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Weaning can be a challenge for any baby, but weaning a CMPA baby brings its own challenges!
Try not to worry, no matter how lost you may feel in the beginning, it will get easier with time and experience!
The move from liquid to solid food is a major change, but it doesn't have to be any more challenging for a CMPA baby, as long as you follow these simple rules:-
- Introduce one new food at a time, and wait at least 3-4 days for any reactions before you introduce another new food.
- Use clean utensils and equipment to prepare your babies food, to avoid cross contamination.
- If your baby is sensitive to trace amounts of milk (or other allergens) wash all her utensils separately and clean the sink and oven/microwave with disinfectant between uses.
Weaning is the process of introducing food to your baby’s diet. This is usually done starting with small amounts of puree food, and gradually increasing the textures to solid "normal" meals plus snacks. In recent years, Baby Led Weaning has become popular, which misses out the puree stage and moves straight onto soft finger foods which the baby can feed themselves.
Weaning is advised from age 6 months, however can start before this but no earlier than 17 weeks old. Signs your baby may be ready for weaning may include:-
- Being able to hold their head unsupported
- Taking a strong interest in other peoples food
- Putting more things in their mouth
- Milk not satisfying them any more
Try to speak to your Dietitian about the best time to start weaning for your baby, as there may be benefits to starting earlier or later depending on different factors inc. reflux and how well they have taken to their infant formula.
The first 6 months of weaning are important to help your baby to get used to different flavours and textures. Try not to worry about moving quickly with different foods - only move onto another after you are confident your child is not allergic/intolerant to them.
Stage 1 - From 4 months. (with advice from a medical professional)
Baby rice or porridge is usually the best food to begin with. You can add either expressed breast milk or formula milk to it, and it is ok to add vanilla extract to make it more palatable. Some baby rice and porridge do contain milk; however there is a great range which is milk free. Some of the packets do carry warnings about traces of milk; the reasons for this can be clarified with the manufactures. Unless your baby has very severe reactions it will probably be ok for you to ignore these warnings - check with you baby's Paediatrician or Dietician for advice on your baby's individual case.
Milk Free baby cereals*
- Ella's Kitchen - Wakey Wakey Breakfast Porridge and Wakey Wakey Mango & Apple porridge.
- Hipp Organic - 100% Baby Rice and Apple, Orange & Banana Cereal.
- Organix - Organic Wholegrain Baby Rice, Organic Four Grain Cereal, Organic Wholegrain Banana Porridge and Organic Wholegrain Fruity Apple Cereal.
- Plum - Baby's First Four Grain Porridge and Four Grain with Apple & Apricot Porridge.
- Cow & Gate - First Spoonfuls Baby Rice and Banana & Strawberry porridge
- Neocate Spoon- (from the makers of LCP, Advance & Active). This product can help with the transition to solids. It is designed for infants with severe and multiple allergies who are struggling to be weaned onto first foods, and especially those who may have faltering growth. Ask Dietitian if you feel this product could help with your weaning journey. It is an amino acid (AA) based product which, when mixed with water creates a spoonable texture that is good for a weaning product, especially if your baby needs extra help gaining weight. It is available on prescription, or to buy on request from pharmacies.
*This list was correct at the time of publishing, please check the ingredients list before you purchase or use any of these products.
From 6 months+
Baby foods are best made from scratch at home, by doing this you know that the food is safe and you can also add scoops of your baby’s formula, baby cereal or dairy free spread to their food for extra calories and nutrients (good for babies that have been struggling to gain weight).
Steaming vegetables or fruits and pureeing them then freezing in ice cube trays is a great idea as you can begin to mix them for new flavours & textures when your baby is ready.
If you need convenience, there are dairy and soya free baby foods, although the choice can sometimes be limited. The "organic" ranges are usually the best place to start looking.
Once you have individually introduced a good range of foods it will become much easier to find readymade food for your baby. See our Recipes page for ideas for home made purees and weaning foods.
Healthy snacks and finger foods are a vital stage of weaning for all babies - increasing textures and self feeding will help to develop the skills of chewing, moving food around the mouth and bringing food to the mouth. Unless there is a medical reason as to why your baby should remain on puree food for longer, try to introduce finger foods at 6-7 months old. If you have particular concerns with increasing textures or your child's swallowing, please speak with your GP, Paediatrican or Dietitian. Speech and Language Therapists are available to help to manage any problems with swallowing and refusal of foods.
During weaning it is a good idea to keep track of what food your baby eats by keeping a Food & Symptom Diary. Some Dietician's will give you templates or there are a few smart phone apps available to make it a little easier, (particularly for Android and iPhone)
Doc's Diet Diary is a free Android App that records date and time of each meal, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and drink, and most importantly, your symptoms. It also allows you to email yourself, or anyone else, a PDF or CSV file with all the information you have recorded. You can then use this to help your child’s Paediatrician and Dietician best advise you on your child’s case.
Food Allergy Detective is an iPhone App available to buy on iTunes. It allows you to enter all your meals and symptoms and also alerts you to potential problem foods by analysing the data you enter. Although it may not work so well with observing reactions, it is still a very useful app. You can download a CSV to show you child’s Paediatrician.
The free Neocate iPhone App allows you to easily keep track of your child's nutrition and add information about symptoms that you observe. Upload photos directly from your phone and attach them to your diary entries to show your healthcare professional exactly what happened. Use the reminder function to let your phone automatically remind you to update your diary. Transferring your diary to your healthcare professional is especially easy with the built in export-via-email function.
Neocate don't currently have an app for Android or other smart phone formats. If you would like to see one, why not contact them and ask them to develop them!
Weaning is challenging for parents/carers too! If you feel you need support visit our Weaning Facebook Group for advice from real parents who are either going through the same stage or who have passed the weaning stage with a baby (or babies) with allergies.
You can also try calling the baby food & formula companies care lines for advice on weaning - members have spoken to a few and they are very helpful.
If your baby has been prescribed an alternative formula there are recipe books for weaning using the formula milk available on request from each of the manufactures including:-
- Neocate - 08457 623653
- Aptamil - 0800 996 1000
- Nutramigen - 01895 230575
CMPA Support Weaning Facebook Group
Our CMPA Support for Weaning Facebook Group is a forum where you can find practical advice and emotional support from many other parents who are also on the CMPA journey.
It can be very daunting coming to terms with the impact Cow's Milk Protein Allergy brings to a family, and our weaning support group is full of people who understand, who have been there themselves, or are going through the same stage as you right now! They can not only offer practical advice on how to live with
CMPA & other allergies, but also offer emotional support to help you through the harder parts of the journey.
When you join our group you will not only have access to hundreds of experienced parents but also our very own Specialist Paediatric Dietitian Mel Rendall, who offers her expert advice on nutritional issues.
** If you don't use Facebook, or prefer not to use Facebook groups, you can join the CMPA Support Forum, by clicking on the Members page and creating a profile.**
Baby Food Manufacturers
Cow & Gate have a good range of dairy free first foods. Call their care line (free phone number found on products) and they will send you an Allergy Guide for all of their products.
Ella's Kitchen have a great range of weaning foods for all stages, most of them are Dairy, Soya, Egg and Gluten free!
Organix Goodies do a good range of baby and toddler finger food snacks, some of which are Dairy and Soya free.
Heinz Baby have a useful search option by which you can search their products by dietary requirements, excluding milk, soya, gluten or egg, or a mixture of allergens from your results.
Hipp Organic have a great range of dairy free products to suit all stages, from baby rice to toddler meals.
Molly Moo is a new product especially designed for dairy free babies, here's what they say:
"Here at Molly Moo Dairy Free Baby Food, we have created a specific range of specialist dairy free meals for babies and toddlers. All the products focus on using the best ingredients possible with no added extras, only an extra special helping of love.
Each of the products in the Molly Moo range contain ingredients known for their calcium rich qualities. Feeding a little one on a dairy free diet is hard enough without worrying whether they are getting enough calcium. That’s why we are here to help, as each yummy meal contains calcium rich ingredients to help make up your child's recommended daily intake."
Organix have a good range of Dairy and Soya free weaning foods.
Plum Baby have a good range of convenient baby foods, some of which are Dairy and Soya free. They also have a few dairy and soya free finger food snacks in their range.