Since the first days of their lives, babies get all the nutrients they need from their mother's milk or from modified milk. There comes a time when their diet may be extended by other products. You can start extending your baby's diet since 4/6 months of age. First it is recommended to introduce vegetable purée and gluten-free cereal products, such as millet porridge, or buckwheat porridge, and fruit purée. Further cereal products may contain gluten which should be introduced slowly due to an increased risk of allergy, but no later than when the child turns 12 months old.


What is gluten?

Gluten is a type of plant protein which can be found in certain cereals. Wheat, spelt, rye or oats are example of cereals containing gluten. In turn, buckwheat, rice, or millet are gluten-free. Gluten has been consumed by humans since they started growing wheat, and constitutes an indispensable part of our diet. We have only found out recently that gluten is an allergenic substance, and may result in allergic reactions in children. Allergy, which may pass as the child grows, is mistaken with coeliac disease which is an autoimmune condition with gluten intolerance as one of its symptoms. Gluten intolerance itself does not need to mean coeliac disease. Coeliac disease is a chronic condition. Undiagnosed coeliac disease might result in disrupted absorption of nutrients in the bowels and contribute to growth and developmental disorders. That is why we need to be cautious when introducing gluten products.

How to introduce gluten to your baby's diet?


The times when a child was given a whole bottle of farina porridge without worrying about the consequences are long gone. Being aware of the threats related to extending your child’s diet with gluten, at the same time caring for the proper and healthy development, all it takes is to follow a set of simple rules, similarly as in the case of other allergenic products:

Introduce new products to your child’s diet in small quantities. If you give your baby bottled milk, you can begin with one flat teaspoon of farina porridge added to one meal. If you give your baby vegetable purée, you can add one tablespoon of boiled porridge to the meal, etc.

Observe your child carefully for the first several days, maintaining a fixed quantity of cereals in the diet. If you observe:

  • increased stomach ache and flatulence,
  • diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting,
  • anxiety and nervousness,
  • a skin rash or another allergic reaction,

it is worth consulting such reactions to gluten with a doctor, and stop giving your child cereal products with gluten. Thanks to appropriate medical tests, it is possible to specify whether it is a case of gluten intolerance or coeliac disease.

If there are no contraindications involved, you can increase the quantity of cereals in your child’s died, all the way to a full meal. When you child starts chewing food, you can give it a fresh fragrant bread roll  - preferably a home-made one.


If your child spits out food, is fretful  an clearly does not like a given meal, this does not mean that it is allergic to it. First attempts with meals, especially with new flavours and new textures of food are strange to children, and babies need to get to know them better. It is worth changing the types of consistencies, or types of cereals containing gluten, but only after a few days of testing a new product.


When to introduce gluten to your child's diet?

You would surely like to take care of the initial months of your baby’s life in the best way possible. You may be inclined to postpone the moment of giving your child some cereal porridge, a bread roll or oats porridge  in fear of an adverse reaction. Current recommendations provided by specialists, including the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN), indicate that gluten should be introduced to children's diet between 4 and 12 months of age.




Remember that gluten is an inherent part of our diet and its introduction to your child's menu is a necessary element of infant’s adaptation. If your child has gluten intolerance or coeliac disease, you should only give it products labelled with the crossed spike mark. Please not that most allergies subside spontaneously between 2 and 7 months of age.  If there is no improvement, you should consult the issues of eating gluten products with your doctor.