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Is it OK to feed babies wheat?

February 2, 2011

Today, my Wondering Wednesday question is, “Is it OK to feed babies wheat?”

Now, I am pretty laid back about some things and what I feed Evelyn is one of them. My standard goals for Evelyn is as follows: feed her whole foods that are easy to prepare. (Well, the one exception I make to whole foods are the puffs for babies because they are so convenient and she can feed them to herself while I prepare her other food. Usually I feed her the Meijer or Gerber brand of puffs, but there is an organic brand,Happy Baby, that I buy when we’re at the health food store. You can buy them in 6-packs on Amazon here! I just might do this…)

Evelyn eats some of what we eat–if it’s easy to chew with two teeth–and, for breakfast, a mix of homemade applesauce and dry oatmeal pulverized in the blender. Yummy!

I’ve been asked if I avoid feeding Evelyn wheat because of a suspected relationship between early wheat introduction and allergies.

This article on wholesomebabyfood.com explains that it’s usually just fine to give an 8-9 month-old baby wheat products if she has not shown any food sensitivities so far. The author quotes a 2006  study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, that concluded the “timing of cereal-grain exposure was associated with wheat-allergy development. Delaying exposure until after 6 months was associated with an increase risk of wheat allergy, not a protective effect. In addition, these findings confirm the role of family history of allergy as a predictor of food allergy outcomes in children. Our results support continuing the current recommendations of first introducing cereal products between 4 and 6 months of age.” The journal article continues, “Another possible explanation for why late introduction of cereal grains was associated with wheat allergy is that when wheat is introduced to an older child, it tends to be introduced in greater amounts.18 We can speculate that a large antigen load may have resulted in T-cell activation instead of anergy or tolerance.”

So, it seems to me, that taken practically, the best approach to feeding a baby wheat is feeding it in small amounts and not overdoing it–especially at first.

I found a lot of interesting advice and tips from www.wholesomebabyfood.com–check it out if you have questions about what to feed your baby! (Or what to feed someone else’s baby that you’re taking care of…)

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