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Weaning with allergies in family(5 Posts)
My little boy is three months and some way off weaning yet, but I am unsure which guidelines to follow. There are a lot of allergies and autoimmune disease in the family, but nobody has actually asked us this. How do we find out if he should be weaned by six months or after?
Not sure what you mean by 'weaned by 6 months'. Unless your under the care of a dietician/pediatrician and early weaning is suggested, then current guidelines are that weaning starts at 6 months.
You can either go down the puree, spoonfed route or do baby-led weaning or a combo of spoonfed with some finger food.
General rule is that food is for fun before one, ie their main source of nutrients is still milk (formula or breast milk) until 12 months old. Weaning is about introducing flavours and textures and building up to '3 meals a day'. Don't forget that they have to learn how to chew, swallow and use their tongue in a different way to deal with food.
If you're worried about allergies, then talk to your health visitor about your family history. They don't always correspond though - my daughter has CMPA and soya allergy, but there's no family history of those allergies.
I haven't seen any research that says weaning earlier would be better. Well, there was that dodgy research funded by Nestle but they might have a bit of a vested interest in babies being weaned early
The current advice is to wait to 6 months rather than weaning earlier, but that you should then introduce all foods (other than stuff like honey where they aren't supposed to gave it until one for other reasons) - deliberately delaying allergenic foods until later actually increases rather than decreases the risk of food allergy.
If you are interested, the analysis of recent research by the government's expert advisory group is here cot.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/jointsacncotallergystatementfinal2.pdf .
On a more practical level when you do wean, based on experience of DD with multiple food allergies - try new foods in the morning not the evening (so aren't trying to keep an eye out for symptoms at bedtime, and medical care is more readily available ) and keep a strict food diary of everything you have tried so you can look back if needed and have a record of what is definitely OK. Key food allergies for babies are cows milk, soya, egg, wheat and nuts - I would give small amounts initially and leave 3 days between trying any of these for the first time as delayed non-ige food allergy symptoms can take that long to show.
I found the first couple of weeks scary, but it rapidly gets easier as you get used to it and also rule the most likely food allergens in or out and build up a list of OK foods.
I think a consensus that early rather than late exposure to foods tends to reduce the risk of allergy, has been gradually consolidating over the last few years.
That said, the jury is probably not "in", and there is so much we do not know.
I decided, on balance, to introduce all the "potential anaphylactic allergens" to my baby over 4-5mo--no allergies over here (unlike all her cousins).
However, if you have a history of allergies, you should ideally talk to a specialist, who will tell you what is right for your situation and whether you should wean early or wait till 6mo.
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