Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Canadian infants' nutrient intakes from complementary foods during the first year of life

James K Friel1*, Rhona M Hanning2, Corinne A Isaak3, Daniel Prowse3 and Angela C Miller3

Author Affiliations

1 Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals 203-196 Innovation Drive, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, R3T 6C5, Canada

2 Department of Health Studies & Gerontology, University of Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada

3 Department of Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2, Canada

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Pediatrics 2010, 10:43  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-10-43

Published: 17 June 2010



Complementary feeding is currently recommended after six months of age, when the nutrients in breast milk alone are no longer adequate to support growth. Few studies have examined macro- and micro-nutrient intakes from complementary foods (CF) only. Our purpose was to assess the sources and nutritional contribution of CF over the first year of life.


In July 2003, a cross-sectional survey was conducted on a nationally representative sample of mothers with infants aged three to 12 months. The survey was administered evenly across all regions of the country and included a four-day dietary record to assess infants' CF intakes in household (tablespoon) measures (breast milk and formula intakes excluded). Records from 2,663 infants were analyzed for nutrient and CF food intake according to 12 categories. Mean daily intakes for infants at each month of age from CF were pooled and compared to the Dietary Reference Intakes for the respective age range.


At three months of age, 83% of infants were already consuming infant cereals. Fruits and vegetables were among the most common foods consumed by infants at all ages, while meats were least common at all ages except 12 months. Macro- and micro-nutrient intakes from CF generally increased with age. All mean nutrient intakes, except vitamin D and iron, met CF recommendations at seven to 12 months.


Complementary foods were introduced earlier than recommended. Although mean nutrient intakes from CF at six to 12 months appear to be adequate among Canadian infants, further attention to iron and vitamin D intakes and sources may be warranted.