Safe weaning

baby sitting in a highchair feeding themselves
Babies and young children are highly vulnerable to bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Some foods can also be a choking hazard. Read about how to store, prepare and serve food carefully to keep your child safe.

Introducing foods that could trigger an allergic reaction

When you start introducing solid foods to your baby from around 6 months, introduce the foods that can trigger allergic reactions one at a time and in very small amounts so that you can spot any reaction.

These foods can be introduced from around 6 months as part of your baby's diet, just like any other foods:

milk bottles on the doorstep

  • cows' milk (in cooking or mixed with food)

  • eggs

  • foods that contain gluten, including wheat, barley and rye

bowl of crushed peanuts

  • nuts and peanuts (serve them crushed or ground)

  • seeds (serve them crushed or ground)

  • soya

fresh fish on ice

  • fish

  • shellfish (don't serve raw or lightly cooked

Once introduced and if tolerated, keep offering those foods as part of your baby's usual diet (to minimise the risk of allergy). Evidence has shown that delaying introducing peanuts and hens' eggs after 6-12 months may increase the risk of developing an allergy to these foods.

Diagnosed food allergies

If your baby already has a diagnosed food allergy or eczema, or if you have a family history of food allergies, eczema, asthma or hay fever, you may need to be particularly careful when introducing foods, so talk to your GP or health visitor first.

Avoid any food if you're unsure about the ingredients and you think it may contain something your child is allergic to - please read food labels carefully.

Signs of a food allergy

Signs of a food allergy can include one or more of the following reactions:

  • diarrhoea or vomiting
  • a cough
  • wheezing and shortness of breath
  • itchy throat and tongue
  • itchy skin or rash
  • swollen lips and throat
  • runny or blocked nose
  • sore, red and itchy eyes

In a few cases, foods can cause a severe allergic food reaction (anaphylaxis), which can be life-threatening. Call 999 and get medical help immediately.

For more information, have a look at food allergies in babies and young children on the NHS website.

Is your baby ready for solids? Find out how you can tell.

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