Re: Confused about when to start solids and what to feed fir
Having family members with allergies does indicate that you will have a higher likelihood of having allergies yourself. However, specific allergies do not seem to be heritable. So, for example, mom might be allergic to pollen while baby is allergic to eggs, or dad to soy and baby to strawberries.
I think the most important things to remember when it comes to solids are, first, that for the baby's first 12 months, breastmilk alone can meet all the baby's nutritional needs, and second, that until 12 months breastmilk is supposed to make up the majority of the baby's diet, with solids only "complementing" but not replacing milk in the baby's diet. After 12 months (or thereabouts), solids start to become a necessary element of a baby's diet, but the transition from needing only mama's milk to needing a lot of solids is often a slow one, with many babies not eating a large amount of solid food until well into their second year. So while I do think that it is a good idea to introduce solids at around 6 months, I don't think you have to stress over them. Just letting baby play with and taste the foods on your plate- that does count as introducing food, particularly with such a young baby who just doesn't have a nutritional need for solids.
The data on allergies do seem to show some protective effect to earlier introduction of certain allergenic foods, particularly wheat. But the data seems to be quite preliminary and I personally don't think you need to use it to guide your selection of solids for your child. If you want to, you can always just let baby play with a piece of toast or have a spoonful of cereal here and there- that should be sufficient to count as an introduction.
All that being said, if you have a strong allergy predisposition in your family, it might make sense to go slow and careful with solids. Start with low-allergy foods like sweet potatoes, rice, and carrots. Rather than allowing baby to eat from your plate, where there are many ingredients all mixed together, give him single foods for several days in a row, watching carefully for reactions. That way, if he h a reaction to something, you'll know exactly what the culprit was. You won't be wondering "was it the beans or the cucumbers or the butter or the mango or the ketchup..."
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