Babies can have problems with foods if introduced too early due to the immaturity of the digestive system. They need time to develop mature digestive secretions and enzymes in order to break foods down into their smallest components. These components are simple sugars, amino acids and fatty acids.
If complete digestion does not occur as a result of an immature digestive system, larger molecules can pass through to the blood stream and are not recognised by the baby’s immune system and treated as foreign substances, resulting in food allergies and sensitivities.
Allergy symptoms commonly found in babies:
- Unsettled behaviour
- Night waking
- Ear infections
All babies develop differently, patience and observation is required when introducing solids to ensure your baby gets benefit from the food and does not suffer any adverse reactions.
There are both developmental issues as well as allergic issues to consider when introducing solids.
Developmental signs that your baby is ready for solids
- Sit with shoulders straight and their neck upright
- Can open their mouth for a spoon and close their lips around it
- Can keep most of the food in the their mouth rather than pushing it out with their tongue
- Show an interest in food
- Can reach for and grab hold of the spoon.
Family History and Allergy considerations
Do you have a family history of food or environmental allergies? If so, extra care should be taken when introducing new foods.
Common allergic symptoms that could indicate a family history of allergies include:
- Hay fever
- Learning difficulties
- Frequent headaches
If you don’t these kinds of things prevalent in your family and you wait until you see all the signs of readiness before introducing solids- You will probably find that your baby will take to new foods with no problems. In this case, you can be less picky about when and how you introduce individual foods.