How do I wean my baby onto solid food?
Weaning advice varies but guidelines recommend that weaning should start when your baby is around 6 months but not before they are 4 months old. This is an exciting time and an important milestone for any baby, whether they have cow’s milk allergy or not.
You should always speak to your doctor before making any changes to your baby’s diet, especially if they have cow’s milk allergy or a food allergy. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist when you start weaning, to help make sure that you don’t introduce any dairy products or foods containing cow’s milk protein, and that your baby is getting all the nutrition they need for healthy growth and development.
If you feel a little daunted by the prospect of starting your infant on cow’s milk protein-free solid foods, be assured that following some simple tips can help to make the process a little easier.
Weaning tips for babies with cow’s milk allergy
- Always read food labels carefully to make sure there are no hidden milk proteins – you might find this list of common foods to look out for useful:
- Which foods contain cow’s milk protein?
- Don't try foods that commonly trigger food allergies (see the table below) until your baby is at least 6 months old, and then carefully introduce them slowly one at a time with your doctor or specialist's advice
Allergies to other foods
Other foods are known to sometimes cause allergic reactions in children. Here are a few examples:
- Fish and shellfish
You should always seek professional advice before before excluding foods from your childs diet. Your doctor or specialist will help you make sure that your child receives all the nutrients that they need for healthy development and growth.
- Try new foods one at a time, and start with small amounts, so you can check your baby doesn't have an allergic reaction before continuing
- Keep a symptom diary to track when you introduce a new baby food, how much of it, and whether it triggered an allergic reaction or not (you can download one here and print it out if you wish)
- Symptoms Diary
- As your baby eats more solid foods, they may want to drink less formula. To make sure your baby continues to consume the right amount of formula to get enough nutrients, a good idea is to mix hypoallergenic formula specially designed for babies with cow’s milk allergy into foods like cereals or fruit and vegetable purées to increase their nutritional value
- Substitute cow’s milk in recipes with hypoallergenic baby formula specially designed for babies with cow’s milk allergy, for example, when making rice pudding or white sauce
- Try new foods early on in the day, for example, at lunchtime, so you can monitor whether your baby has an allergic reaction through the day and call the doctor if necessary
Weaning guide for infants with cow's milk allergy
- The Department of Health’s advice on nut avoidance changed in 2009. Check with your doctor or another healthcare professional whether you can introduce nuts into your child’s diet