Introducing solid foods to your child's diet too early may actually be putting him or her at an increased risk for developing food allergies, says John Markovich MD, a pediatrician with Group Health, a TriHealth Physician Partner.
When Should I Introduce Solid Foods to My Child?
“Usually the recommendation is to wait until about four to six months until you introduce solid foods for the first time with your child,” he points out. “Six months is even better to help cut down on food allergies.” Similarly, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing solid foods to your child around six months of age.
This is because very young infants are not ready, developmentally, to digest food at such a young age. Exposing children to common food allergens before four to six months of age might trigger an allergic response since they are not mature enough to handle these types of foods.
How to Ease Your Child into Eating Solid Foods
When you do begin adding solid foods to your child’s diet, Dr. Markovich emphasizes the importance of using pureed, simple foods, like individual servings of fruits, vegetables or simple meats. “They’re very easy for kids to get and move into the back of their throat, and easily take down."
Similarly, he reminds parents that while citrusy fruits tend to be classified as allergy triggers, they are actually less likely to cause reactions than other types of foods. "You can usually start introducing those at nine months," he explains.
It is also important to wait three or four days between food introductions. “That will actually help you determine if a skin rash is [developing] because of a food allergy or not.”
Dr. Markovich suggests waiting until your child turns one to introduce foods containing the “big eight” food proteins, which are the proteins that most commonly cause food allergy outbreaks in children. These include:
- Cow’s milk
- Tree nuts