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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 Sensitivities and Allergies:
Some babies are sensitive to certain foods. Therefore, when introducing a new food to your baby, offer one new food at a time. Wait 3-5 days before offering the next new food. During this time, watch for the following reactions: rash, wheezing, diarrhea, or projectile vomiting. If a reaction is noticed, do not feed that food until your baby is one year old. Most babies outgrow these reactions once their digestive and immune systems mature. Do inform your baby's health care provider of the reaction. Before the age of 1, it is best to avoid foods that often cause food sensitivities, especially if there are food allergies in your family. These foods include:
  • Strawberries
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Peanut butter and nut butters
  • Peanuts, tree nuts and seeds
  • Tomatoes
  • Egg whites
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruits and juices, orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, kiwi, pineapple
  • Wheat (before 6 months)
  • Honey (the bacteria in honey can make a baby very sick)
Although any child can develop a food allergy, the risk is higher in allergic families, particularly those with food-allergic parents and siblings. In an attempt to prevent food allergy in high-risk infants, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breast-feeding for at least six months, with avoidance by the nursing mother of allergens, such as peanuts and tree nuts. Delay the introduction of all cow's milk products (milk, cheese, yogurt) for one year, egg for two years, and peanuts, tree nuts and fish for three years. Ask your child's doctor for more information, or contact the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network at or 1-800-929-4040.

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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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