Introducing Solid Foods: Feeding Concerns & Allergies
When your baby is ready to start solid foods, you can set up an area for feeding her, taking the atmosphere for presenting and serving food into consideration. These factors create a pleasant, balancing atmosphere in which your baby can learn to appreciate food and have a healthy appetite. When introducing solid food, there are some issues to be aware of to keep your baby safe and healthy.
Precautions for Preventing Choking
The highest risk for choking is before one year old. Here are precautions that you can take to prevent choking:
- Keep your child in sight while she is eating, because if she chokes she will need immediate assistance.
- Feed your baby while she is sitting at the table, and do not allow her to eat while moving or walking.
- Encourage your child to chew or “gum” food slowly.
- Always have your health care provider’s number on hand in case of emergency, and keep poison control’s number on hand as well.
Checking for Allergies
Allergies are unusual with whole grains, vegetables, and most fruits, but keeping a food journal and noting how much you feed your baby each type of food will help your observations. Pay attention to your baby’s responses to different foods, including her stools. With each food, look for an allergic reaction. Around 2 to 8 percent of children under three develop allergies.
Some signs of allergies include a rash on the face, runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, congestion, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, diaper rash, diarrhea, stomach pain, or crankiness after eating a certain food. Some children are allergic to wheat and corn, so those grains are not recommended during the first few months of introducing solid food.
Up to 95 percent of all allergies are caused by cow’s milk, eggs, fish, nuts, soy, wheat, and corn. You can avoid allergies by waiting until after the age of one to introduce these foods and after three years old for peanuts. Often, minor symptoms like a runny nose may be a response to a change in the weather or a natural adjustment, and there is no need for concern. Sometimes other stress factors, food combinations, or a delicate digestive system are causes for symptoms, rather than a true food allergy.
A major symptom, such as shortness of breath, is more serious and needs immediate attention. If you notice a possible allergy, eliminate that food from your baby’s diet and avoid it for a while. As long as the reaction is not severe, you may offer the food again after a few weeks or a few months, while being alert to signs of an allergy. If a sibling has a food allergy, pay close attention to how your younger child responds, too. Below are some foods to avoid in baby’s first year: