Three Steps to Minimize Your Baby’s Risk of Food Allergies

 

1. Introduce Highly Allergenic Foods to Your Baby around month 6

Surprised? We used to think delaying introduction of highly allergenic foods including dairy, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish, was the best approach to lower the risk of food allergies in babies and children. But there’s a growing body of evidence linking early introduction with lower risk of developing a food allergy. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) recommends starting with a lower allergy risk solid food (like a single vegetable puree or chicken or turkey puree). If your baby has tolerated a solid food, the recommendation is to then introduce yogurt or cheese, egg, soy, wheat, peanut butter, tree nut butters, fish and shellfish. Introduce new foods at home, and always wait 3 to 5 days between new introductions so you can identify which food caused any reactions. It’s a good idea to check with your pediatrician before following these recommendations of the AAAAI, especially if you have any questions or concerns. Always get guidance from your pediatrician before introducing highly allergenic foods if your baby already has a known food allergy, you suspect your baby has a food allergy, your baby’s sibling has a food allergy, or your baby has had a positive blood test to a food.

2. Breastfeed your Baby

Breast milk is best, for so many reasons. When it comes to allergies, breast milk is the least likely to trigger an allergic reaction. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months is linked to lower risk for your child of atopic dermatitis, development of a dairy allergy, and early onset wheezing. Avoiding highly allergenic foods while you’re breastfeeding is NOT recommended, unless you or your baby has an existing food allergy. Check with your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns about your diet while breastfeeding.

3. Eat a variety of nutritious foods during pregnancy

You may have heard you should avoid highly allergenic foods during pregnancy, but according to the AAAAI, “there is no significant allergy prevention benefits to your baby if you avoid highly allergenic foods” during pregnancy. Discuss with your ObGyn or Midwife if you have questions or concerns about your diet while pregnant.

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