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Starting Solids: Tips and Guidelines

Foods and Feeding Methods
-- By Becky Hand, Licensed and Registered Dietician

Change... Change... Change! Just when you and your baby have the breast or bottle-feeding skills mastered, it's time to move on to solid foods. And the questions start coming again. How much? How often? What kind? Food allergies? Choking concerns? Wouldn't it be nice if your baby came with feeding directions? Do not worry; starting solid foods is just another parenting adventure. By using the following tips and feeding guidelines, you and your infant will be mastering the high chair in no time.

Food Allergies:
It is important talk to your baby's doctor about when to start solid foods and what foods to incorporate and avoid. Based on research data, the food progression listed below is based on the recommendations to help prevent food allergies from the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology (AAAAI) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  • Restricting a mother's diet of specific allergen foods during pregnancy and while breastfeeding (when a child is otherwise well) is not routinely recommended as a means to prevent food allergies.
  • Breast milk is the ideal way to nourish your baby. It is least likely to trigger an allergic reaction. It strengthens your baby's immune system.
  • For infants at risk for food allergy where mom is unable to breast feed, hydrolyzed infant formula is recommended as the formula choice.
  • Between the ages of 4-6 months, single-ingredient baby foods may be introduced such as rice and oat baby cereals, apples, pears, bananas, green vegetables, sweet potatoes, squash, and carrots. A new food can be introduced every 3-5 days as appropriate for baby's readiness. This slow progression gives parents or caregivers a chance to identify and eliminate any foods that cause a reaction.
  • Egg, cow's milk dairy foods, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish can be gradually introduced during this same 4-6 month time period after the less allergenic foods have been tolerated. In fact, delaying the introduction of foods like wheat, cow's milk dairy, eggs, fish and nuts may actually result in an increased risk of food allergy and eczema.
To Prevent Choking

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Member Comments About this Article
"What is a serving size for a 8 month old that is still nursing? She likes food a lot. At her daycare they like to give her a whole jar of organic vegetables for lunch. Then when I show up to nurse her, she is not as hungry. They want to give her Gerber's Puffs but I said no. Any advice would help!" -- VETROVSKY
"I'm surprised you didn't have milk and dairy products, soy, and corn on your list of high allergens. They are some of the top ten highest allergens in North America.
It is helpful to know what kinds of symptoms to look for when a baby eats something that triggers a reaction in them.
I did appreciate the tip about the two spoons--I'd never heard of that before, and your encouragement to let kids be messy and learn to feed themselves.
Thanks for all of your research!
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About The Author
Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. She teaches prenatal classes and counsels individuals, helping women eat right and stay fit before, during and after their pregnancies.
Becky Hand


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