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Infants and Children
Healthy eating and regular physical activity are important for your child's growth and development. Learn about how to make healthy choices and model healthy behaviours for your child in the resources below.
If you are about to become a parent, or just had a baby, see more resources on pregnancy and parenting.
Breast milk is the only food or drink your baby needs for the first 6 months. Learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding, when to offer your baby breastmilk and how to know if your baby is getting enough milk. For preterm infants, Perinatal Services BC provides a breastfeeding resource.
- Breastfeeding (HealthLinkBC File #70)
- Parenting Babies (0-12 months)
- Perinatal Services BC: Breastfeeding Your Early Preterm Infant (PDF, 2.75MB)
Parents may give their baby infant formula for a variety of reasons. Learn how to choose infant formula, what equipment is needed for feeding, how often to offer formula, and how to safely store and prepare infant formula.
- Formula Feeding Your Baby: Getting Started (HealthLinkBC File #69a)
- Formula Feeding Your Baby: Safely Preparing and Storing Formula (HealthLinkBC File #69b)
Baby's First Foods
At about 6 months of age, your baby needs more nutrients and is ready to start trying solid foods. Learn what foods to introduce first and how to prepare and offer them to your baby. These resources also provide tips and recipes to help get you started.
- Baby's First Foods (HealthLinkBC File #69c)
- Feeding Your Baby: Sample Meals for Babies 6 to 12 Months of Age
- Finger Foods for Babies 6 - 12 Months
- Healthy Eating Guidelines for Your Vegetarian Baby: 6-12 months
- Iron-Fortified Infant Cereal Recipes: Finger Foods For Babies and Toddlers
- Recipes for Your Baby 6 - 9 Months Old
- Recipes for Your Baby 9 - 12 Months Old
Feeding Your Toddler
As a parent or caregiver, you play an important role in helping your child build healthy eating habits and skills. For tips on how to help toddlers learn to eat a variety of healthy foods, click on the links below.
- Healthy Eating Guidelines for Your Vegetarian Toddler: 1-3 years
- Helping Your 1 to 3 Year Old Child Eat Well (HealthLinkBC File #69d)
- Meal and Snack Ideas for Your 1 to 3 Year Old Child (HealthLinkBC File #69e)
- Mealtime and Your Toddler
Choosing Healthy Food for Infants, Children and Youth
Eating a variety of healthy foods will give your child nutrition for growth, development and learning.
Children grow at different rates and come in many shapes and sizes. Each child grows and develops at a rate that is unique for them. Measuring your child's weight and height once is not enough to determine if they are growing well. If you are concerned about your child's growth, consider speaking with your health care provider. Feeling comfortable with how your child is growing is important.
As a parent, you can promote physical activity and healthy eating habits to help your child grow at a rate that is right for them.
- Child Who Is Overweight: Medical Evaluation
- Child Who is Overweight: Evaluating Nutrition and Activity Patterns
- Interactive Tool: What Is Your Child's BMI?
- HealthLink BC Eating and Activity Program for Kids
Children can benefit from regular physical activity. Establishing a healthy lifestyle pattern early will carry them forward for the rest of their lives.
Food allergy happens when the body's immune system treats a protein in a food as harmful. To learn more about food allergies and your children, click on the links below.
- Eczema and Food Allergy in Babies and Young Children
- Food Allergy Testing
- Reducing Risk of Food Allergy in Your Baby
- Severe Food Allergies in Children and Teenagers (HealthLinkBC File #100a)
Younger children are at a higher risk of food borne illness and choking. To reduce the risk, foods should be prepared in a safe way and certain foods should be limited or avoided.
- Food Safety in Children Older than 1 Year: General Information
- Food Safety in Children Older than 1 Year: Preventing Foodborne Illness
- Health Canada: Safe Food Handling for Children Ages 5 and Under (Health Canada)
- Preventing Choking in Babies and Young Children: For Child Care Providers (HealthLink BC File #110b)
Baby's Best Chance: Parents' Handbook of Pregnancy and Baby Care
Baby's Best Chance is a reference guide for parents. Topics covered include pregnancy, birth and parenting a baby up to six months of age. Your baby's development is very important for your child's future health and well-being. Baby's Best Chance provides easy-to-read tips on having a healthy pregnancy and giving your baby a good start in life.
Toddler's First Steps: A Best Chance Guide to Parenting Your 6-36 Month–Old Child
As your child grows, there is another guide called Toddler's First Steps: A Best Chance Guide to Parenting Your 6- to 36-Month-Old Child. This guide covers child development, healthy eating, health and well-being, parenting and safety for children.
Nutri-eSTEP is an online nutrition self-assessment tool that provides immediate feedback on the eating and activity behaviours of toddlers (18 to 35 months of age) and preschoolers (3 to 5 years of age). Nutri-eSTEP helps you determine what is going well. It provides ideas for action and information about where to find trusted healthy eating and physical activity resources and tools.
Health care providers can learn more about Nutri-eSTEP and other nutrition self-assessment tools here.
Last Updated: June 2021