There are so many things that have changed for introducing foods to baby, even in the three years since our first baby. It is important to stay updated on the changes to the Canada Food Guide for introducing foods, so here are a couple of quick notes on the big changes.
It is amazing how quickly things can change in just a few years when it comes to babies, and food guidelines are certainly no exception. Although it was just three years ago that we went through the process of introducing foods to our little guy, I felt like a new parent all over again when I started to look over the new Canada food guidelines for introducing foods.
There are so many things you need to keep in mind, but here are just a few short notes:
- Waiting until 6 months – This one is perhaps the biggest change, and I felt like my mother saying “back in my day” when our naturopath was discussing this one with me. When our little guy was being introduced to foods it was around 4 months, now they want you to wait until 6 months.
It was explained to me that the science behind this is that introducing them before the 6 month mark can increase the likelihood of allergies or food sensitivity later on.
- No longer puree specials – The guidelines now recommend serving things a bit chunkier than we used to. In fact, they suggest well-cooked, minced, mashed or shredded foods. It was suggested to me to start with avocado and sweet potato as good options for mushy foods, but they also suggest including meats much earlier than they used to.
The science behind this is that there was actually no evidence to support waiting to introduce more lumpy textures, and in fact it can cause feeding difficulties later on. (and since we are now waiting until 6 months, they can handle a bit more texture than they used to)
- Forget your way of thinking about allergies – We used to have to avoid all of the “high-risk” allergy foods until our little ones passed a year, but now they suggest including those in the first foods offered and serving them often (with special consideration for little ones who have a strong family history of allergies). This includes, egg, milk, peanuts, seafood, sesame, soy, wheat.
The rule still exists that you need to introduce foods slowly and make notes of any reaction, so make sure that you are still keeping track!
There are many rules and guidelines outlined in the new updates, so make sure that you also take in to account what works for your family, and discuss all of the options with your doctor. For example, the guidelines do suggest that open top cups are preferred for all babies over 6 months, but for our family it wasn’t realistic to hand a 6 month old an open cup with liquid, and I imagine for many families it isn’t the best idea either.
For full details, visit the guide, and also make sure that you speak with your doctor, especially when it comes to allergies.