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Introducing Solids

You would like to hope that by the time your baby is ready for solids, Reflux would be a thing of the past. Or that solids would solve your baby’s problem. Well I hoped that too, and the magic 6 month mark came and went!

Current evidence suggests that solids introduction any time between 4 and 6 months is advisable. In some refluxers, early solids introduction helps by making the contents of the tummy "heavier" and less likely to reflux. In some babies, however, the discomfort associated with relux makes the children a bit "averse" to feeding/trying new things, making solids introduction a difficult job!

As with most things, there is no single solution which works for every baby, nor is the introduction of solids guaranteed to improve your baby’s condition.

I started my baby on solids from 6 months.Please speak to your doctor before starting solids, so that you can work out an individual plan suited for your baby, in terms of timing and what to introduce etc.

My little angel fought it all the way! She only started eating solids properly at 8 months! She refused anything sweet, be it fruit or vegetables. I think the fruit acids burnt her already raw throat. So she basically lived on porridge for those couple of months, and a tiny bit at that. The solids made her Reflux worse.

I started her on rice cereal, which was supposed to be the easiest to digest, but it caused severe constipation. So I moved swiftly on to Millet porridge which was a bit better. Broccoli, cauliflower, lentils, beans, onions and tomato where definitely off the menu. Even now, she is 10 months old, and doesn’t tolerate those foods very well.

You need to start with the most basic and simple flavours. I started with fruit after the porridge. Pear was the only fruit she would eat and only if it was a small amount mixed into the porridge. I followed that with some vegetables- as the fruit was a disaster - sweet potato, butternut (which also gave her constipation), gem squash etc.

 Start with each veg and fruit and give it exclusively for 2 days or so to gauge your baby’s reaction. Some Reflux babies react to banana - others don’t. Banana also caused constipation in my little one.

It is going to be a bit of a “trial and error” process, and as you trial and error, you are going to have some bad nights! Keep a journal of what you are feeding and introducing so that you can link the reaction to the food. I was completely sleep deprived - I could barely remember from one meal to the next what I had given her, despite thinking “I definitely won’t forget that!” Famous last words!

If your baby struggles with allergies, I would advise seeking the guidance from your Paediatrician/Paediatric Allergy Specialist as well as a Nutritionist or Dietician, as they need to ensure that you have enough of all the right foods and nutrients for optimum growth. You can also use suppliers of homemade baby food if you don’t have the time or energy to make it yourself. A large number of them also do allergy free options (We hope to be including some contact details of such services in our Services Directory soon, so please keep checking back).

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The information in this article was reviewed for medical accuracy by, Paediatrician and Allergy Specialist, Dr Claudia Gray (MBChB (UCT), MRCPCH (London), MScClin Pharm(Surrey), DipPaedNutrition (UK), PostgradDipAllergy (Southampton), Certified Paediatric Allergologist (SA))

Dr Gray works at the allergy clinic at the Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town, and has a private practice at Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town, contact 021 531 8013.