I’m a food explorer and taste adventurer. I like to try new things and even though I don’t always like the taste of what I put in my mouth, I enjoy the experience of finding out how yummy something is, or isn’t. Sometimes the journey is better than the destination.
I eat all sorts of foods and I have been discovering new flavours and textures from a very young age. Mommy doesn’t have many restrictions when it comes to my menu. As long as it can be chopped small enough to not be a choking hazard, I’m allowed to have it. I even have peanut butter, fish, and eggs all of which I have tasted by the time I was 8 months old.
Many parents will tell you that you can’t introduce your baby to eggs, peanuts, and fish until well after their first birthday. Some people may even include milk, wheat, and soy on this list. They will tell you that feeding your baby these things too early will cause allergies. These people have good intentions and they were probably given this advice by their doctor when they were feeding babies of their own.
Around 20 years ago healthcare professionals were told that delaying the introduction of common allergy causing foods will decrease the risk of an allergic reaction. This was based on a theory and there was never any evidence that it worked. Nevertheless, doctors passed this advice on to their patients. We now know that this advice was wrong.
Ten years later food allergies in children were at an all time high. A study done in 2008 has revealed that children who were not introduced to peanuts in infancy are ten times more likely to be allergic to them. Similar studies on other high risk foods came to the same conclusion. Withholding these foods makes it much more likely that an allergy will occur.
Babies are ready for solid foods between 4 and 6 months of age. At my 4 month checkup with my pediatrician we were told that I was ready. I felt ready. I was very interested in what mommy was eating. I was sitting up with only a bit of assistance and I could hold up my own head quite well. I was ready.
In the first year, babies need to be introduced to foods slowly. One new food at a time with several days without anything new between them. That way, if there is a food allergy it will immediately be clear what the culprit is. Luckily, I haven’t had any reaction to anything I’ve eaten.
The first thing I every tried was oatmeal with breastmilk. It’s good to have a high quality and iron fortified cereal as a staple. It’s easy to digest and the cereal to milk ratio can be adjusted as needed. Next I tried a few different fruits, one at a time of course, and then a couple of vegetables.
Once I had these basics covered, I had my first taste of egg yolk. A few days later, I tried the egg white. I was coming up on five months by then and I already knew I didn’t like eggs. I’m still not a fan although I do like the way mommy makes french toast. I also like scrambled eggs if they are on mommy’s plate.
A month later I was eating peanut butter mixed into my fruit puree. I liked it as long as it didn’t overpower the fruit. These days I enjoy peanut butter on toast with sliced banana on the side. At this point I was also eating yogurt. Babies can have products that contain cow’s milk, but they shouldn’t drink it until at least 9 months of age. Cow’s milk lacks the required nutrients.
Once I passed the six month mark, mommy began feeding me meat. The first thing I tried was fish and it was pretty good when mixed with vegetables. Now I enjoy a nice fish fillet with vegetables and rice on the side. I’m a big girl and I have big girl meals with my family.
By the time I was eight months old I was self feeding with my trusty pincer grip. Mommy gave me cubes of cheese and bits of toast for my snacks. I still like that and will often eat this combination before I have my afternoon nap. It keeps me full until dinner.
In my first year, I have crossed off just about all the high risk foods off my list. My doctor said that the earlier I eat these foods, the better my odds of not having a reaction. It is also important to continue to eat them on a regular basis to prevent an allergy from developing. Early and often is the new recommendation to safeguard against allergies.