The first question generally raised is about when solids should be added to a child’s diet and why. It is recommended that all infants be exclusively breastfed for 6 months, and that adequate complementary foods be added after that. If there is a history of allergy in the family, exclusive breastfeeding must be the norm till the child completes 6 months.
In case of breastfed babies, the addition of other liquids too early interferes with breastfeeding. Early introduction of all foods increases the risk of allergic disorders, unnecessary load on the kidneys, indigestion, obesity and the later possibility of hypertension and coronary artery disease. Less frequent suckling also increases the possibility of the woman becoming pregnant again.
Before 6 months, most babies have the tongue-thrust reflex; i.e., they push out with the tongue anything other than liquids. In such babies, it is better to wait till they complete 6 months before offering complementary foods.
In general, we do not recommend delaying the addition of solids beyond 6 months, but if an allergy-prone child is avoiding solids until she is 6 to 9 months, do respect her preference and do not force her to take solids earlier than she is ready for them. But in any case, do not delay the addition of solids beyond 9 months.
Give only one food at a time. Wait for a week before you introduce another food so that you know whether or not the child is allergic to it. If you have given a food to which the child might be allergic, look for the appearance of a rash, cold, wheezing, restlessness, crying, vomiting or diarrhea. Stop that food if any of these symptoms is present. If the reaction is severe, avoid it until the child completed one year and consult your doctor before trying it again.
Source: Book - Guide to Child Care by Dr R K Anand
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