New infant feeding guidelines.. did Health Canada get it right?

In case you missed it on the news and in my newsletter… here’s more on the infant feeding guidelines recently brought out by Health Canada.

In general, a great step forward in the world of Public Health but there are some holes.

Their recommendations are now more in line with what anyone who knows anything about ancestral eating patters would recommend.  The guidelines are now similar to what I recommend in my Thriving Babies class, but with a few important differences (I’ll get to that).

Here’s a link to a discussion about the guidelines from CBC.

My response…

#1. Health Canada now agrees that cereals such as rice, barley and oats might not be the best choice as starter foods. But they still list them as a convenient source of iron (they are public health, after all). I disagree that these cereals are good for babies. The disaccharide sugars in grains are hard for babies to digest until they develop the amylase enzyme.  Furthermore, processed instant cereals are just that – processed cereals.  There is no need to turn to these cereals if you are willing to prepare fruits, vegetables and meats that are good sources of iron.  My e-guide shows you how to choose and prepare these foods.  When you are ready to introduce grains, I explain in my guide how to prepare them properly so as to maximize nutrition and ease digestibility.

#2: While I think meat is a great starter food, not all meats are created equal.  The guidelines do not make this distinction.  Some meats are better digested, easier to prepare, and better sources of iron.

#3: There is no mention of the quality of the meat you choose. Quality is very important. It’s not just iron you’re after in the meat – it’s also the fats. Grass fed and pasture raised meats have a very different fatty acid profile from conventional meat.

#4: The article notes: “allergens, such as whole eggs and fish, can be offered to a baby at six months if there is no family history of food allergies. For many years, parents have been told to delay feeding their infant egg whites until one year of age. “There is no evidence that withholding whole eggs prevents allergies later on,” said registered dietitian Carol Harrison.”

I beg to differ. Some research does suggest that delaying the introduction of allergens does not prevent the development of allergies. However, these studies did not look at digestive health as a root cause of allergies – we now know that it is. We know that there are ways to repair a damaged gut and that avoiding allergens while you do this can avoid the development of allergies. So yes, if you don’t repair the damage, then you won’t avoid the allergy. Being able to detect sensitivities and see the early red flags is a skill all parents should know about so they can take steps to heal the gut lining.

#5: The guidelines suggest tofu as a good iron-rich food to introduce early. I would caution you to please not introduce tofu so early. This un-fermented soy food is poorly digested, and might cause hormone disruption in your youngster.

#6: “…pureed meat for babies should not contain added salt, sugars or oils.” I disagree. Unrefined sea salt or Himalayan rock salt contain lots of great minerals for your baby. Use a pinch here or there. Also, fats are crucial. Adding coconut oil provides a great source of immuno-supportive lauric acid, saturated fat needed for the brain and proper cellular development, and also helps convert beta-carotene from vegetables into vitamin A. Use it liberally!

#7: The recipe for pureed meat suggests using water or milk. I’d say, hold off on the dairy and use home made bone broth or breast milk.

So there you have my 2 (or perhaps 3) cents!

If you’re at this stage with your children, and are the least bit confused (I wouldn’t blame you!), please check out my free video series. It lays out for you what I consider to be the most important things for parents to know at this stage of the game and introduces you to my full e-course, Thriving Babies.

Access the free video training here. 

 

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