Weaning is such a complex issue for parents with children who suffer with a gastric disease and I have written posts about our experiences with reflux previously here and here. With my first born beauty, I was so excited to get her started on solid food when she was around 5 months old and I’d sit and plan what vegetable I was going to blend next with the same excitement I used to reserve for online shopping and spa days.
With Kian it was different. Because I knew he was struggling with his digestion, for both lactose intolerance problems and silent reflux, I was terrified of what I could and should feed him. At this point, the twins were around 5 months old and I hadn’t yet had an appointment with a dietician, but with lots of research online, in books, through friends and from trial and error, I learned what they could and couldn’t eat.
If you already have a diagnosis for your child’s reflux and are about to enter the wonderful world of weaning, then you will notice certain reactions to certain foods and soon learn to avoid them. Most babies readily accept any first foods and I find that beginning with dairy free baby rice mixed with a baby’s own milk a great place to start. From there, I mixed in puréed pear or parsnip as I found these foods to be the only ones tolerable by my reflux babies at first as the acid in many others were too harsh for their digestion. From mixing them with baby rice, I then went on to giving the fruit and vegetables on their own, after they had begun to like the new flavours.
Another of the problems with weaning reflux babies can sometimes be an aversion to anything solid going into their mouths as a result of months of battling with their bottles. Kaira really struggled with the feeling of a spoon in her mouth and gagged a little for the first few weeks but with very gentle perseverance, eventually she got used to it. Giving her a spoon to suck on in between mouthfuls helped her gain a sense of control in the situation and provided a useful distraction.
Here’s what we learned:
- Start with- pear, swede, potato, honeydew (yellow) melon, parsnip
- Progress to – banana, broccoli, sweet potato, spinach, blueberry
- Avoid – apple, raspberry, pineapple, strawberry, tomato, citrus fruit.
If you start with the above and give it at least 3 days before introducing a new food from each list, you’ll know what is causing any reactions (diarreah, crying, constipation etc) so you will know to eliminate that particular item from their diet (keeping a food diary could help with this too). I have to say that if you are beginning to wean a baby with suspected or diagnosed reflux, things will get easier. Kian didn’t manage to tolerate any of the food in the ‘Avoid’ category until he was around 10 months old, to give you an idea of how long it can take.
I still regret not noticing Kian’s symptoms when he ate some of the above sooner. I was giving him food with apple in and he would scream for hours, before I realised what was causing his pain. I hope I can help other parents avoid going through the misery I did while weaning reflux babies with this advice.
If you have bad experiences with bottle feeding caused by the disease, then I promise getting your baby/ies onto solids is a great step in the right direction! Please leave any questions or comments below or contact me direct from my ‘about’ page. I will write more about weaning including recipes and equipment in further blog posts.
* update – as a lovely friend of mine on Instagram reminded me after reading this post, some babies can react badly to cereal in their diet as it can cause constipation, which flairs reflux. If your child is constipated, it’s best to restrict cereal and stick to puréed fruit and vegetables alone until they’re older.
Love from Leyla