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Can just a "taste" of food be harmful to a little baby? My little guy is only two and a half months old but has had some small "tastes." Last night at dinner I was holding him in my lap because he was fussy. I was dipping yummy bread smeared with roasted garlic in olive oil. I accidentally dripped a little bit of olive oil on the baby's hand and before I could wipe it off he shoved his little fist in his mouth and happily slurped away. I must say he was mighty content after that!

A couple of days prior to the olive oil incident my husband lightly rubbed a slice of apple across the baby's lips just so he could "taste it" despite my protests.

I plan on delaying solids until he is at least six months old but in the meantime do you think that there is any harm in these "little tastes?" FWIW,I don't plan on making a habit of doing this but I'm just curious...
 

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Provided the foods aren't highly allergenic ones to begin with (peanut butter, cow's milk), I think from what I've read (e.g., in "Our Babies, Ourselves") that this practice is very common in many different cultures. Just teeny tastes if your baby desires, as you indicated, and not at all associated with actual introduction of solids.
 

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I don't know about small tastes. I did read a study from Pediatric Allergy and Immunology that had some interesting findings. Babies who were bf and didn't have solids until after 4 months old were considerably less likely to have food allergies especially if there is a family history of food allergies. They were also less likely to have any sort of allergy for at least the first 2 years of life. I think they even looked into skin problems, colds, ear infections etc. Again the same findings.
 

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I wouldn't risk it. Babies are born with a "virgin gut" and it doesn't close until sometime in the middle of the first year. Probably a small bit of apple against your baby's lips won't hurt, but you never know.
 

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The gut is still immature at young ages, so the proteins of the foods can pass through the large cellular gaps. Much bigger chunks of proteins pass into the blood than in a more mature gut. That's why delaying solids is recommended.
Also, the bacteria that live in the gut of a milk-fed baby are different from adults or solids-fed babies. Adding solids to the diet changes the composition to the more adult variety.
That said, I have no clue "how much" is required to make these changes. But I wanted to add the information because starting solids isn't all about gag reflex and tongue thrust. It's also about the intestines and blood stream.
 
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