Introducing Allergens: What You Need to Know
Mounting evidence suggests that early exposure prevents allergy development.
Here's What You Need To Know:
- The top nine food allergens in the United States are milk, eggs, wheat, sesame, tree nuts, soy, fish, shellfish, and peanuts.
- Try to introduce your little one to allergens somewhere between 6-12 months.
- Introducing allergens into an infant’s diet early on – at about 6 months of age – may help prevent allergies.
- You should consult with an allergist, pediatrician, or general practitioner prior to feeding your little one an allergen.
- Use small doses of the allergen to gauge your kid’s reaction.
- Do not give whole nuts, as they are a choking hazard.
- The powdered version of nut butters makes it easy to add a small amount to your baby’s puree, mashed bananas, or other foods.
A Tough Nut to Crack:
For many years, mothers were instructed by their friends, family members, and even doctors to avoid introducing allergens for the first few years of life, ideally until the age of 3. There’s new evidence, however, that introducing allergens into an infant’s diet early on – at about 6 months of age – may actually help prevent allergies.
For example, the risk of developing a peanut allergy was 10 times higher among Jewish children in the United Kingdom than in Israeli children of similar ancestry. This difference is due to when the peanuts were introduced. In the U.K. infants are typically not exposed to peanuts within the first year of life, whereas in Israel peanut-based foods are usually introduced at 7 months.
A trial by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), found that “regular peanut consumption begun in infancy and continued until 5 years of age led to an 81% reduction in developing peanut allergies in infants deemed at high risk because they had severe eczema, egg allergy or both.” Below are a few tips on how to introduce your little one to allergens.