Pediatric Nutrition Q&A: Starting finger foods
William J. Klish, MD, is Professor of Pediatrics, Head of Pediatric Gastroenterology at Baylor College of Medicine and Chief of the Nutrition and Gastroenterology Department at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. Dr. Klish has served as chair of the Committee on Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Q: My baby is only 6 1/2 months old, and she is using her thumb and forefinger to pick up her toys and likes to feed herself with her spoon (although this is very inefficient). I think she would really enjoy finger foods. I don't want to give her teething biscuits because I was allergic to wheat as a baby. What would be safe to give her?

A: Your baby seems very precocious if she is already attempting to feed herself. If you had a wheat allergy as a baby, you might want to avoid giving wheat to your baby at least for the next few months. I am sure you will be able to find wheat free biscuits or crackers. When she is a little older - 10 or 12 months - you could try wheat because she will be larger and more capable of tolerating an effect from wheat. Wheat causes two distinct gastrointestinal disorders. The more serious is celiac disease, which is a lifetime disease (associated with diarrhea, weight loss, and other symptoms). If you have this form of wheat intolerance and still have symptoms I would recommend you eventually have your baby screened for this disease. There is a simple blood test available. If your symptoms were restricted only to infancy, your problem was probably wheat allergy. This is usually self-limited and tends to disappear in the second year of life. Both of these problems are hereditary, so it is best to introduce wheat carefully to your child.

Your Baby Today is proud to feature expert Q&A with Dr. Klish. New questions and answers will be added to this page regularly. If you have any questions for Dr. Klish, please write to him at While Dr. Klish cannot respond to each individual inquiry, we will post answers to the most common questions here.

The content on these pages is provided as general information only and should not be substituted for the advice of your physician.

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