Why is food introduction important to a mother with PPMD? She will be more anxious about feeding her baby and become upset by the baby reacting negatively to foods. For this reason you can save yourself, and your baby, discomfort by implementing proper food introduction.
It is best to let the baby breast-feed for the first six to nine months of life and then very gradually and gently introduce foods. In some cases this 6-9 month period is not possible. Because breast milk is a short chain fatty acid, you will want to avoid introducing cow’s milk, which is a long chain fatty acid, first. Please begin with a formula made from goat’s milk which is a medium chain fatty acid. It will be much easier for the baby to tolerate goat milk and to digest it properly.
When the baby is interested and grabbing for food, let her try something new! Do not introduce wheat or other grains/cereals first which can increase food allergies. Instead introduce some soft foods like sweet potatoes or bananas and mix them with your breastmilk or goat milk.
In Hawaii, one of the first foods that we introduce is taro root or “poi”. Add a little breastmilk or goat milk -a lot of babies love it and it’s high in iron. Carrots, cooked and mashed is a fun first food. Any cooked vegetable, soft or cooked fruits are the best first foods. Later you can grind cooked vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower.
So how do I know if my baby has food allergies? Only introduce one food at a time, meaning over a 3 day period try only one new food. For example, if you want to try banana first, give that for 3 days in a row in addition to normal nursing and watching for any reactions such as:
- gas, pain or bloating
- rash around moth or anus
If any of these symptoms occur while introducing a food put it on your “suspicious” list and don’t give it again for at least a month.
In an earlier blog I mentioned how some nursing babies will react with vomiting or rashes if the mother eats tomatoes. Tomatoes belong to a group of foods which contain latex. If your baby did react to tomato wait to introduce bananas which also contain latex.
The hardest thing about trying to figuring out food allergies is that they do not always show up right away. That is why we introduce a new food exclusively for 3 days, then if no reaction, put that food on the safe list and start adding a new food. As you find the safe list growing begin to rotate those foods giving them only every 3 days.
You will get lots of information about your baby by watching carefully and thinking about how the foods are impacting him. Avoid introducing the top 8 allergic foods egg, soy, cow’s milk, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, fish and shellfish.
An acute reaction (right away or within the 3 day window) is the key to avoiding long term chronic stomach or skin problems. Please do not continue to feed foods that make the baby sick.
So if you continue to have a crying baby with gas/bloating, vomiting or skin rashes, please consider getting the assistance of a naturopathic physician to help you with food introduction!
If you have an older child who already went through these issues as an infant either because of formulas or food allergies, a professional can really be of help. The things to be suspicious of at later age will be:
- Dark circles under their eyes called “allergic shiners”
- Skin issues- eczema, psoriasis
- Digestive problems constipation/ diarrhea/ stomach pains
- Emotional or Focus problems
These symptoms are letting you know the body wants you to help find and remove the cause. Of course if you have any issues please also discover your own food sensitivities via food log.