Thursday, 18 August 2011

Introducing Solids to Allergenic Babies - What's the Best Way?

By Tim Howden ND BHSc MNHAA
In Naturopathic medicine we always support the body's ability to self-heal. Fundamental to this is Primum non nocere - First do no harm.  When introducing solids to allergy and sensitive prone babies this concept is vital.

It is important to choose foods wisely, in simple combinations and introduce then at the right time for your baby. Because allergies are inflammatory processes it is important to avoid foods that trigger inflammation, such as dairy, wheat, refined sugar and food additives such as artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners.  Babies palates are extremely sensitive, salt and seasoning is not needed.

It is important not to overwhelm your baby's digestive tract.  It is not until around 5 - 7 months that it can begin to breakdown and absorb nutrients from the stomach and small intestine.  If foods are not broken down correctly then the immune system will react prompting the development of allergy, sensitivity or intolerance.  Underweight babies or those with parents who suffer allergy, eczema and asthma would be wise to delay solids until 7 months.

6 - 9 months
Introduce 1 food at a time.  Make it pureed and dilute it with breast milk or formula if necessary.

  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet potato
  • Carrot
  • Broccoli 
  • Cauliflower
  • Avocado
  • Pear
  • Ripe banana
Watch for intolerance signs
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Mucous in the stool
  • Nasal stuffiness, Mucous, Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Rubbing nose
  • Noisy breathing
  • Ear infections
  • Clear runny nose (when otherwise well)
  • Bronchitis
  • Dry skin
  • Rashes
  • Hives
  • Eczema
  • Red around the mouth, anus or cheeks
If none of these signs are present then your baby is tolerating food well.  

Introduce foods one at a time
Foods can also be prepared in advance and frozen in ice cube tray holders in the freezer and used over the week.  On a personal level as a father of 3 and as a professional I have found babies respond extremely well and grow in all the right ways when introducing is done in this way.
Happy eating!!