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Time to introduce your little one to solid foods? Potential food allergies are something you need to be aware of. Young parents usually try to postpone giving their baby solid foods. But do you know what’s recommended? Experts say you must feed your baby solid foods by the age of 4 months to 6 months. It helps the baby develop antibodies to any allergic reactions that might happen. However, the recommendations have changed quite many times over the years. Let’s check out what they are in brief.
The New Recommendations Of Introducing Solid Foods
Let’s take peanuts for example. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies or infants with no prior family history of a peanut allergy can be introduced to peanuts as solid food. For those babies with a peanut allergy running in their family, peanut allergy risk is high and they should consult a doctor like an allergist who can do the required tests to rule out allergies.
With respect to other highly allergenic food items, there exists no evidence that delaying their introduction would prevent food allergies. Some foods seem to be more allergic than others. But the most common foods that most kids are allergic to are:
- Tree nuts
- Peanuts and peanut butter
The FDA recommends that the above-listed foods be properly labeled so that parents know what they are buying and feeding to their kids. There is no evidence cited in the recent AAP reports to suggest that delaying feeding allergenic foods to babies after introducing them to solid foods will prevent any allergies. If your infant shows the developmental signs to consume solid food, it is the right time to introduce them to foods that may be allergenic. As with all kinds of food introduction, keep an eye on them to see any signs of intolerance or reactions.
When Should You Introduce Allergenic Foods?
These allergic foods can be introduced right away with the other “first” foods. There’s no benefit in waiting to introduce them as said above.
Cow’s milk should not be introduced till your baby reaches the age of 1 year. During the little one’s first year, he or she needs to consume human milk as they contain the essential nutrients required at that young age. Cow’s milk does not contain the essential nutrients that a human infant needs. Once they start on solids around the age of 4 to 6 months, you can feed them yogurt. Prior to that, babies must be formula-fed or breast-fed. Remember to look out for these symptoms of milk allergy which will be evident right after its consumption.
- Stomach upset
- Difficulty breathing
- Throat tightness
- Swollen, itchy, and water eyes
Scrambled eggs are a great choice to feed young children learning to chew or grasp food and put it into their mouths. An omelet cut into strips or a thinly sliced hard-boiled egg are also some great options to serve eggs to babies. If you are considering purees, crumbled hard-boiled egg yolks can be added to some cooked oatmeal. Eggs contain high-quality proteins, choline, and iron. Make sure to look out for these few signs of an egg allergy:
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea
- Skin reactions such as eczema, hives, rashes, or swelling
- Sneezing or runny nose
- Red, watery eyes
- Anaphylaxis (it is rare)
3. Shellfish And Fish
A study published in the “Nutrients” shows that eating fish before turning 1 reduces the risks of developing eczema, which is an allergy-related condition. When it’s time to introduce fishes or shellfish, it is a good and convenient idea to go for fishes with low mercury content and higher omega 3 DHA fats such as sardines or salmon. Remember to remove the bones and to cook them thoroughly before offering them to the baby. You must keep an eye out for these symptoms in case they have an allergenic reaction:
- Throat tightness
- Troubled breathing
4. Tree Nuts
Whole nuts are a choking hazard and must be kept away from toddlers and babies. The same goes for nut butter until they are spread thinly onto a toast or thinned with the help of water. You can stir peanut butter into yogurt and/or oatmeal. Whether you have a family history of allergies or not, you must watch out for these signs of allergic reaction when you first introduce them.
- Loss of consciousness
- Swelling of throat and mouth
- Asthma symptoms or difficulty breathing
The best way to introduce wheat is by feeding them toast. You can spread the toast with the thinnest layer of nut butter or hummus and cut it into thin baby strips. The strips will help the baby with holding it and putting it in their mouth. If you are in for purees, a warm wheat veal made with formula or breast milk. A wheat allergy means the body is producing antibodies to proteins found in wheat. Here are the symptoms that you should look out for:
- Vomiting, cramps, nausea
- Difficult breathing
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy rash, hives, or swelling of the skin
- Irritation, itching, swelling of mouth or throat
6. Peanut Butter And Peanuts
Peanut butter must be fed to babies by thinning it with water, human milk, or formula. You can also thinly spread peanut butter on toast and cut it into thin strips. Another way to introduce peanut butter is by mixing it with oatmeal or plain yogurt. A study called the Learning About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) showed that exposing kids to peanut butter before the age of will significantly reduce the chances of developing an allergy even if they are highly prone to allergies. Here are the signs of a peanut allergy:
- Breathing issues: throat tightness, sneezing, shortness of breath, and runny nose
- Circulation issues: loss of consciousness, light-headedness, and pale skin
- Stomach issues: vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps
The simplest way to offer a baby soy is by feeding them a strip of tofu. Edamame can be pureed with oil and spices and spooned as a puree or used as a spread on toast. Do lookout for these signs of soy allergy:
- Redness of skin (flushing)
- Nausea, diarrhea, or abdominal pain
- Difficult breathing, runny nose, or wheezing
- Swelling of throat, tongue, face, lips,ṣ or other body parts
- Tingling in the mouth
Most Common Food Allergies In Babies Final Word:
A family history of potential food allergies, eczema, or egg allergy indicates that your baby is at a higher risk of being allergic to foods. If you have no such prior history, your baby is safe to consume allergenic food items. When you first introduce solid foods to them, you must include allergenic foods too. Do not change foods frequently until 3 or 4 days apart. This time gap will ensure that you find out whether any food item is causing a reaction in your baby.
Babies sense nervousness from their parents or caregivers so it is very crucial to make mealtimes as calm as possible. Talk to your pediatrician or a pediatric registered dietician to help you feel more confident with feeding your baby allergenic foods.