30 Mar
2009

When your baby first starts weaning, he or she does not really need solids so much for specific nutrients, or vitamins and minerals, as for variety of taste, filling up the tummy, and a few extra calories. Vegetables, most fruit and some of the less allergenic grains meet these needs very well, as well as keeping the baby off the most highly allergenic foods.

It is best to leave certain foods out of the baby’s diet totally for as long as possible – until the baby is at least 12 months old and preferably longer. If you can avoid the highly allergenic foods for as long as possible, you will give him or her an excellent start. Babies’ resistance and tolerance of allergenic foods does increase – a baby’s system matures and strengthens, and he or she is much less likely to become sensitive to a troublesome food the older he or she is when first introduced to the food. So avoid certain foods totally for as long as you are able.

Table 8 shows categories of foods in the order in which they are usually best tolerated for weaning. First weaning foods should be cooked or pureed with water, unless they can be eaten raw like avocado and banana.These foods have been chosen for first weaning because they are much less likely to cause sensitivity, and because they fill up the tummy and meet the baby’s hunger. (Some very sensitive babies do react to these, so do not persist with them if your baby is sensitive – simply use them as the first ones to try.

Tapioca is sometimes an ingredient in cow’s milk formula feeds and your baby may be sensitive to this if he or she has ever had a cow’s milk formula feed. Do not try this until your baby is over 12 months old if your baby has ever taken a cow’s milk formula bottle feed.

If your baby goes to a childminder or childcare place, it is probably better not to get them to do food introduction for you, but do it yourself first meal of the day or on days when the baby is at home. They can help with monitoring symptoms if you give them guidance on what to look for.

If the child has meals at a childcare place or childminder, give them their own foods to take with them.

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