Safety must always be top of mind as your baby learns to chew and swallow foods. Keeping foods safe, reducing risk of choking and knowing signs of food allergies are important in helping to keep your baby well.
Reduce the risk of choking
Keeping foods safe is important to ensuring your baby’s foods are healthy and nutritious. How we store, handle and prepare our foods all contribute to keeping our foods safe. Babies and young children are at an increased risk of complications from food poisoning because their immune systems are still developing.
Offer food in a safe way (i.e., dice or cut lengthwise hot dogs, carrots, peppers, strips of meat/poultry). Check out the food safety website (external link) for more tips.
Infant food allergies
Food allergies are a common concern for parents when introducing foods to baby. However, there is no evidence that delaying the introduction of solid foods beyond six months of age reduces the risk of food allergies.
There is no need to delay offering common allergenic foods – these can be offered from 6 months on, once your baby has started foods. It is encouraged that families offer culturally appropriate family foods to baby even if those first foods are common food allergens. Offer a new food when baby is well and at home.
When introducing highly allergenic foods, offer in small quantities (10 mL) for 1-2 days. Wait a minimum of two days or 48 hours before introducing another new allergenic food to allow time to monitor for symptoms.
Highly Allergenic Foods Include:
- Tree nuts
It is important once a food allergen has been successfully introduced and tolerated, to continue to offer that food on a regular basis to build tolerance.
What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction?
- Flushed face, hives, rash, red/itchy skin
- Stomach pain, cramping, vomit and/or diarrhea
- Swelling of eyes, face lips, throat and tongue
What should I do if my baby shows symptoms of an allergic reaction?
- Stop feeding your baby the food you think caused the reaction
- If able, make a note of day, time, food eaten, and symptoms observed
- Call to make an appointment with your baby’s health care provider
Signs of a severe and sudden allergic reaction include:
- Trouble breathing
- Unable to swallow
- Swelling of the tongue, mouth and/or throat
- Loss of consciousness
If your child requires immediate medical assistance Dial 911