This post is sponsored by Owlet for Baby Safety Month. The words below are my own.
This month is Baby Safety Month and I’m excited to be part of a group of bloggers organized by Owlet to share tips on keeping baby safe. We chose our own topics so I’ll be talking about introducing baby to first foods. Those of you who have been reading me for a long time know that we had quite the roller coaster when we started introducing Miss Eva to solids so I’m hoping this post will smooth the way for other parents! I’m also sharing a great baby gear giveaway sponsored by Owlet to bring awareness to Baby Safety month.
As a mom of a kid who has major food allergies, I’m pretty cautious about introducing baby to first foods. I didn’t ever think that we’d have a child with allergies but it made me appreciate that you really want to pay attention to how your baby is reacting after those first few bites.
It might seem like you won’t need to watch for allergy symptoms until baby tries a big allergen (like peanut butter) for the first time, but some formula-fed infants actually show signs of a milk allergy much sooner. Luckily, milk allergies are very rare, but if your baby is spitting up often, vomiting after feedings, has diarrhea often, or develops hives, that could all be a sign that a milk allergy has popped up and you should check with your pediatrician.
Later, when starting solids between 4 and 6 months, try one new food every 3-5 days so you’ll know which food is the culprit if a food allergy does pop up. Diarrhea and vomiting are good signs of an allergy, but you also might want to look for a redness, swelling, and wheezing because those might indicate a serious reaction that you want to seek help for. In fact, when we gave Eva peanut butter for the first time, she immediately broke out into hives and started coughing a lot. At the time, we gave her Benadryl and didn’t take her in after her symptoms subsided, but looking back we should have taken her in to the emergency room just from her coughing alone.
The good news is that you have a much better chance of your child having no food allergies than of having any kind of reaction. Even with his big sister having big time scary food allergies, Calvin has never reacted to anything. Just keep allergies in mind during that first year of food exploration and have a plan in mind if a reaction does pop up. It’s not a good idea to try peanut butter, for example, while you’re on a camping trip 30 miles from the nearest medical center. If baby might need help, you want to be able to get it!
Some foods, like cow’s milk, should wait until after the first birthday because they aren’t easy for any babies to digest. Honey is another one you should wait on until after baby turns one because of the risk of botulism. Also, some foods are choking hazards for a long time (like popcorn, bacon, and gum) so even as baby moves from soft foods to more solid pieces, stick to things that will break down easily as baby chews.
According to the latest research, you no longer have to delay the big allergen foods like peanut butter and scrambled eggs, provided baby has gotten used to chewing and swallowing foods that are mostly solid. Doctors used to recommend waiting but research has actually shown that introducing those foods earlier in life might reduce the chance of a reaction! That being said, if a reaction does happen you can’t beat yourself up because of how you timed it. For some reason, those allergies just happen and even if you feel overwhelmed, your pediatrician will be able to help you and point you in the right direction to get all the support you’ll need.
If you liked this post, you should definitely check out Vanessa’s post over on Our Thrifty Ideas. She shared ideas on child proofing your home for visitors (great timing for the holidays!) and tomorrow Kathy from Go Adventure Mom will be talking about what she wishes she’d known as a first-time mom.
Now for the giveaway! Owlet is giving away: