4.1 Prenatal Nutrition & Infant Feeding Practices

Nutrition in the early years begins before a child is born. Impacts on prenatal development can have positive and negative effects on a child’s development. Nutritional practices are different for every person giving birth, resulting in public health mandates to provide education for those carrying and giving birth to a child. Caregivers and adoptive parents may be unaware of impacts that may have occurred prior to gestation and in utero.

Educators play an important role supporting families through pregnancies. Families may already participate in learning spaces with their child when they become pregnant. Families may also seek support during their pregnancy from Early ON or Family Centre educators. Pregnancy resources can be found at multiple agencies throughout the province of Ontario.

In London/Middlesex Familyinfo.ca provides information and links to many resources for new families:

The Middlesex London Health Unit and Southwestern Public Health provide Prenatal Health eLearning Programs for families:

Infant Feeding Practices


Requirements re: Food and Drink

42. (1) Every licensee shall ensure that,

(a) each child under one year old who receives child care at a child care centre operated by the licensee or at a premises where it oversees the provision of home child care is fed in accordance with written instructions from a parent of the child; and
(b) where food or drink or both are supplied by a parent of a child receiving child care at a child care centre operated by the licensee or at a premises where it oversees the provision of home child care, the container for the food or drink is labelled with the child’s name.

(Ontario Regulation 137/15, under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014. © King’s Printer for Ontario, 2015)

Children may begin attending child care several weeks after they are born but most often children enroll in licensed child care or attend programs in early years settings around the age of one after the Canadian paternity leave benefits have ended for families. Early years settings in Ontario require written nutritional plans for each child under the age of one. These plans must be developed with the family to ensure consistency between feeding practices at home and in the early years setting.

Feeding practices differ from family to family and child to child for a variety of reasons. Feeding practices are linked to social, cultural, spiritual, and physical needs. The most important resource in developing infant feeding plans is the family. Written plans must be shared with all educators working with the child and the dietary planner to ensure the feeding plan is followed.


Read (PDF)

Read: Healthy Eating and Food Allergies chapter from Safe Healthy Children Manual – a resource for childcare providers by the Middlesex London Health Unit.


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Holistic Care and Wellness in Early Years Settings Copyright © 2023 by Barbara Jackson and Sheryl Third is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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