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Questions for Your Pediatrician about Starting Solids and the Common Allergenic Foods

Some time between four and six months, your pediatrician will discuss starting solids with your baby. Keep your eye out for when your baby is able to sit up independently, as this is often a sign of readiness.

The "Big 8" Allergenic Foods

Once your pediatrician gives you the green-light, you will also want to discuss how and when to introduce the common allergenic foods. Be sure to bring up any food allergies you, your partner, or your family members have.

According to the FDA, the most common food allergens are:

  • Milk

  • Eggs

  • Fish (e.g. salmon, tuna, cod, halibut, flounder, catfish)

  • Crustacean Shellfish (e.g. shrimp, lobster, crab)

  • Tree Nuts (e.g. almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios)

  • Peanuts

  • Wheat

  • Soybeans

Questions to Ask Your Pediatrician About Starting Solids

  • Which food should I offer first?

  • What form should the food be in (pureed vs. pieces of food) and how should I offer it to them (spoon-feed vs. self-feed)?

    • Note that if you are interested in baby led weaning, read more about it here.

  • How often should I offer a particular food before offering a different one?

  • Should I keep a food journal?

  • Is there any type of food I should offer my baby every day (e.g. high-iron foods)?

  • How much can I expect them to eat?

  • Is it okay if they don't eat any of it?

  • How many allergenic foods should I offer at a time?

  • What does an allergic reaction look like?

  • How long does it take for an allergic reaction to develop?

  • If I suspect that my baby is having an allergic reaction, what should I do? How do I know if it's an emergency?

  • Should I have any allergy medicine on hand (e.g. Children's Benadryl)? If so, when and how much should I give?

  • Is there a best time of day for offering an allergenic food to ensure we see a reaction (e.g. morning vs. before bedtime)?

  • How many times do I need to expose my baby to each allergenic food before we know that they are not allergic?

Don't forget to review the list of common choking hazards, and keep in mind that many of the common allergenic foods need to be modified in order to safely serve them to your baby.

List of common allergenic foods


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