You can introduce your baby to wheat when they are 7 to 8 months old. At this point, your baby should have already started on solids at six months, and wheat is one variation to your baby’s diet.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing your baby to solid food, which is food other than breast milk or baby formula when they are six months old. The introduction to solid food will allow your baby to be exposed to an array of different foods, with different textures to help your baby accept the food, especially if they are a picky eater and the food is nutritious for them.
Your baby will often eat what you are eating, or if they are introduced to a daycare setting early, they will want to eat what their friends are eating. This makes it extremely important for you to take an active role in determining and directing your baby’s diet.
Baby’s will usually accept and eat a particular food if it is given 10 – 15 times, so do not worry if they reject it. Remember, rejection is different from intolerance and allergy.
Wheat contains gluten, which makes it a food a baby might have a higher risk of being allergic to, but let this not dissuade you from introducing wheat to your baby’s diet. Not only is wheat highly nutritious but it is recommended to introduce to your baby to foods that might be allergenic such as peanuts or wheat, earlier rather than later because it is theorized that your baby’s immune system starts to recognize the food, builds up tolerance through creating the correct digestive enzymes and won’t become inflamed.
It is still very important to consult your doctor and work with them when introducing your baby to new foods, and if your baby has an allergic reaction to any food.
Below are the many benefits of wheat and what to do with allergies for your baby.
Will my baby be allergic to wheat?
There is fear from certain parents that wheat could cause an allergic reaction to gluten in their baby.
Anyone can be allergic to anything, which means that your baby can be allergic to any food, not just wheat. It is still best to check with your pediatrician and make sure that your baby does not have celiac disease.
It is important to understand what allergens are and how they work.
An allergen is an antigen or substance that you either eat or inhale and is perceived as harmful by your immune system, which responds to protect the body from the invader and results in an inflammatory response in a bid to get rid of the substance.
Celiac disease is an allergic reaction to gluten. It is a serious genetic autoimmune disease that results in damage to the small intestine when gluten is ingested.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, or barley. In people with celiac disease, consuming these non-gluten-free foods causes their body’s immune system to send soldiers or antibodies to the area of attack, the small intestine, which often leads to damage of the villi, which line the small intestine and promote nutrient absorption in its bid to halt the absorption of gluten.
Take this seriously!
The damage of the villi results in a body having a harder time absorbing nutrients that are digested into the bloodstream to other cells in the body. This often leads to malnutrition and other disorders because of the body’s lack of nutrition like vitamins and minerals, which are needed to carry out its processes.
Celiac disease is genetic, which means it is passed on through genes. Your baby can be screened in utero to check if they have a predisposition for celiac disease.
It is important to take this risk very seriously if your baby is predisposed to celiac disease, they have a higher risk of developing the illness, which if left untreated increases the chances of small bowel cancers and coronary artery disease, and other autoimmune disorders such as Type I diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, anemia, osteoporosis, migraines, and others.
It is important to stick to a gluten-free diet.
But if your baby is not predisposed to get celiac disease, it is ok and important to introduce them to wheat with gluten.
Importance of introducing your baby to wheat
If your baby can have gluten, then introduce it to their diet with gluten. Intolerance is different from allergies.
Lactose intolerance is often activated because the person does not consume foods with lactose in them, which leads their body to sleep in that area or stop producing the enzymes that digest lactose because the body perceives them as not being needed anymore.
Once the last enzymes die out, the body shifts those resources it spent creating the enzyme lactase to other pressing matters, such as growing hair on your legs or upper lip. This means that the next time food with lactose is consumed(which is usually after a very long absence), the person’s body does not have the enzyme waiting to digest this batch, and everyone down there runs around in confusion, which leads to the diarrhea button being activated, and it’s a flush out. This saves the good little bacteria that live in your colon. The body essentially makes a survival call.
If you continue consuming lactose rich foods, your body may relent and start producing lactase again, or it might not.
If your baby shows intolerance to certain foods, it may be that their immune system hasn’t started producing the enzymes to help digest the food, and with persistence, it will start. Your baby can show intolerance to any food, not just wheat-based foods. It is, therefore, important to continue giving your baby a variety of food so that they can develop tolerance.
Remember that your baby as lived on a liquid diet for five months, imagine going on a liquid diet for five months, your body would need to adjust to solid foods too otherwise you will have diarrhea the first couple of meals you take if you don’t ease your body back to solids.
This is why it is important to ease your baby into solids with food purees before introducing solid foods at 7 – 8 months.
Feeding wheat to your baby
Wheat is a very common cereal that originated in Southwestern Asia. It is primarily used in baking but can be used as a porridge for your baby.
A common baby wheat cereal available around the world is called Cerelac. It can be mixed with many other gains into a health mix powder, which only requires water or your baby’s milk for a meal. The powder is called Sathu Maavu in South India.
You can make your baby wheat porridge with only wheat flour and water with their milk.
Like rice or oatmeal, wheat is extremely versatile and can complement other grains and fruit for a nutritious porridge.
Wheat is highly nutritious
Wheat is highly nutritious for your baby. It contains complex carbohydrates that are essential for lowering your baby’s risk for chronic diseases, which are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They also provide your baby with a great source of energy, which makes them an ideal food to feed your baby in the morning and for lunch.
Wheat also provides your baby with a source of fiber, which cannot be digested by the body and acts as a cleaner. Fiber is essential for the body because it helps maintain bowel health, which means happier babies who can go. Fiber decreases constipation and chances of diarrhea. It also helps maintain a healthy weight.
Finally, wheat is also rich in mineral salts, calcium, magnesium, which is needed by most processes in the body, potassium, sulfur, chlorine, zinc, iodine, copper, vitamin B, vitamin E, manganese, silicon, and a host of antioxidants.
Wheat is widely available
Wheat is one of the most common foods in the world. It is widely available online(reputable companies) and at grocery stores.
Wheat can be used as a base for any porridge you make for your baby and offers their body great benefits.
It is important to introduce your baby to a wide variety of food early. This will help them build tolerance for foods so that they can remain healthy. We need different types of foods for our bodies to function at their best, which makes it important for your baby to be given a variety of food in their diet.
If your baby reacts badly to wheat the first time, contact your Doctor. It is important to consult and work with your doctor and nutritionist to ensure that your baby continues to be healthy.