The Safest Ways To Introduce Allergenic Foods To Your Baby

The Safe Way To Introduce Babies To Allergenic Foods

For parents, it’s an exciting time when your baby takes their first taste of solid foods. Watching their face pucker up with a bite of strawberry or smacking their lips after a taste of peanut butter. Every meal is an adventure. But this is not true for all parents. If one of the parents or a close family member suffers from allergies, parents are understandably cautious about introducing their child to new foods. Sometimes these allergic reactions can be extreme and dangerous. If you’re nervous about feeding your baby allergenic foods, here are a few safe ways to try.

Family Allergy History

Children have a 70% chance of having an allergic reaction if their parent or sibling suffers from it. Allergic diseases like eczema or asthma in the parent may also affect the child’s immunity to certain foods. However, the reverse is also true, many children who have had severe allergic reaction have no family history of it. If there is any known history, it’s best to consult your doctor to know the best way to introduce different kinds of foods into your child’s menu. The doctor might recommend a skin allergen test to identify the child’s reaction under controlled conditions.

Foods With High Allergens

Eight Common Foods Are To Blame For Most Allergies

6 million children in the U.S. suffer from allergic reactions. There are eight common foods that cause 90% of the reactions – milk, wheat, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and fish. Many children seem to grow out of wheat, milk and egg allergies. However, if the child is allergic to seafood and peanut it might persist with them all their lives.

The Right Time To Start Solids

: You Can Start Solids As Early As 6 Months

Some parents might think it is better to hold off trying out foods with known allergens till their infants are older. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that it’s best to get babes introduced to these foods by the 4 to 6 month mark. Waiting till they are a year old might exacerbate allergic reactions. You can start your baby off on baby cereals and purees, slowly introducing foods like peanuts, wheat. eggs and milk one at a time.

Follow An Order In Introducing Solids

It’s always safest to start with the least allergenic and slowly move up to the more allergenic. Introduce foods one at a time, keeping at least a 3-day gap between each. Allergic reactions sometimes take a while to develop and it’s best to know which one exactly your child is allergic to. Start off with rice and root vegetables slowly leading up to grains. Keep wheat for the very last. Egg yolks are quite safe, it’s the whites that contain albumin that can be highly allergic. Keep this to when your baby is one year old. Another food to keep till later is honey. While not allergenic, it contains a bacterium that can cause botulism. A baby’s digestive system cannot handle this, which can lead to long-term effects.

Allergies vs Intolerance

Allergic reactions and intolerance are two very different things. An allergy is a defense by your own body’s immune system against what it sees as an enemy. It results in varying levels of mild to extreme reactions which can affect the respiratory or the gastrointestinal system. If not treated in time, it can sometimes be deadly. Intolerance on the other hand is a metabolic reaction to an enzyme in a specific food. Lactose and gluten intolerance are common examples. This is never deadly but can cause discomfort.

Symptoms Of Allergic Reactions

If your child is allergic to any food, the reactions will appear anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours. When your child tries a food for the first time, watch out for hives or rashes, breathlessness, swelling of the face or lips, vomiting, diarrhea or loss of consciousness. If they are breathless or losing consciousness call 911 immediately as allergic reactions can escalate quickly.