Thanks for asking this, as I've been wondering this too. My son is 14 weeks now and we're heading towards the 4 month mark which I understand is the earliest recommended age for introducing rice cereal. He's always soooooo hungry so I am anxious to get started on food - in addition to breastmilk (he is exclusively breasfed right now) - but terrified to give him allergies. I don't plan on giving him any baby food (veggies and fruits) until at *least* 6 months. I'll be interested to see what veteran moms have to say!!.............
if i'm not mistaken.. breastfed babies sometimes need the added supplement of rice cereal.. my ds could not handle rice cereal so i went with oatmeal but regardless...i think.. and anyone please correct me.. i think that when you breastfeed a baby, you give the baby things to strengthen his immune system and growth etc....versus formula feeding...correct me if i am wrong though...
I started cereal at 4 1/2 months then at about 5 or 5 1/2 I gave him baby food. Although I would do each food a week at a time. So it took until 8 months or so until he was introduced to all fruits and veggies, except for berries. My Dr told me to hold off, only because alot of people are allergic to different berries, not that his system wasnt ready for it. I think they say the same with peanuts. Your body can tolerate them, but if you are allergic it is a bad response. An infant cannot tell you in they cant breathe so that is why they suggest waiting until later. For milk and eggs, I think you can form allergies to it if given too early. We will have to see when Ethan gets older if he is allergic to anything. None so far, but allergies dont run in my family.
i have had a lot of training in food allergies because we often work with allergic children. i was told what cyw describes- the earlier you introduce certain foods, the increased chance of the child having allergies. it is not that the reaction would be more severe at a younger age- it's that the child has a higher chance of developing an allergy at a younger age. So, using the example of nuts- if a parent gives a child peanut butter at 1 and the child has a severe reaction, there is a chance that the child would not have developed an allergy if the parent waited until 3 to introduce the food. Of course, this is not a guarantee. It's more a matter of statistics.
as for breastfed babies, this is exactly why they say to wait until 6 months to introduce anything- rice, oatmeal, fruits, etc... A breastfed baby has 2 advantages when it comes to allergies- one is that their immune systems get a boost from breastmilk (allergies are immune responses). the second is that they can go for months (6 months or beyond) without having ANY foreign proteins introduced into their systems, especially if they don't get formula. when discussing solids my ped said we should hold off in order to maximize this benefit.
of course some kids are going to have allergies no matter what. i worked with a little girl who was severely allergic to a couple of things, including nuts. her mother said she breastfed her, held off solids, waited til 3 to introduce common allergens, etc... allergies run in her family and there was nothing they could do to prevent it. i suppose it could be much worse if the mother hadn't taken those precautions.
I was most recently told by our ped that babies don't NEED solid food until 1 year of age! There are enough vitamins and nutrients in formula and breast milk to sustain a child. Of course very few parents wait that long! :)
I would wait as long as you feel comfortable. Starches like rice and oatmeal, etc can be hard for a baby to digest early on. Avoid the berries and stick with 'basic' fruits and veggies. Also remember to start slowly and don't introduce a new food until you've given one several days to check for reactions.
My daughter had a milk protein intolerance and required a hypoallergenic formula until we could move onto whole milk at 13-14 months...so I was overly paranoid about ALL of her food! :) Thankfully we haven't had any allergies with foods so I'm thankful for that!
Take it slow and do what you feel comfortable with!
I have been speaking of this for years on here and been blown off. I cannot help but notice how many kids are cropping up with allergies and the major difference between those who were started early and those who were not.
Of course those with a familial history of food allergies need to be especially cautious about introduction of solids as well.
Bottom line is that it just isn't fair to the kids, they may have to live the rest of their lives with these allergies. I know I have allergies to a few things, including milk products, and it is miserable.
Go slow, build the best foundation you can for your little one. There is no rush, they have the rest of their lives to eat solid foods.
Our pediatrician told us six months to start cereal - and we started with plain rice cereal made with some formula - he did tell us at our nine month check up that we could SLOWLY start introducing some solid foods - we did a couple of nibbles of mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving and I did give her a couple of nibbles of pumpkin pie and sweet potatoes as well. She loves plain crackers and vanilla wafers as well - I'm just hesitant to try too much too early! He gave us the normal reminders about milk only after she was a year old and no peanuts until two (fine with me - I hate peanuts and peanut butter)
As always - talk to your pediatrician and use your common sense - do everything you can to give your little one the best start possible - and like Andi said - why rush it??
CYW said: "if i'm not mistaken.. breastfed babies sometimes need the added supplement of rice cereal.. my ds could not handle rice cereal so i went with oatmeal but regardless...i think.. and anyone please correct me.. i think that when you breastfeed a baby, you give the baby things to strengthen his immune system and growth etc....versus formula feeding...correct me if i am wrong though..."
Breastfed babies who are nursing on demand are completely well-nourished and don't need outside food of any kind. There is some concern about iron stores later in babyhood (i.e. 9 mos. on) but usually by then they eat iron-fortified something or other. To correct the other statement, which is quite serious---the ONLY way to have a stronger immune system in a baby is to breastfeed--antibodies pass from mother to child. Cows and soybeans just don't do it for humans. As long as we're discussing it, did you know breastfeeding also results in higher IQ, permanently (I am just going to include a link here to prove I didn't make this up):
The number one thing you can do to avoid allergies is to breastfeed exclusively for at least SIX MONTHS (that means no cereal, no nothing).If child seems "hungry" you just feed the child more often--your body will make as much milk as he demands.
I'm not saying you can PREVENT them btw (I had one child that would have died from massive multiple severe allergies, if he hadn't had access to breastmilk)--but you can give them their own ideal food and not have to worry about China and melamine, about bottles, about constipation, about rashes and dehydration and stomach flus at least for a while. (And their poop doesn't smell!)
Just to throw this one out there too. When I was a baby the doctors would push to start giving cereal at an early age and when my mom talks about what she feed me before age one it was everything but the kitchen sink. My brother was given rice cereal at 1 month old. As I think that was the norm back then. I am completely unaware of the stats, but has food allergies gone down by waiting from my generation or the generations before? Are we just more aware of allergies too, where as in the past maybe people chalked it up to something else? Just curious. I dont have any allergies and neither does my brother. So could it be more of a gentic susceptability as well as early introduction?
Also are there any studies done on waiting to long? My pediatrician mentioned to me that at times there is a window where if you wait to long to introduce something the childs body can recognize it as completely foreign.
It's funny, when I talk with my MIL and GMIL about what Brayden isn't doing yet, eating because it isn't recommended like it was back when we were little, they are completely beside themselves. They admitted that they were giving their babies cereal at ages younger then 2 months. Now they don't have any allergies to food, but they do have allergies. I guess a good question is, is giving food of any type at a young age detrimental to ones allergy likeliness? In other words, if you give your baby food to early is THAT the cause of ANY kind of allergy? I know when I had my daughter 18 (almost 19) yrs ago, I gave her cereal and baby food at a young age and she has no bad outcomes like any allergies. My older son the same way, only with him I was told to wait until at least 4 months. Now with Brayden he doesn't hardly ever get anything and when he does, it's only a small amount of cereal, because he really doesn't like it. And he is (IMHO) allergic to some things, like fresh cut grass and pollen. This late summer and fall when the wind would be blowing outside and I would take him out, his nose would run like a faucet and his eyes would also run. He would sneeze every few minutes and the like. And if I was to add up the total amount of everything he has eaten so far (he will be 8 months on the 8th) it wouldn't even measure up to 2 cups of food. I don't get it.
My SIL strictly BF her first daughter for the first two years (some solids after 1 yr) and she has everything from asthma, bee stings to every day common food. Her second daughter, she fed her formula and fed her solids at a young age (like 4 months or so) and she is perfectly fine.
Familial history is a contributing factor and typically it is related to food allergies, but asthma is also included in there as well.
Of course anyone can site a scenario where is didn't happen, but the overwhelming majority of studies show a definitive link between early introduction of solids and allergies, asthma, and obesity as well.
andi.. im confused about what you meant about asthma...
i was swtiched over from formula to whole milk at 6 months...and guess what....I'm allergic to milk.. not intolerant..allergic, i get a runny nose, ear infections and sore throat when i have too much dairy products and anything that is more concentrated like feta cheese just sends me dying...
who knows if its a contributing factor by my sister has asthma. she has this, she has that. i mean she has stuff that she doesnt even know about yet (haha a bit of a hypo). but my mom said that her ped told her to put my sis on cows milk at 6 months. i was lucky and stayed on the boob for a year+ but 6 months!! it could have to do with her asthma, skin allergies, many other factors.
what andi meant was that statistics and studies show that breastfeeding your baby and holding off on introducing foods reduces the chances of getting asthma and the severity.
its wierd how it all works because i dont know but like DS maybe if i would have BFed he wouldnt be asthmatic...but being a new mom i didnt know what to expect...however i do regret it though and have for a while...all i can say is i will try if i ever have more children...
tired thank you for clarifying.. i figured i would ask...:)
I'm no expert, but I am sure that there are many different reasons one develops allergies/asthma. My husband was BF and wasn't given any solids until pretty close to a year. He has asthma and allergies. So don't beat yourself up about not BFing. What's done is done, anyway. But it is a good idea to BF your next one(s) if you have them :)