It’s an exciting time when babies start eating solid food. There are so many choices that it becomes a big adventure for parents and baby alike.

While exploring solids can be a lot of fun, it can also be a time for anxiety and questions. What foods should you start with? What foods might cause allergies? What would an allergy look like?

Baby steps for solid foods

Start small and simple. One food at a time will help you identify any physical reaction to the food. It doesn’t matter so much which foods you start with as long as you keep it healthy and well-balanced.

Try one food for three or four days, and then introduce another food. You can keep the first food as part of the menu. Just add one food at a time.

Some dieticians and pediatricians recommend grains first, rice in particular, and then fruits like apple and pear or a vegetable like carrot, which can be pulverized and mixed with a little rice milk if you like.

Top eight allergenic foods

With the introduction of a new food, look for signs of an allergy. While many foods can trigger a reaction, there are eight which show up the most: milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. Wait until the baby is older and his or her immune system is stronger to introduce these foods.

Many doctors recommend waiting until a baby is nine or 10 months old to introduce these foods. For peanuts, some doctors recommend waiting until the child is three years old.

Symptoms of an allergic response

Symptoms will appear soon after the food is eaten, sometimes within minutes or hours. Look for any of the following, singularly or in combination: hives, flushed skin, lip swelling, vomiting or diarrhea, coughing, wheezing, respiratory difficulty and loss of consciousness.

When to call 911

Most babies do just fine with new food. However, if you see that your baby is having trouble breathing, has any swelling to the face or develops severe vomiting or diarrhea after eating, call 911 immediately. If your child loses consciousness, don’t hesitate to dial 911 for emergency assistance. You can call your pediatrician later.

Discovering different foods and new tastes will be a lifelong experiment. There is no need to rush the process. Enjoy the foods you try, and wait to see if there is a response. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.

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