Introducing Infants to Cereals and Food Allergies

Posted on: Sat, 11/25/2000 - 6:37am
MomOfTwo's picture
Joined: 04/26/2000 - 09:00

The first pediatrician we had for our first child came highly recommended. Being nieve, first time parents with a "doctor knows best" attitude, we introduced rice to our daughter's diet when she was a mere two months old. All the books we read at the time said to wait until the infant was 4 to 6 months old. Our doctor, at the time, said that was an "old wives tale". He said that introducing solids early does not raise the risk of food allergies. He was so confident and came so highly recommended and we were so young and nieve, we believed him. Now our oldest has this peanut allergy. In my unending and seemingly futile quest to find out why she has this allergy, I would like to know if anyone else had their kids on rice or cereal at a young age.

Posted on: Sat, 11/25/2000 - 6:47am
pdaisey's picture
Joined: 10/11/2000 - 09:00

I introduced my son to solid food at 14 weeks old, thinking that he was hungry all the time because he never stopped crying. I started with the rice but very quickly progressed to a full range of foods including milk and egg etc. It turned out that he was actually lactose intolerent and we didnt find this out until he was 10 months old which is why he cried all the time. I wonder if this early weaning contributed to his allergies but then again he had severe eczema at only 8 weeks old when he was purely breastfed, so I guess that is just the way he is made. It was when I stopped breastfeeding him at 10 months old when he went onto formula that we realised he was intolerent of lactose. It made him have profuse diarrea (Cant spell)and an asthma attack. He had always had 5 to 10 dirty nappies every day from birth which the doctor had assured me was normal for a breastfed baby, but looking back i know for a newborn maybe, but not a 6 month old with a varied diet. As soon as he was on a lactose free formula the diarrea stopped and he was so much more content.

Posted on: Sat, 11/25/2000 - 6:50am
Claire's picture
Joined: 04/19/2000 - 09:00

Momoftwo, I did feed Christopher very early. He was demanding more formula than need be and not getting full. I was always bought up that the first time they don't sleep well or act hungry for more feed them. i gave him rice cereal and barly cereal. He was my earliest to eat foods however as I said before at 3 months old he was getting a few teeth. He was content on the food. My daughter however was older,but not by much. My daughter was not fussing as if she was hungry though. Now that my husband and I think about it we sometimes wonder if Christopher was not actually hungry but we were eating a ton of peanut products all the time in our home and maybe he was breathing to much in. Everyone would say maybe his stomach hurt. We thought hungry so we would feed him. Actually he was a good baby,but when he did fuss it would be more of pain related. My daughter had just about no hearing so she had no reason to cry from hearing people that could wake her. My 2 year old was a lot later befor given solids only because of Christopher and the peanut butter. Stephen still has had no nut products. He has had M&Ms when I am alone at the grocery store. He does know that chris can not have them. Christopher came home drinking a lot and I did not want to fill him up on formula. One bottle after another wasn't good so Yes I did feed him early. It is so hard to tell what is right for kids,because there are so many things I did exactly the same with my 3 and they are all completly different. We can go crazy I know trying to figure out what may have gone wrong. Take care Claire

Posted on: Sat, 11/25/2000 - 8:32am
MattsMom's picture
Joined: 09/17/2000 - 09:00

Matt was exclusively breastfed till 3mo when I found he had lost 7oz in the previous month. I switched to formula that night. He ate anywhere from 40-48oz of formula a day (twice what they should need, I later learned) and still gained only about half of what he should have. Because of this, I started researching online and heard about Celiac disease. I called the manufacturer of the formula and found that it was gluten-free, but we didn't feel safe giving him any solids or anything else besides formula until we knew what was causing his FTT. At 8mo we finally got in to the ped GI who gave us the go ahead for solids, so that's when we started introducing different foods and drinks to him.
The only contact with peanut products we know about for sure, were the two seperate times our daughter handed him a bite of her pbj sandwhich. Once before he was eating solid foods (which is why we took it away, had he not been FTT at the time, we probably would have let him keep it), and once after he had been eating regular table food for a couple of months. We figure he was exposed, at least minimally, through breastmilk and then from peanut products being in the house...airborne possibly, or maybe just residue on our hands or on furniture or carpets, as our daughter would walk around with her peanut product snacks.

Posted on: Sat, 11/25/2000 - 10:37am
Triciasmom's picture
Joined: 08/03/2000 - 09:00

First of all, there is no reason why you need to introduce solids until 4-6 months. In fact, if you have a history of allergies, I've heard that the later, the better. Babies under 6 months don't need anything but mother's milk (or formula).
Pdaisy, you mentioned the eczema at 8 weeks. My allergist said that it can be caused by the foods that you, the mother, eat. My daughter had really bad eczema too when she was an infant, and it wasn't until recently that I learned that it was from the milk, eggs and peanuts that I was eating. (I breastfed her exclusively for 5 1/2 months, and am still nursing her at 18 months)
I don't think that early exposure to foods necessarily makes your child allergic. But it definitely makes the allergies more severe and less likely to be outgrown (someone correct me if I'm wrong).
I introduced rice cereal to my DD at 5 1/2 months. My sister was on rice formula and rice cereal when she was adopted at 3 months. She was and still is very allergic to rice. I don't understand how some of the allergies work. I was on 2% cows milk at 4 months. I have a lot of allergies too.
But then, a friend of mine was feeding strawberry apple sauce, chocolate, whipped cream, and more to her son when he was 2 months old. He doesn't have any allergies at all. I think that it is all about genetics.
(end of long ramble)

Posted on: Sat, 11/25/2000 - 10:52am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

MomofTwo - Don't beat yourself up. My older non-PA son started solids shortly before his 4 month b'dy. He had food allergies when younger, but they were all outgrown. My PA son was breastfed EXCLUSIVELY 'til 8 months (because by then we knew he was prone to allergies). We proceeded so slowly with new foods, did everything right (except, of course, that I was eating peanuts and nuts while breastfeeding), and he is still a bundle of allergies. Maybe if I had known to lay off the stuff while pregnant or breastfeeding, but then again, who knows? Sometimes there just is no answer. OF course, that doesn't stop me from beating myself up over what I ate! [img][/img]

Posted on: Sat, 11/25/2000 - 12:59pm
CarolynM's picture
Joined: 03/27/2001 - 09:00

Here is a puzzling example: My kids, both PA, were introduced to solids at 4 months. With the younger one, we took it a lot slower because of my older daughter's allergies. We fed her one food at a time for 7 days before moving on to the next, instead of waiting the typical 3 or 4 days. My niece, who is the same age as my younger daughter, was started on solids before 2 mo. and was eating just about every baby food by 4 mo. She was not breastfed at all, and my kids were for 6 mo. My niece has no allergies at all, and her father (my husband's brother) has multiple allergies, including PA. I have heard that starting solids early does contribute to allergies, but this example goes against that, even with a strong family history.

Posted on: Mon, 11/27/2000 - 9:48pm
Shawn's picture
Joined: 09/07/1999 - 09:00

I'm not sure what the food/allergy relationship is here with infants. I have ALL of my pediatric records, baby books, etc. which show that my mom, with Doc's blessing, was adding cereal to my formula at 5 weeks and feeding me scrambled eggs when I was 2 months old! I have no food allergies, but terrible allergies to just about everything else. (My grandfather had all the same allergies I do, only more severe, so that's probably genetic).
My son (2-1/2) was exclusively breastfed until one night when he was 7-1/2 months old, and he reached out and grabbed a breadstick off my dinner plate and gobbled it up. HOWEVER, I was strongly encouraged to eat peanut butter and drink lots of milk during pregnancy and the first months after he was born (during which time I had a PB sandwich and glass of milk at least 5 days a week). After reading some of Dr. Sears' works and noticing that baby seemed to feel better after I cut out the milk and PB, baby didn't cry as much, have gas as much, or spit up as much. In addition to the PA, he doesn't tolerate milk well. He won't drink it at all (even on cereal) and will only tolerate it in foods if it's been cooked.

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