young children to ensure that little ones from six to 24 months get the healthy start they need."
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

"The first few years of a child's life play a vital part in establishing healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. These updated guidelines will help physicians provide guidance to parents on how to make decisions on nutrition that will contribute to their child's healthy growth and development."
Dr. Jeff Critch, Chair of the Canadian Paediatric Society Nutrition and Gastroenterology Committee
The Canadian Paediatric Society

"The practical details are important to parents. As a dietitian, I use this 'NHTI' information so I can give parents specific, clear options about feeding their children, based on the best scientific evidence,"
Becky Blair
Registered Dietitian and Public Health Nutritionist.
Dietitians of Canada

"This statement highlights the importance of supporting mothers and families to continue breastfeeding their children beyond infancy and well into toddlerhood.  The Baby-Friendly Initiative and the World Health Organization Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes are recognized as key in providing support to increase the duration of breastfeeding."
The Breastfeeding Committee for Canada

Associated Links

Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants: Recommendations from Six to 24 Months
Healthy Canadians - Infant Nutrition
10 Valuable Tips for Successful Breastfeeding
10 Great Reasons to Breastfeed your Baby


Fact Sheet       April 2014


Nutrition recommendations for infants and young children (age 6-24 months)

Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants provides healthcare professionals with clear recommendations on what to feed healthy term infants and young children (aged 6 to 24 months old).  These guidelines reflect the latest science and practice on nutrition for healthy term infants and young children, and provide guidance for health professionals to help support parents and caregivers on infant and young child nutrition.

Health Canada encourages parents and caregivers to ask their healthcare providers about these recommendations.

Following are some of the key recommendations:

  • Breastfeeding: Breastfeed exclusively for the first six months, and continue for up to two years or longer with appropriate complementary feeding.
  • Vitamin D: Provide a daily vitamin D supplement of 10 µg (400 IU) for infants and young children who are breastfed or receiving breast milk.
  • Complementary foods: Provide a variety of complementary foods along with continued breastfeeding to meet the nutrient and energy needs of older infants.
  • Responsive feeding: Encourage responsive feeding based on the child's hunger and satiety cues, to promote the development of healthy eating skills.
  • Iron-rich complementary foods: Provide a variety of iron-rich meat, meat alternatives, and iron-fortified cereal as the first complementary foods, to avoid iron deficiency.
  • Food Safety: Foods for older infants and young children must be prepared, served, and stored safely.
  • Health Eating: From one year of age, young children should begin to have a regular schedule of meals and snacks, and generally follow the advice in Canada's Food Guide.
  • Breast milk substitutes: For an older infant or young child who is not breastfed or receiving breast milk, provide commercial infant formula until nine to 12 months of age.

For more information:

Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants: Recommendations from Six to 24 Months
Healthy Canadians - Infant Nutrition 

SOURCE Health Canada

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