Allergist advised against solids until one year: Tips for starting solids

My son is nine months old and is breastfed exclusively, except for one-half cup of rice cereal at night. His allergist recommended that I wait until he is a year old to give him any other solids because of his medical history. He has started waking up at night and is fussy again during the day. He nurses for about 10 minutes every three hours. I'm concerned that he is hungry for more than breastmilk.

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

It is not unusual for a baby to be taking in only small amounts of solid food during the second half of his first year of life. Some babies (and interestingly enough, often allergic babies) are not very interested in solids during their first year.

If you have a family history of allergy, asthma or dermatitis, it is wise to postpone the feeding of any solid foods that might be allergy producing until your little one is at least one year old.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the addition of solid foods to a baby's diet between the fourth and sixth months of life. These foods can help meet the baby's increased needs for iron and protein. Breastmilk remains the nutritional priority during a baby's first year. Don't be concerned that your baby is not receiving the proper nourishment, or is going hungry, when receiving a diet of primarily breastmilk. If you or your baby's Health Care Provider are at all concerned about your baby's iron levels, it's quick to test with a simple heel prick.

If your baby is getting fussy during the day, he may be hungry. If you would like to hold off on the introduction of any other solids for a while, as advised by your allergist, I would recommend allowing your little guy to nurse as desired throughout the day. When he seems fussy, offer to nurse. He'll let you know whether or not he's interested.

If you decide you would like to begin offering solid foods, proceed slowly. Always nurse before offering solids foods during the first year of life. Add no more than one new food each week. Start out with very small amounts, offering only teaspoons at a feed.

Some foods that you might want to choose from are:

  • Soft, ripe banana -- mashed or in pieces
  • Soft cooked yam or sweet potato -- mashed or in pieces
  • Applesauce
  • Chopped, softly cooked apple (peel removed)
  • Soft, ripe pear (peel removed) -- mashed or in pieces
  • Soft, ripe avocado -- mashed or in pieces
  • Softly cooked carrots - mashed or in pieces
  • Softly cooked or mashed peas
  • Soft, boiled chicken -- in small pieces with all bones removed

Observe your baby carefully for any reaction. Allergic reactions and sensitivities take many forms, so they can be easy to miss, or overlook. Some signs of allergy or sensitivity are:

  • Constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gassiness, or an upset tummy
  • Wheezing, sneezing, persistent cough, congestion or runny nose
  • Eczema
  • fussiness and irritability
  • Ear infection
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the lips, eyelids, or hands and feet

If your baby shows any signs of sensitivity, it is best to remove that food from his diet for the time being. Return to the diet he was following before any signs of sensitivity/allergy, and wait a week or so before trying another new food. Of course, if your baby exhibits a strong allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately. Best wishes in mothering!

Like This? Read These!
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Breastfeeding Support Message Board
- Starting Solids Message Board
- Children's Allergies Message Board

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