Nutrition in the First Year
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Nutrition in the First Year

This page provides information to help you give your baby a healthy start.

  • Breastfeeding is important for babies, mothers, families and communities. Human milk is the natural food for babies, and is the only food babies need for the first six months.
  • At about six months, babies are ready to start solid foods. Breastfeeding can continue until two years or more.
  • All babies need vitamin D. When breastfeeding, give your baby a 400 IU liquid vitamin D supplement each day from birth to two years of age. Babies who are fed only store-bought formula do not need a supplement because vitamin D has been added to the formula.
  • Wondering about infant formula? Get the information and support you need to make an informed decision about feeding your baby.
  • Your baby may eat a little or a lot. Watch your baby for signs that they are still hungry or have had enough to eat. It is up to your baby to decide how much to eat.

Breastfeeding your Baby

 

Making an Informed Decision about Feeding your Baby

Parents must make important decisions about how to feed their baby. In order to make an informed decision, learn about the benefits and risks of available feeding options. Before making a decision, talk with your health care provider about your questions and concerns. You may also wish to discuss information you have found online or from other sources. Learn about:

  • The importance of breastfeeding for baby, mother, family and community
  • The health consequences of not breastfeeding, for baby and mother
  • The risks and costs of formula feeding
  • The difficulty of reversing the decision once breastfeeding is stopped

There may be medical or personal reasons for using store-bought formula. Formula must be prepared and stored safely to decrease the risk of your baby getting sick. If you are using formula or thinking about doing so, talk to a nurse or your health care provider.

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Starting Solid Foods

  • Breast milk is still important for older babies. In addition to solid foods, continue to breastfeed until two years or more.
  • Around six months, babies will show signs that they are ready for solid foods.
  • When your baby shows you that they are ready, start offering solid foods twice per day.
  • Your baby needs iron-rich foods. Good first foods that are high in iron include meats, chicken, fish, lentils, beans, tofu and iron-fortified infant cereals.
  • Start with lumpy, minced or mashed foods, and as your baby learns to manage more textures, offer diced, grated and chopped soft pieces. 
  • Eat together with your baby as often as possible.

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