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Feeding Your Baby

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1. Breastfeeding Your Baby

Breastfeeding is important for both babies and mothers.

  • Babies benefit because breastfeeding provides the best nutrition for growth and helps their immune system fight against infections and disease.
  • Mothers benefit because breastfeeding helps them return to a healthy weight and reduces the risk of illnesses such as breast cancer.

There are also emotional benefits for both babies and mothers.

It takes time and practice to get breastfeeding established but it becomes easier as you and your baby continue to practice.

Health Canada recommends feeding babies only breast milk for the first 6 months to promote healthy development and growth. At 6 months, babies need to start eating easy to eat, nutritious family foods while continuing to breastfeed for up to 2 years or more.

Statement of Support for Breastfeeding from the Ministry of Health (January 2011)

The Ministry of Health recognizes the many benefits of breastfeeding for infants and mothers. Breastfeeding supports overall health, growth and development of infants by providing the best possible nutrition as well as immunological and emotional benefits. Breastfeeding also contribute positively to women’s health.  For example, breastfeeding may increase self-esteem and protect against some types of cancer and osteoporosis. 


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2. Infant Formula

When breastfeeding is not feasible, commercial infant formula is a suitable  alternative to breast milk. Plan to use infant formula until your baby is about 9 to 12 months old.

Find out with this Infant Formula Feeding brochure how to choose a formula, how to prepare and mix it, how to store and warm it, and how much formula your baby needs. 


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3. Solid Foods

Health Canada recommends waiting until babies are 6 months old before starting foods other than breast milk or infant formula. By 6 months, babies need additional nutrients and they are ready to try new textures.

If you are breastfeeding, continue to do so. Breast milk is the main source of nutrition even as your baby begins to eat solid foods. If your baby is on infant formula, continue to offer it while your baby is learning to eat other foods.

Your baby should shift to eating nutritious family  meals by 12 months. In addition to these solid foods, you can continue breastfeeding until your child is 2 years or older. If your baby is using formula, continue until 12 months.

Find out with the Growing Up Healthy: You and Your 6-12 month old pamphlet how your baby learns to eat, when to try different food textures, and what foods provide the nutrition needed.

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