Introducing solids to a reflux baby

When we were in the middle of reflux nightmare, I had a couple of things to look forward to that helped me fight through the difficult times.

When P was sitting up, she might be feeling better.

When she was crawling, she’d likely be feeling better.

When we was eating solids, we’d likely be out of the reflux woods.

The girls 2

The pediatricians assured us that almost all babies outgrow reflux by their first birthday, and that symptoms would dramatically improve by the time she could sit up and eat solid foods. While still making an effort to enjoy her baby phase as much as possible, I looked forward to the day when she could eat without crying her heart out, stop choking, and be off medication. Finally, the day came, and we are so, so thankful.

In other reflux news, she had her scope at the ENT, and everything looked normal so at this point, they don’t need to do further testing. YESSSS. 

Even though we’re finally able to give her solid foods (and she LOVES solids), I still can’t help but feel anxious about introducing new foods to her. With Liv, we added in fruits and vegetables fairly quickly, and thankfully, she didn’t react to anything.

Because of P’s suspected milk protein allergy, I’m terrified that she might be allergic to something, so I’ve only given her fruits, vegetables, and beans. (She goes crazy for some soft, peeled black beans.)

I’ve found that berries make her pretty cranky (I think it’s because they’re acidic), but other than that, she’s had oatmeal with apple, banana, sweet potato, avocado, peach, spinach, pears, peas, butternut squash, broccoli, carrot and melon. The pediatricians told me to give her a lick of yogurt to see what happens. I don’t really want to “see what happens.” At the same time, I can’t wait forever to give her yogurt, egg yolk, wheat, or peanut butter.

I wanted to ask if my fellow reflux mamas had any tips for introducing new foods to their babies. Also, if any of my friends with kiddos who have allergies could chime in: what do I look for? If she were going to have a reaction, I read that the first one isn’t usually life-threatening, but I would love to hear your experience or suggestions. 

I’m just hoping maybe this is one case where I’m freaked out over nothing. Fingers crossed.

Thank you in advance for any tips you can send my way!
xoxo

Gina (and P) 

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Comments

  1. heather says:

    My friend with kids would introduce those new foods in the waiting room of her peds office a couple hours before the kids appointment. She would just go super early to her appointment, she was terrified of the kids reacting to something at home, so where better than the doctors office to test things.

  2. Brianne says:

    Not a mama, but my niece has a peanut intolerance (not allergy) and throws up if she has anything with peanuts.

  3. Melissa says:

    My little man is 9 months and has a milk allergy and reflux as well. His reflux has mostly stopped and we took him off medication at 7 months. I was very hesitant to give him yogurt as well. We finally did around 8 months and he had a reaction to it. We had some not so fun diapers for a few days and then all was back to normal. I have tried him with soy formula and soy yogurt and both have caused no reactions so, I’m happy about that. Totally feel your pain though. It was a scary decision to make but I’m glad we did and now we know he just can’t have milk products. We also mistakenly gave him mashed potatoes once at a restaurant not thinking about the potential milk and butter and he had another few days of yuck diapers 🙁 poor baby. Good luck with your little lady and try not to stress it too much.

  4. I am not a mom, but I have a friend who’s baby had a suspected food allergy. They gave them a bite of the food when they were parked right outside the doctor’s office. I’ll never forget that!

    • Melissa says:

      I’m not a mom either, but I was going to suggest the same kind of thing. If it were me, I might park my car outside an ER or even go inside and sit (what do they care?) and test a food.
      Or, call your MTF and tell them you’d like special appointment where you could do this with a doctor nearby. If they act weird, call the customer liaison officer person.
      But I certainly wouldn’t “try it and see what happens”! I only have cats, and I wouldn’t do it with them even! That was a thoughtless thing for them to say.

      • Fitnessista says:

        this is so brilliant. thank you!
        i know! her new peds are amazing, but when they said that i was like no. haha

  5. Jeannie says:

    Thanks for sharing this update on P. I like hearing the updates and glad she is doing better.
    My son had peanut butter around a year old no problem/no allergy. I nursed him until 18 mos but around 12 mos was trying to introduced other milk for day time and he refused. I tried cows, almond milk (no allergy), hemp then around 18 mos I tried cashew milk. He had 4oz of cashew milk which was the first time having cashews ever and went into full anaphylaxis.
    He was covered head to toe in hives they gradually got worse, he was vomiting all over the house and wheezing gasping for air. We rushed him to the hospital.
    If your nervous, I know ppl who introduce new foods at doctor office or outside of the ER. I would say my sons reaction happened pretty quickly but I’m sure it varies.
    My son is allergic to numerous tree nuts and also sesame. We learned sesame bc after hummus he broke out in hives on his face but not anaphylaxis like the cashew milk.
    Foodallergy.org can give u more info..it’s a great resource

  6. I just studied infant nutrition two weeks ago in school and it’s best to expose them sooner than later to common allergen foods so that they do not develop food allergies. I know it’s scary and hard but look at it this way, she’s too young to remember if something does happen. It’s better to know, than not.

  7. my boys both have dairy, peanut, tree nut and gluten allergies. they are 6 and 7. looking back at baby years, dark circles under eyes, eczema, restlessness and refusing to nurse were all signs. everytime i ate peanuts and nursed, my sons would scream all night in gastro pain. my son also reacted identically to lady ‘s son above with cashews at 1.75 years old. i think docs dont know and go back and forth on sensitization/desensitization. whatever you do, try an allergen in TINY amounts, possibly patch testing on skin first. my kids DO anaphylax, but never have breathing problems, just hives, vomiting and gastro pain (just!). is P getting a strong probiotic? strengthen her gut first and she might not have immune system hyperdrive. prayin…no fear!

    • Fitnessista says:

      that’s a great idea. she hasn’t had probiotics in a while, so i’ll start giving them to her again asap

  8. Bridget says:

    My 2 yr old has a dairy and peanut allergy. I gave him a small taste of yogurt around 9 months – literally a lick off a little baby spoon and he started rubbing his eyes right away and then got hives around his eyes. I was able to calm him down and call the dr who told me to give him kids Benadryl. I would check with your dr on kids Benadryl and the dosage and have that on hand if you don’t already. I had to take a sad baby covered in hives to CVS to get some!

  9. My son had reflux too and was on zantac. He had a reaction to egg at 6 months(our ped recommended introduction of allergenic foods asap). Hives popped up all over his face, neck and torso within a few minutes. Scary, but luckily no breathing problems. After that we were sent to an allergist and through testing discovered he has a peanut allergy as well. He is 16 months now. Makes feeding and eating out more complicated, especially with another child without allergies. Scary, but gets easier once you have all the knowledge of allergies and a plan for what to do if a reaction occurs. We are always prepared with antihistamines/Epi and love our allergist.
    Good luck!

  10. meeshapie says:

    Hi! my first baby had significant reflux and solids were awesome!! but she preferred nursing Forever. we did keep her sitting up in the high chair well after she was done eating-she would play wipe her tray, hit the bowl with her spoon, etc. I gave her toast slices often when I wa giving her an acidic food or I offered yogurt. My new baby has horrid reflux and suspected mspi so my diet is tough (he’s just under 3 mos) and gets allergy eyes and vomiting if I make even a tiny dairy mistake. I am just going to send you good vibes! you are a strong mama and will do the best for little P. but… the mspi and cows milk allergy are more likely a guy intolerance and kl likely cause duress and distress, hopefully not anaphylaxis.

  11. Lindsey says:

    My son is allergic to all tree nuts, peanuts, sesame and sunflower seeds. He got hives all over his neck when I gave him sunflower seed butter so we took him to the allergist where they pricked his back with all sorts of allergens and that’s how we found out he was allergic to so many things. Interestingly he’d had peanut butter a few times before and almond flour often and never reacted to those. It’s not too tough to avoid these things especially because they’re so common and foods are labeled well. I have heard from our pediatrician to introduce nut butters to my four month old right away since she has an increased risk of developing a nut allergy.

  12. We were on a amino acid formula and he was fine with all food, including yogurt and cheese around 10 months. So then we did whole milk at 1 and it was fine. They grow out of it.

  13. Thank you so much for this post! I can’t wait for the follow-up. We’re still struggling with getting our son to eat solids at 20 months due to his wheat/dairy/soy/egg allergies and EoE. Looking forward to reading some suggestions!

  14. I have a friend whose son has a casein allergy. She has survived it well, and carries food for him everywhere, has two sets of kitchen ware for cross contamination, etc.

  15. Allison d says:

    Heard friend’s allergist say to put some yogurt on the baby’s cheek before feeding it. Don’t know if it is only certain types of allergies but that dr said if this baby was allergic skin would be irritated – without having the intense reaction like it ate the food.

  16. My son is also allergic to sesame, peanuts, and tree nuts (except almonds, which he recently outgrew-hooray!)

    We didn’t know about his allergies until he ate some hummus at 9months old and his lips swelled and he broke out in hives all over. In hindsight, he had issues with eczema which might have been a clue.

    I agree with the others that if you’re nervous, see if you can test her with milk at a doctor’s office. Also, keep benadryl on hand (liquid, obviously). If you’re really concerned, you can probably get her skin tested at a pediatric allergist, but most allergists won’t do testing unless there’s already one suspected allergy (to avoid false positives).

  17. My son has/had (he’s mostly outgrown it) a milk protein allergy, too. I self-diagnosed that one initially because he would throw up if he ingested anything with even a tiny bit of milk (i.e. milk-based formula and an attempt at bovine colostrum) and was super gassy/fussy when I nursed after eating anything with dairy.

    I agree about trying the milk test at the doctor’s or near a doctor’s. Is there a reason why they won’t do official allergy testing for P? My son had a skin and blood test to confirm the milk/casein allergy when he was about 9 months.

    In terms of things to look for: vomiting, hives or red splotches on her mouth or face, swelling, fussiness, if she seems itchy at all. Testing some yogurt on her skin to start off with might not be a bad idea, since they can have the contact allergy reaction. It would probably be a good idea to have some kids’ Benadryl on hand, too. Ask the doctor what amount you can give P if she seems to have any reaction to the milk.

    • BTW, my son just turned 4 and he’s able to eat milk in baked goods now. The vast majority of kids will outgrow a milk allergy.

    • Fitnessista says:

      i don’t think they do that unless she’s already had a reaction. so fingers crossed we won’t have to go there!
      that is a great idea. i’ll have some benadryl on hand and do a skin test first. thank you!

  18. Hi Gina! So glad to hear the the reflux is getting under control and Baby P is feeling better! We didn’t experience the reflux with our 2.5 year old son, but do have LOTS of experience with the food allergies. We discovered the egg and dairy allergies between 6-9 months; his first reactions were to break out in hives all over and get red, itchy, watery eyes (thank goodness these were the only reactions). We’ve had some more serious reactions with his other allergies – sunflower seeds in particular that resulted in a true anaphylactic reaction with immediate vomiting and hives all over the body. One of the signs that I think went unnoticed when our son was an infant was his eczema – our current pediatric allergist has told me several times the current research shows that kids with eczema are more susceptible to food allergies because the breaks in the skin that the eczema causes allow the allergens to enter the body and blood stream and trigger the allergies. Direct ingestion of the foods (assuming there is no known allergy to the specific foods) is the best way to prevent an allergy from forming, so if we were to have a second baby that also had eczema she would want to see that baby ASAP. So now for the foods we know our son is not allergic to, we are making sure he eats those on a regular basis to prevent any new allergies from forming.
    I think I saw that someone else recommended this in a previous comment, but our pediatric allergist also recommended the website http://www.foodallergy.org as a resource for information on food allergies, and particularly this poster http://www.foodallergy.org/file/common-symptoms-poster.pdf to help us determine the difference between a non-severe reaction and anaphylaxis. With our son’s history of allergies and reactions, we’re very cautious to try new foods. We have a junior epi-pen at home, but when a reaction is occurring it’s still so scary that having the epi-pen doesn’t make you feel all that much better! One thing I have really liked about our current allergist is they will do food challenges in the offices so we’re not trying new foods at home on our own. The doctors administer the food in specific doses over the course of a couple hours and monitor all the reactions after each dose and use the reactions to determine if it’s a food the child can tolerate or not. This made us feel so much better about trying out new foods – being in the hospital where people are trained for severe reactions and also to have a second set of eyes to validate what you’re seeing. If you can find a pediatric allergist that would do that for you, I highly recommend that method! I know ours will test babies as young as 6 months old through the food challenges.
    One other thing I will mention on the milk allergy specifically is if you find an allergist and decide to do the food challenges, ask them if they will do a baked milk test. Supposedly about 80% of kids with a dairy allergy can tolerate the dairy if it’s been baked (since the baking process changes the structure of the protein, which is what causes the allergy). We just recently went through the baked milk challenge and were successful, so now can give our son foods that contain milk as long as they’ve been baked in the oven. This is another thing we try to give him on a regular basis now, as our allergist believes ingesting the baked form may help to eliminate the allergy to the non-baked dairy more quickly.
    I hope all of this information helps – assuming you made it all the way through my long comment 😉 – and you find an answer and resolution quickly!

    • Fitnessista says:

      this helped so much. i’m going to check out those resources now and ask about testing her at the doctor’s office. i really appreciate the help <3

    • Cindy Childers says:

      I also agree with what Lisa wrote, that it’s now more widely understood that it’s the eczema that causes the food allergies verses the other way around. I was so surprised to hear this. We are Americans stationed in the UK and have a 3 year old with tree nut and peanut allergies (discovered when stationed in NYC for the year when my little guy broke out eating pesto on pasta (which had cashews in it). We had a wonderful pediatric allergist in NYC that did all the skin tests and now here in the UK somehow we won the lottery and ended up getting the most amazing pediatric allergist/immunologist who is actually the Safety Director to a study on ped nut allergies done at Oxford. He’s the one that told me about this eczema causing food allergens theory. My little guy is allergic to dairy, soy, garlic (?!) , peanuts and some tree nuts (strangely not Brazil) and also not allergic to sunflower seeds, other seeds. However, both doctors (NYC and UK) said as long as he’s not have a major reaction to the dairy, soy, garlic (which he doesn’t) to continue giving him those and the reaction to them (mild itchy eyes, some redness around the face) will help build up his immunity to them. Which it completely has over the past 2 years since his first reaction. They said that it was my call as a parent whether to do this or not. They said, that it in fact can help reduce the allergen later in life (out ultimate goal) but we would have to deal with the eczema being slightly more flared up. But as long as we stay on top of his creams the eczema has totally stayed under control. And btw, he LOVES drinking/eating things with dairy (cereal, ice cream, etc). He’s one happy boy so I think we taking the right approach. I do love reading all these comments. Thanks Gina for prompting the question. 🙂

      • Fitnessista says:

        this is amazing. thank you so much for letting me know!! i’m still nervous about it, but feeling so much better after reading all of these insightful tips and comments. i really appreciate the help!

  19. Hello!
    I have a baby (she’s 3yrs old now) with severe food allergies; she’s allergic to eggs, milk protein and wheat. If you suspect that she may be allergic you can make a blood test for the major allergies. For a simple home test, you can swap a little bit of yogurt or egg in the cheek or hand, and if it’s severe the skin will swollen or have some kind of reaction. If she has some kind of reaction, give her a dose of Benadryl. Hope its help.

  20. I would definitely not delay introducing such foods, but I would consider exposing the allergen to her skin first and see if she breaks out. Or I would introduce right before going to doctors office in the waiting room. Best wishes!

  21. My daughter has Celiac Disease and allergens to nuts both peanuts and tree nuts. The wheat caused lots of gas as a baby and diarrhea, then turned into skin rash around her mouth. Lucky wheat normally does not cause anaphalaxis. The nuts, she actually ate a piece of chocolate that was in a bowl of peanuts and broke out in hives, lip and eye swelling. a double dose of benedryl and a prescription for an epi-pen later we don’t allow nut products in the house. My second daughter had horrible reflux (would not allow anything in her mouth without vomiting until 18 months) and she has a milk allergy but not allergic to anything else. I give a small amount of whatever early in the morning and watch her for several hours, never before any bed/nap times and always have benedryl handy. My allergist told us the same thing, try it sooner than later and in small amounts at first.

  22. Megan B. says:

    May I ask why you peel the beans? I’m just a couple weeks away from kiddo #2 and have read nothing this time around. I don’t remember doing that with #1 and am just wondering if I should have? ! Is it a choking hazard with the skins? Thanks!

    • Fitnessista says:

      i peel them because p is still getting the hang of chewing and swallowing. she chokes pretty easily. with liv, we gave her whole beans no problem

  23. Wow! All this information is great! I have a dairy allergy as an adult so my 10 month is not getting dairy. She showed signs early on of dairy issues on both breastmilk (not sure how as I am not eating dairy) and formula when we switched. I suspect another allergy as she is still dealing with eczema pretty badly, and after reading all these posts, I think I’m going to ask for a ped allergist referral!

  24. I know the thinking has changed significantly from 30+ years ago, but when I had a milk allergy as an infant, my mom was encouraged to continue giving small amounts of dairy with the intention that eventually I would build up immunity. Believe it or not, it worked!

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