It is very important to introduce a wide variety of tastes and textures during the first 6 months of weaning. Introducing protein foods will be a large part of this phase of solid introduction. Delaying protein introduction past 6 months will not offer any more protection against allergies instead it will put your baby at a higher risk of nutritional deficiency as well as becoming a fussy eater.
When introducing a new food watch for signs of allergy including hives, swelling, wheezing, stuffy nose and itchy watery eyes, eczema, nausea, vomiting, cramping and diarrhea. Signs of an allergy can occur within a few minutes or a number of days after eating a certain food. Signs of a severe anaphylactic reaction may include hives, swelling, difficulty swallowing or breathing, skin color changes and dizziness/fainting. Your baby may also pull or scratch at his tongue and talk or cry with a hoarser or squeakier voice. Get immediate medical attention if these severe symptoms occur.
If your baby experiences any of these symptoms or any other reaction while eating a food, stop feeding the food you think caused the allergy until you can talk to your baby’s doctor or dietitian.
If your baby has allergies or is a high risk allergy baby take note of the following:
- Consult a dietician or healthcare advisor if you are concerned about how to introduce solids.
- Avoid the specific allergen if you are aware of it already e.g. cows milk protein allergy would mean that you would avoid all dairy products initially. Under the guidance of your doctor and dietitian you can introduce these foods at an appropriate age.
- Offer a new protein every 4 – 6 days – diarize the introduction and any reaction you notice.
- Offer the new foods when you are present and during the earlier part of the day.
- Don’t be afraid of food; rather get guidance and advice so that you can introduce as many foods as possible.