Pregnancy Articles

Starting Solids: Tips and Guidelines

Foods and Feeding Methods

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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
Having teeth does not mean that your baby can handle all foods safely. Never leave your child alone while eating. Avoid small, round shaped, hard foods. Slippery and sticky foods can also block the air passage. Cut foods into small, irregular shaped pieces. The following foods are difficult for your baby to chew without a full set of teeth. Offer these foods only when your baby can chew and swallow well, at three or four years of age.
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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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