Like many parents, I was super excited to introduce solids into TJ’s diet. At 4 months of age, we inquired to our pediatrician at the time when we should and could start. She recommended that since he was gaining nicely on breast milk, there was no reason to introduce before six months. I must admit that I was a bit disappointed mainly because I was excited for this next stage.
However, it was also around four months that TJ went through sleep regression, waking during the night and fighting naps. As sleep deprived parents do, we searched for answers and solutions to get our little guy to sleep again. In the search, we often came up with different theories that varied day to day, week to week, parent to parent. Once again I felt like we were playing detective…
Could it be teething?
Could it be a cold, virus, or infection of some sort?
Could it be a developmental leap? (A wonder week?- Yes, I believe in them.)
Could he have a stomach ache?
Could he be too cold or too warm?
Could it be the transition to the crib from his rock n’ play? (If I am blessed enough to have another little guy or gal, I would not wait until 4 months like we did with TJ to transition to the crib.)
Could it be that he was hungry and needed more food/breast milk?
Hmmmm… I decided to call our pediatrician with this theory to see her thoughts. I mean he was now showing interest in the “allergy-filled” food that I was eating. (The thought of how many times I ate a peanut butter sandwich or a slice of pizza while holding or even nursing him still makes me cringe. We were definitely being looked over during those many, many moments.)
THE PLAN (MY PLAN) FOR INTRODUCING SOLIDS
(*This was the plan that I set up for TJ BEFORE knowing about his food allergies and what I learned from each step.)
STEP 1) After consulting with our son’s pediatrician, we all decided that it would be in TJ’s best interest to start solids at 5 months. Therefore, being the planner I am, I created a chart of what we would be introducing each day for the next couple of months using information and charts from one of my favorite baby websites, Wholesome Baby Food Momtastic’s – 4-6 Month Old Baby Page.
- LOOKING BACK/LESSON LEARNED: TJ’s “random” hives and red rashes on his face and body started to happen at 5 months of age. This is also around the time when he had his first flu shot and a couple other vaccinations. We would soon learned that he was allergic to oats. Yet, I gave TJ oats several times for two months with no hives or reactions occurring after that. Most of his skin reactions were in the mornings after I ate some dairy and breastfed.
- TIP: For an infant, like TJ, at high-risk for allergies, I would now wait until he or she was at least 6 months to introduce solids. I believe that there were too many new exposures for his “already-hyped-up” immune system during this month with his shots and introducing new foods. (Of course, I would consult with our doctor before doing anything and recommend that others do the same.)
STEP 2) Before even giving TJ one taste of food, I decided that he would try each new food for 3 days before moving on to the next one.
- LOOKING BACK/LESSON LEARNED: Waiting 3-5 days was recommended and most suggested waiting 4-5 days for each new food before introducing another. But at that time, I had no worries about food allergies being an issue. Ha! I laugh at how naive I was to all of it. However, while it has taken me almost a year, I have also forgiven myself for that same naivety, which has allowed for a much clearer outlook. But, forgiveness is a whole other topic for a whole other post
- TIP: Wait the 5 days per each new food. What is the rush anyways? These cuties are only babies once and time flies by way too quickly to rush through any of it.
STEP 3) Since I had read and heard a lot about infant rice cereal constipating babies, I decided we would skip rice cereal all together and start with infant oatmeal cereal.
- LOOKING BACK/LESSON LEARNED: I was more comfortable introducing wheat and oats than rice. TJ is allergic to wheat and oats; however, not allergic to rice. Everyday from 11 to 16 months, he would go on to eat that same rice cereal I skipped over in those early months. (Never having any issues in the constipation area.) How ironic!
- TIP: I would start with rice cereal or whatever my doctor/allergist recommended. I would also inquire more about allergy testing for any future children I may have before introducing any food at all.
STEP 4) After making all or most of the first solids that TJ tried, I could not wait to start giving fun-flavored pouches.
- LOOKING BACK/LESSON LEARNED: One of these first fun-flavored pouches would end up being the one that contained yogurt, thus causing TJ’s anaphylactic reaction. TJ was and is highly allergic dairy which explained a lot of his other “not-so-random” skin reactions.
- TIP: I would not recommend giving dairy products like yogurt before the age that doctors recommend. Technically, I gave this pouch with yogurt a couple weeks before the recommended age. In addition, I would follow the recommended ages for all foods using extra caution with the top allergens.
- Kidshealth.org – Common Food Allergens
- Wholesome Baby Food Momtastic – Food Allergy Information
- I felt a lot of guilt about giving TJ his first taste of yogurt two weeks before it was recommended. I had even questioned myself that evening about whether or not to give that pouch. (At that time, I questioned myself not because of the direct fear of food allergies, but instead because of it being 5 pm, a little over an hour before his bedtime. Reflecting back, I guess I was indirectly worrying about a reaction.) Mother’s intuition yet again was trying to save the day.
- In the beginning, I even blamed myself for his allergies, which doctor after doctor would explain to me was not the case. (I asked many of them and some of them many times.) However, I now believe that TJ’s anaphylactic reaction happened that Saturday evening in December for a reason. While I don’t know the exact reason for any of this yet, I truly believe that it ultimately saved him from an experience even scarier. In addition, I know that it taught us how to best keep him safe. Therefore, I am forever grateful for his safety and protection that evening and throughout those early months before knowing about his confirmed allergies. Despite my plan, I was once again reminded that there is an ultimate plan that God has designed much greater than any of us can sketch out. With that being said, we will continue to do whatever we need to do every single day of our lives to ensure that TJ is not only safe and healthy, but also truly happy. Therefore, as we walk in faith, we have no other choice than to enjoy each moment and smile on…
EXCELLENT RESOURCES FOR INTRODUCING SOLIDS
Here is my favorite site for baby food, recipes, etc. At 16.5 months, we still use it for recipes.
Since we made all of TJ’s food for many months, we have become close with our baby food maker. Here is the one we have and love. We still use it to steam his vegetables.
Today’s “In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley” related to my message above so I thought I’d share…
“God Acts On Our Behalf
We have become so accustomed to this hurried world that we’ve begun to demand speed in our spiritual life too. However, God “acts on behalf of those who wait for him” (Isa. 64:4 niv). Wise believers endure until the fruits of His labor appear.
In this devotion, we’ll look at three reasons believers are called upon to wait. First, God may be preparing us to receive His blessings. Perhaps we need new skills or greater maturity. Sometimes people require fresh spiritual insight before their hands are ready to hold what their hearts desire. For example, David waited years to sit on his appointed throne. But when he did, he was a wise, strong, and battle-tested king.
Second, the Father is often teaching His children to have confidence in Him. How would believers ever learn faith if God immediately fulfilled their every request? In my own life, the Lord has often said two words: “Trust Me.” And He has never been late to meet my needs. No matter how we justify rushing ahead of God, doing so amounts to saying, “I don’t trust You.”
Finally, the Lord will at times withhold blessing to protect us from harm we can’t see. We may never find out what caused the delay. But be assured that God examines the object of our desire closely before placing it in our hands.
Waiting is rarely easy, particularly in this instant-everything world. But rushing ahead of the Lord short-circuits His plan. Believers who do are left unsatisfied, and they often must live with terrible consequences. Be patient while the Lord works out details. His best is on the way.”