8 Tips for Introducing Allergenic Foods Into Your Baby’s Diet
Giving babies a taste of allergenic foods sooner rather than later may be the best way to protect against common food allergies, say new 2013 guidelines from the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology (AAAAI). Is your baby ready for solids? Here's a look at when to introduce the top 8 food allergens into his diet.
Food Allergen: Eggs
Studies show that babies who start eating eggs at 4 to 6 months have a significantly lower risk of egg allergy than infants introduced to egg after that time, according to AAAAI guidelines. Once Baby is eating solids, try cooked eggs first, meaning scrambled, hard-boiled, fried, or poached.
Food Allergen: Peanuts
Based on current data, AAAAI guidelines advise parents to introduce peanuts — in the form of thinly spread peanut butter — between 6 and 12 months of age. Who should still wait? Any child with a family history of peanut allergies. In this case, consult your pediatrician for further instructions.
Food Allergen: Wheat
Wait on wheat? The answer appears to be no, says the AAAAI. In a small study on cereal grain exposures (wheat, barley, rye, oats) in babies’ diets, delaying the introduction of cereals until after 6 months of age did nothing to protect against the development of wheat allergies and may have even increased children’s risk for allergies. Best time to introduce: right around 6 months.
Food Allergen: Cow's Milk
Milk is the one common allergen that parents are still recommended to hold off on after a their baby’s first birthday. It’s not allergy risk that’s the reason for the wait — it’s the risk for anemia. Because cow’s milk is low in iron, pediatricians are concerned that older babies won’t get enough if they are weaned from breastmilk or formula too soon. To include dairy in your child’s diet, try yogurt as early food and offer cheese once your baby is capable of eating chunkier foods.
Photo Credit: M.Verkerk, J.J.G.Claessens
Food Allergen: Tree Nuts
Unless a child has a sibling or parent with an allergy to tree nuts, the ideal timing for introducing tree nuts (almonds, cashews, and walnuts, etc.) is the same as peanuts: between 6 and 12 months. Thinly spread nut butters are usually the safest way to go when first offering this food. Just like introducing any new food, always watch closely for reactions.
Photo Credit: Fuzheado
Food Allergen: Soy
As of 2013, no studies have looked at the early introduction of soy and whether it has an effect on food allergy risk. However, given what is known about soy, AAAAI researchers say there’s no reason for parents to put off soft-textured soy-based foods, including tofu, once their baby is ready.
Photo Credit: GeeJo
Food Allergen: Shellfish
Same as soy, since there have been no convincing studies showing that starting shellfish before a baby’s first birthday increases risk for allergy, researchers say it’s full steam ahead for lobster, strip, crab, clams and other types of shellfish. Only lingering concern? Choking risk. Because of its meatier texture, finely chopped shellfish or crab cakes are best-suited for babies who already have a good handle on eating chunky foods.
Photo Credit: Bình Giang
Food Allergen: Fish
Studies have found that the introduction of fish before the age of 9 months reduces the risk of eczema in babies — and doens’t boost their risk for food allergies. In other words, break out the salmon puree!
So many things in your baby’s world can trigger an allergic reaction, from milk, nuts, and shellfish to pollen, bee stings, and dust mites. But the symptoms of allergies can be elusive—how do you tell the difference between a common cold, cough, or rash aview gallery
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN