2 5

Allergens

Even though it's possible to be allergic to just about any food, over 90 percent of food allergies, especially in young children, are caused by seven foods:

dairy products
soy
shellfish
wheat
tree nuts
peanuts
egg whites

*Honey (although it's not an allergen, it can cause botulism, so don't feed until age 1)

Here are two things you can do as a parent to reduce your baby's susceptibility to food allergies and reduce the severity of food allergies:

* Wait until your baby is at least 6 months old to introduce solids.
* Apply the 4-day wait rule when introducing new foods to your baby.

Waiting until your baby is 6 months old

Babies are not born with adult digestive systems and they cannot handle foods and will not digest them properly until their digestive systems have matured, at 4 to 6 months of age. Prior to that, your baby should only have breast milk or formula. Waiting until your baby is 6 months old to feed them solids will give them the best chance of actually being able to digest the food and a smooth digestion reduces risk of allergies.

The 4-day wait rule

When you begin to feed your baby solids, you need to be sure that the food isn't causing a reaction. Sometimes, it can take three or four days for a reaction to show up.

Introduce one food at a time and then wait for four days before introducing another food.

It is worthwhile keeping a food diary, noting which foods are introduced and when. This information may be very valuable later if your baby develops some kind of reaction which could be attributed to an infection or upset, or wind or whatever, though it may in fact be a food reaction. If you also note when particular problems start, you can quite often identify the offending food, exclude it from the baby's diet, and have a healthy, happy baby.

If there is a family history of food intolerance then it is recommended that you avoid the introduction of cow's milk or wheat until the baby is twelve months or even older. (If you introduce these foods at all – but that is another issue.)

Allergies are very common and can cause serious reactions. The digestive and immune systems of a baby need to be sufficiently developed before solid foods are introduced. Introducing solid foods too early or introducing foods which are likely to cause problems too soon will stress the baby's immature systems. When introducing solid foods you need to aware of the possibility of allergic reactions and should you be concerned about a reaction stop giving this food and allow the baby more time to mature. While the above details are intended to be generally helpful and educational they should not be construed as a replacement for individual advice from a health professional. You should seek professional assistance if your child's allergy is sudden, extreme, long-lasting or fails to improve.

Most-Allergenic Foods

berries (blueberries are an ok choice)
buckwheat
chocolate
cinnamon
citrus fruits
coconut
corn
dairy products
egg whites
mustard
nuts
peas
peanut butter
pork
shellfish
soy
sugar
tomatoes
wheat
yeast

Least-Allergenic Foods

apples
apricots
asparagus
avocados
barley
beets
broccoli
carrots
cauliflower
chicken
cranberries
dates
grapes
honey
lamb
lettuce
mangoes
oats
papayas
peaches
pears
poi
raisins
rice
rye
safflower oil
salmon
squash
sunflower oil
sweet potatoes
turkey
veal

6-9 Months:

Start by giving baby cooked and pureed fruits and vegetables such yams, squash, carrots, beets, broccoli, potatoes, green beans, peas, apple, pears, peaches bananas, apricots, nectarines, avocados and blueberries.

*I gave my son, Kenya, the same food every morning for 4 days in a row, just in case he had an allergic reaction. I started with pears, then carrots and yams and so on. Also, it's important to introduce one food at a time, so you can tell if your baby has an allergic reaction to a specific food.

I've heard different opinions about whether you should give babies fruits or vegetables first. Some believe that if you start to early with fruit, baby will acquire a sweet tooth. Personally, I disagree. It's fresh fruit after all. My concerns come later when people introduce refined sugar too often, too soon. The sooner you introduce fruit, the more your baby will love it.
At this time, you'll want to start giving your baby rice cereal everyday. Kenya still loves rice cereal with it's creamy texture.

9-12 Months

This is when you get into slightly more texture and bigger flavors. You can start giving different grains such as barley, rye and oats. Introduce new fruits and vegetables in month 9 and when baby seems ready you can add yogurts, cheeses, egg yolks (no whites), chicken, fish, meat (no smoked meats), beans and tofu.

*Kenya was really adventurous when it came to trying new foods. He truly likes almost everything I've given him. I also feel like I have a good barometer for choosing foods he will enjoy at the right time. I never wanted to push him into trying something too rich or intense too soon. No one knows your baby like you, so this is something that every parent should judge for themselves.

After 12 Months

Baby can now have whole milk (stay away from low fat products, it is extremely important at this age babies eat full fat products such as milk and yogurt), whole eggs, honey, pancakes, tomatoes and strawberries.

Finally your baby can eat what you and your family are eating. As long as it's in small pieces, chopped or mashed, baby will enjoy being part of the group.

*I was really concerned about giving nuts to Kenya. Nuts are fantastic sources of protein and vitamins. No one in our families has any food allergies, so I went ahead and gave him almond butter (a tree nut which has a low allergic potential so they're an ideal first nut to be introduced) around his first Birthday.

Safe Finger Foods:

O Shaped Cereal
Rice Cakes
Diced Cooked Carrots
Whole wheat toast
Cooked Beans and Peas
Tofu Chunks
Steamed Broccoli Florets

Not So Safe Foods

Nuts
Seeds
Popcorn Kernels
Hot Dogs (Whole or Chunks)
Raw Carrots
Whole Grapes
Meat Chunks
Stringy Foods (Celery)

Related Recipes

Comments






  1. jill

    January 22, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Great suggestions for parents!

  2. Kim

    August 22, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Thank you so much for this information. One of my sons who is now 2 1/2, is allergic to wheat, cow’s milk, eggs, and peanuts. It is a challenge! Your list of low allergenic foods is super helpful. One thing to note, oats are usually processed with wheat flour, so you have to be careful and make sure you buy wheat-free oats if your child has a wheat and/or gluten allergy. Just wanted to bring that to everyone’s attention!