As if parenting was not hard enough, who has time to sort through overwhelming, constantly changing, conflicting information on every single important topic?! No thank you! So, we wanted to share the low down on a common question every parent is faced with, and when Google is added to the equation, can leave you baffled and frustrated.
Well the time has come to start introducing solid foods to your child. Despite your amazing choices and constant search to reinvent the pureed pea, the inevitable question of, when do I introduce those scary, highly risky allergenic foods, will knock you off your ‘I got this’ pedestal!
Although, you may have heard of older studies showing that introducing highly allergenic foods to infants and children should wait as long as possible in order to avoid complications and reaction, this is no longer the information advised and practiced. These foods include, cow’s milk, eggs, tree nuts and strawberries. With reactions ranging from allergic intolerance, eczema and of course anaphylaxis. Newer more reliable studies have been done to contradict this original belief. A large number of newer studies have been completed that have proven that the longer infants/children wait to be exposed to high allergenic foods the greater risk they are at for developing an allergic response/intolerance. It is now known that introducing highly allergenic foods can begin as early as any other foods, six months. The studies have even showed that higher risk children, who have a family history of allergic reactions to foods, should not wait to be introduced either. Studies are showing that children who were not given those allergenic foods until after one year had high incidences of allergic reactions/intolerances.
So, let’s cut to the chase and break this down is some steps shall we!
Step 1: Four- six months old start to introduce solid foods.(* The goal is only breast milk until age 6 months*)
Step 2: Introduce one food at a time, ensuring the foods are bland with no additives.
Step 3: Introduce foods that are easy to swallow and dissolvable.
Step 4: Advance diet, introducing different foods, never more than one a day. Some high allergenic foods can have a reaction six hours after ingestion.
Step 5: If family history of allergen seek advice from primary care, pediatrician or specialist to establish a plan prior to introducing.
Step 6: If any intolerance is suspected make an appointment or seek medical treatment.
Step 7: Only formula or breast milk for first year, no other milks to be introduced until after age one.
***High risk children(those that have an egg allergy, have a sibling or parent with history of allergies, or those who have eczema which is hard to control) should discuss prior to introduction with primary care provider.***
Well Whew!!! One less thing on the long list of things to research. Check!
If you need a consultation to discuss further questions about introducing allergenic foods please feel free to make an appointment by simply calling our office at 417-332-3639.
-Mariah Schmidt, NP-C-
Mariah Schmidt is a Family Nurse Practitioner at Tri-Lakes Family Care. She is currently accepting new patients.