Baby Bites: Feeding with Food Allergies

by tinysneakers

I know most parents can’t wait for the day they can play airplane with a spoon and see all the brightly colored remnants of sweet potatoes and peas smeared all of their adorable baby’s face.


I wasn’t one of them.

To me it was just one more thing for me to do and one more battle for me to fight.

I was adamant about waiting until 6 months to start solids. It’s what the WHO and APA recommend and our pediatrician supported that. Due to other pressures and a sheer lack of gas left in my tank when it came to fighting the reflux issues, we gave oatmeal a try a little earlier. No surprise, it didn’t help. So we stopped and officially started solids when he {and I} was ready.


I still wasn’t in any hurry, but I knew it was time. I somewhat reluctantly bought an extra sweet potato the week after his 6 month check up. {He was about 6 ½ months at this point.}

That night for dinner I made veggie burgers and sweet potato fries. I strapped K into his chair at the table, filled his sippy cup with water, and grabbed a couple extra napkins.


Then I put a few sweet potato fries in front of him…and waited…

…for point two seconds before he grabbed them up with his chubby little fists and shoved them right into his mouth. I replenished his stash and he went after them again. And again and again.


They were definitely more fun than food, but he knew exactly what they were for: eating. Even if he wasn’t doing a lot of swallowing, he was mad, mad, mad when he didn’t have a sweet potato in his mouth.


Within a matter of minutes my entire view of feeding a baby solids was changing. I was no longer approaching it with a little dread, but with full force enthusiasm. I wanted to hand him apples, peaches, beans, and spaghetti right then and there.


But I didn’t. While he did great with the sweet potatoes and I was immediately excited about all the different foods I could feed him, I knew I had to draw in the reigns and hold back a little bit. Because we’re dealing with food allergies, we need to do things just a little differently. Maybe not differently, but with a little more reservation.

The Slow Road

It’s recommended to introduce food to babies one at a time. You feed them the same food for 3 or 4 days and watch for allergic reactions. I’m not sure this is entirely necessary unless you have a family history of allergies, but since we’re already dealing with some intolerances, we decided to proceed with caution. Those 3 days of waiting to try a new food are torture to an excited mama!


For now, we’re sticking with it, but depending on how things go I may or may not speed that up, at least for foods that are low on the allergen list.

For foods that are known to be commonly allergenic, we’re waiting. The top 8 most common allergens are: dairy, soy, wheat, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Strawberries and citrus foods are up there as well.


Choosing Wisely

Many people start with single grain cereals when starting their baby on solids. We opted to start with veggies and fruits. Rice is a common first food because it’s thought to be one of the least allergenic foods in the world. Some people skip to oatmeal because it’s a little more nutritious and less binding than rice. However, many babies that suffer from MSPI {milk soy protein intolerance} and other food allergies have reactions to rice for whatever reason. The proteins in grains are also a little more complex than vegetables and fruits {what little there is} and that gives us another reason to delay introducing cereals and grains. I’m thinking we’ll reassess closer to 9 months, if I can wait that long. Winking smile

We’ll also be delaying meats, dairy, and soy. We already know he is allergic to dairy and soy, and meat proteins are closely related. I’m not sure how I feel about feeding him meat yet anyways. I’m a little more okay with {low-mercury} fish.


Maybe you’re beginning to pick up on the idea that I don’t really know where we’re going with this. We’re just taking a relaxed approached to feeding solids and will make decisions about what to feed him as the time rolls around. In the meantime we’re just watching closely to see how he does with each of the different foods he tries.


The only concern I have is with the conflicting evidence on food allergies: some research says waiting to introduce allergenic foods to children can prevent allergies from occurring {or help them to go away}, while other research says waiting makes allergies more likely. Soooo, I don’t know yet.

We will definitely, definitely be waiting on dairy for at least a year, maybe two, but I don’t feel as adamantly about some of the other allergens.


So there’s our basic baby food philosophy. Next post I’ll fill you in on how things have gone so far. Hint: lots of sticky fingers {and one very happy baby}.


Struggling with infant/childhood allergies or intolerances? Join our Facebook community for support & ideas for other moms going through the same thing: Intolerant Infants

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen August 7, 2012 at 11:12 am

I’m so glad solids have been going well for you guys so far! It took Wyatt awhile, but he’s finally enjoying solids, too. I’m finding the whole potential allergy thing nerve-wracking. He had a minor reaction to carrots and a more severe one to zucchini of all things! We’re taking it slowly, too, and waiting 4 days between new foods. I also have no idea when I’ll feel comfortable introducing meat- definitely not any time soon.

I hope he continues to do well <3


tinysneakers August 8, 2012 at 4:55 pm

It’s so scary that they can react to just about anything- yikes!


Kelly McNelis August 7, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Props for you for waiting! Are you doing baby-led weaning? I’m asking because of the sweet potato sticks. 🙂 I’m a big fan.


tinysneakers August 8, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Yes, for the most part! I’ll post everything we’ve tried so far tomorrow. 🙂


MCM Mama August 7, 2012 at 7:46 pm

It’s been a while since I went through this process (my kids are 6 and 10), but the main reason to take it slowly is so you know what caused the reaction. I’m firmly of the belief that if a child is going to be allergic, the exact order is not going to matter all that much. My older son had egg when he turned one and immediately broke out in hives (we already knew he was allergic to dairy). He has since outgrown both of those, but at 9 developed a peanut and almond allergy. My younger child got into peanut butter much earlier than planned and so far (knock wood ’cause he lives on the stuff) is fine. Just take your time and trust your mama instincts and talk to your pediatrician if something makes you suspicious.

Good luck and enjoy this time of food exploration!


tinysneakers August 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I’m not worried so much about order, but more about age and whether his tiny digestive tract is ready for it. That’s crazy he developed an allergy at 9! So glad it seems to be going well with the other one so far. 🙂


Miz August 8, 2012 at 6:00 am

Im with MCM MAMA in that it has been ages it feels since I went through this and we were so so lucky ours was not allergic.

it IS INDEED a fun time though filled with sticky fingers and one on one time.



Angela @ Happy Fit Mama August 8, 2012 at 6:16 am

I was a bundle of nerves ever time I tried a new solid not because we’ve had/have allergy issues but because everything I’ve read about it!

Slow is best. It does become fun to see what they like once you get more comfortable.


Kelly @ Cupcake Kelly's August 8, 2012 at 8:16 am

We waited awhile for some items too! I know some mamas like to feed one item right after the other but it helped ease my mind after the 3-5 day wait! Now we mix everything and he loves it! It really is the best feeling when your kid goes after something healthy.


Amanda @ Run Principessa August 8, 2012 at 11:48 am

You, my friend, have one of the cutest kids ever. Wise choice, sweet potato fries would win over anybody. 🙂 HIGH FIVE!


tinysneakers August 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Why thank you. 🙂 And thanks for the high five too. 😉


Pavement Runner August 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Do what works best for you and the baby. Do you remember when you first started eating solids? When you first had meat? Ya, neither do I and who really cares. Not like putting ” I ate steak at 8 months” will help anyone’s resume. They are going to eat them when they are ready and likely never stop. We follow the 3-4 day rule with our baby and she is 10 months. It always best to be cautious with new foods. They are worth it.

Great photos, great share!


tinysneakers August 9, 2012 at 11:22 am

Wait, being a proficient carnivore from an early age won’t help him become president?! Hahaa. You’re right, it really doesn’t matter in the long run, does it?


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