Introducing solid foods to infants

Health and nutrition with young children.

It is important to know when and how to start solid foods with infants. Always consult with your infant’s doctor before starting this process. During the first year, your child should be consuming their nutrients and calories from breast milk or formula which aides in proper growth and development. Starting infants too soon can contribute to food allergies or intolerance. When feeding infants solids they may become full sooner and want less milk. Infant’s digest systems are also not fully developed. Most Women, Infant and Children (WIC) offices do not encourage solids before six months of age.

Michigan State University Extension recommends these steps to identify if any allergies are present in infants:

  • Does either parent have any food allergies? They may be or not be hereditary. Be cautious with these foods.
  • Begin new foods at home and/or at daycare at the same time. Keep constant communication about what your infant is eating with all caregivers.
  • Feed only small amounts, one or two teaspoon’s at a time.
  • Introduce one new food at a time for five days.
  • Watch closely for any reactions after infants begin any new food.

An infant having an allergic reaction or any other reaction to food may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting/nausea
  • Coughing or stuffiness
  • Ear infection
  • Stomach pain
  • Extreme irritability
  • Hives or a skin rash

These symptoms may be mild or severe. Always consult with your infant’s doctor if you observe any of these symptoms. More severe reactions to food, such as a child going into shock, swelling in the head or anywhere else on the body, or trouble breathing may occur. Immediately contact the emergency medical service in your area if this occurs.

Again, be sure to consult with your infant’s doctor when you would like to begin the solid foods process.

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