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Introduction of Solid Foods

Baby Messy

credit: LB1860@Flickr.com

For the first 6 months of life, breast milk is the only food required for most infants. In addition to nutrition for growth, breast milk contains antibodies to protect them while they are developing their own immune system.

Around 4-5 months old infants start to salivate. This is an indication that the infants digestive enzymes have started to work. This often happens around the same time as teething and is a good time to introduce solids. The age of 4-7 months old is when most foods should be introduced. Although many argue for a later introduction (up to one year of delay), the literature does not support a decrease risk of allergies beyond the 6month window. Still, old habits are hard to break and the recommendations for adding particular foods that have high allergic risk potential continues to be a slow introduction and a longer delay. This also helps to let parents notice any change in the infant that may be a sign of allergic reaction. Continued breastfeeding during this introduction time can be protective against developing allergies as well.

Over 90% of food allergies in childhood are caused by eight foods: cows milk, hens egg, soy, peanuts, tree nuts (and seeds), wheat, fish and shellfish. Most physicians suggest avoiding these common allergens such during in the introductory phase (up to the first year). It is best to introduce one new food at a time while observing reactions, i.e. sneezing, runny nose, rash, change in stool and or mood changes.

Symptoms that may indicate food reactivity:

  • Rash around the mouth or anus
  • Hyperactivity or lethargy
  • Allergic shiners (dark circles under eyes)
  • Skin reactions (rash)
  • Infection (especially ear)
  • Diarrhea or mucus in stool
  • Constipation
  • Runny nose
  • Slow or delayed development
  • Redness of the face or cheeks

Food Introduction Schedule
The following schedule of introducing solid foods to a breastfed infant based on baby’s changing nutritional needs during development as well as delayed introduction of highly allergenic foods, as per conventional wisdom. Try to breast feed as long as possible while introducing new foods. Remember each child will be different and you should consult with us if you have any questions or concerns for a customized schedule that is meets your baby’s specific nutritional needs.



4-9 Months
Introduce: Hypoallergenic pureed mashed foods. Vegetables should be introduced first. Give 1-2 tablespoons per day in addition to breast milk. These food are high in iron as babies start to lose their natural stores at this point.

carrots Black berries Prunes
Squash Broccoli Cherries
Yams Apricots Bananas
Jerusalem Artichoke Grapes Cauliflower
Kiwi Peaches Sprouts- blend in water
Pears Beets Applesauce


9-12 Months
Introduce: Foods high in zinc and good for their developing gut and immune system. Give 2-4 tablespoons per day in addition to breast milk. Oatmeal, lima beans and millet may be difficult to digest.

Sweet Potato Cabbage Oatmeal
Papaya Blueberries Lima Beans
String beans Nectarines Potato
Black Strap Molasses Split Pea Soup Millet
Apples Basmati Rice Artichoke


12-18 Months
Introduce: Foods high in zinc containing more bulk. Give 4-10 tablespoons per day in addition to breast milk.

Acorn Squash Barley Chard
Tofu Yogurt Parsnips
Asparagus Avocado Egg Yolk
Goat’s Milk Brown Rice Onions
Garlic Spiralina Honey


18-21 Months
Introduce: Foods high in B vitamins and calcium. Allow baby to eat desired amount.

Tahini Lamb Salad Greens
Kelp Eggplant Rye
Beets & Greens Chicken Rutabaga
Beans Fish Buckwheat


21-24 Months
Introduce: Foods high in protein to support growth.

Eggs Almond Butter Turkey
Walnuts Cornish Hen Beef Liver
Cashew Butter Pineapple Wheat
Brewers yeast Oranges Lentils


2-3 Years
Introduce:

Sunflower Seeds Corn Peanut Butter
Milk Products Cheese Shell Fish


 

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