Starting Solid Foods and Food Allergies

When my youngest son was around seven weeks old we discovered that he had multiple food intolerances. I ended up on an elimination diet, removing dairy, soy, eggs and nuts from my diet in order to continue nursing him. With some hard work I was able to successfully continue breastfeeding. I was his sole source of nutrition for many months; so when our doctor said it was time to start introducing solids, I was very nervous. Our baby was finally doing so well, feeling better, I didn’t want to rock the boat! 

We started introducing solids to our baby when he was around 6 months old. We followed our doctor’s suggestions of only adding one food at a time, and waiting at least 7 days in between new foods. We started with infant cereal. He refused to eat the infant rice cereal, so we moved on to infant oatmeal. Unfortunately for our little guy, the infant oatmeal did not agree with him; he broke out in hives within hours. So needless to say my first experience with feeding him solid foods was not as smooth as I had hoped! After some discussion with our doctor, we decided to delay grains for our baby, allowing his GI tract to mature a little more. Instead we started infant veggies and fruits, and luckily he did great! Sweet potatoes were his favorite!

Now my “baby” is five years old; and luckily he has outgrown all of his food intolerances! However, I will always remember how nervous and worried I was when our little guy tried something new. One thing in particular that I found helpful was being as informed as possible! I found great information from several different resources. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has some great information on basic food introduction, such as:

  • When is the right time? Can your baby hold his/her head up? Can he/she eat from a spoon?
  • What foods should I start with? According to the AAP, in general for most babies the recommendation is to start with grains, then vegetables and then fruit.
  • Finger foods can be given once your baby is sitting up and able to bring his/her hands to his mouth.

View AAP Starting Solid Foods Guide

I also found help in resources that understand food allergies! Kids With Food Allergies (KFA) has some great information to help navigate the way, as well as community support:

For babies with possible food allergies KFA suggests it is important to:

  • Go slow
  • Do not give highly allergenic foods first
  • Give small amounts

(Your healthcare team can give you more guidance on what foods may be best to try first!)

Read Feeding Allergenic Foods to Babies and Pregnant or Nursing Moms

A few more tips I learned:

  1. Wait for a good time to introduce new foods. Don’t rush it! Take the time to do it slowly and be relaxed for you and your baby! 
  2. Keep a log. Write down what foods you’ve introduced, and include any and all reactions your little one had, even “good” reactions, like a smile or talking! I found it was uplifting to see when my baby was enjoying his food!
  3. Ask for help! If you’re unsure where to start ask your doctor for help. They have a lot of good advice and information. If your pediatrician isn’t sure how to help, ask for a referal to a specialist (i.e. a pediatric allergist, registered dietitian nutritionist that specializes in food allergies, and/or a feeding specialist).

Introducing solids to your baby can be a fun time, but I also know from personal experience how challenging it can be for babies with food allergies. I would love to hear from you! What experiences have you had introducing solids? And what advice can you offer other parents in the same situation?

-Rachel Miller

Our post today is a guest blog entry from Rachel Miller, Baby E’s mom. Read Rachel’s story

Published: 03/30/2016
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