Getting your baby to say “aah”–even with an allergy

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Highlights
  • If your baby has food allergies, talk to his doctor or dietitian before offering new foods.
  • Infant cereals and single-ingredient infant foods are introduced between four to six months of age.
  • Milk proteins can show up in unexpected places—read food labels carefully.

Starting a baby on solids can make any parent a little anxious, even without food allergies. For babies with cow’s milk protein allergy, you may also worry if your child will have other allergies. Children that already have at least one food allergy are at risk for others, so careful planning is important. That’s why it’s a good idea to work with your baby’s doctor or dietitian to plan the best approach for starting solids. Having a plan in place will give you the confidence you need to be able to relax and enjoy the journey.

Tips for starting solids

  • Introduce one food at a time.
  • Wait about three days between new foods to watch for any allergic reactions.
  • Some symptoms to watch for include a skin rash, diarrhea, congestion or vomiting.
  • If you see any of these symptoms, stop the new food and call your baby’s doctor.


First foods
Wait until your baby is four to six months old before starting solids foods and watch for signs that he’s developmentally ready. When ready, most babies will be able to eat single-grain infant cereals (talk with your doctor before introducing wheat) mixed with breastmilk or your baby’s hypoallergenic formula. You can also think about adding single-ingredient baby foods, including fruits, vegetables and meats, when your baby is ready for solid foods. 

STARTING SOLID FOODS

Is your baby ready to start on solids? Take the Solid Foods Quiz to find out.

Highly allergenic foods
If your baby has a severe allergy or more than one food allergy, his doctor may ask you to avoid giving him other foods that are known to cause allergies, such as eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish, until there’s a chance for more evaluation.

If your baby’s doctor gives you the “green light” to try other foods that may cause allergies, follow these tips:

  • Start the new food at home first, rather than at a day care or at a restaurant.
  • Wait until several other foods have been added to his diet.
  • Give your baby a small amount of food on the first try.
  • If he doesn’t react, you can slowly add more.


Reading food labels
By law, milk is one of eight allergens that must be listed in ingredient statements when present in foods packaged in the U.S. Look for “milk” in the ingredient statement. The label may also say “Contains milk.” Or you might find the word “milk” in parentheses after a less common form, such as “casein.” Example: casein (milk).

Always remember to read ingredient labels carefully because milk can show up in unexpected places:

  • Remember that cow-milk substitutes (goat-, soy-, nut- or rice-based milks) should not take the place of infant formula or breastfeeding during the first year. 

Below is a three-day menu to help baby with cow’s milk protein allergy, under a doctor’s supervision, start solid foods. In this example, once green beans are tolerated, the other days show how to add new foods: 
 

Day 1
Rice cereal already in baby's diet.
Addition of green beans

Day 4
Green beans are tolerated.
Addition of bananas

Day 7
Rice cereal, green beans and bananas are tolerated. Addition of beef
Morning feeding Breastmilk or GERBER® EXTENSIVE HA® formula

Breastmilk or GERBER® EXTENSIVE HA® formula 

Breastmilk or GERBER® EXTENSIVE HA® formula
Breakfast

GERBER® Single-Grain Cereal—Oatmeal

GERBER® 1ST FOODS®—Bananas

GERBER® Single-Grain Cereal—Oatmeal
Mid-morning snack Breastmilk or GERBER® EXTENSIVE HA®  formula Breastmilk or GERBER® EXTENSIVE HA®  formula Breastmilk or GERBER® EXTENSIVE HA®  formula
Lunch GERBER® 1ST FOODS®—Green Beans GERBER® Single-Grain Cereal—Oatmeal
GERBER®2NDFOODS—Beef & Beef Gravy

1/3 tub GERBER® 1ST FOODS®—Bananas
Afternoon snack Breastmilk or GERBER® EXTENSIVE HA®  formula

GERBER® 1ST FOODS®—Green Beans
Breastmilk or GERBER® EXTENSIVE HA®  formula

GERBER® 1ST FOODS®—Bananas
Breastmilk or GERBER® EXTENSIVE HA®  formula

GERBER® 1ST FOODS®—Bananas
Dinner Breastmilk or GERBER® EXTENSIVE HA®  formula

3 Tbsp GERBER® Single-Grain Cereal—Oatmeal

GERBER® 1ST FOODS®—Green Beans
Breastmilk or GERBER® EXTENSIVE HA®  formula

GERBER® 1ST FOODS®—Green Beans
 Breastmilk or GERBER® EXTENSIVE HA®  formula

3 Tbsp GERBER® Single-Grain Cereal—Oatmeal

1/3 tub GERBER® 1ST FOODS®—Green Beans
Evening feeding Breastmilk or GERBER® EXTENSIVE HA®  formula Breastmilk or GERBER® EXTENSIVE HA®  formula Breastmilk or GERBER® EXTENSIVE HA®  formula
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