When Should I Introduce Allergens to my Baby?

I have four kids, ages 9, 8, 6, and 1. Several years ago, the recommendation was to delay introducing a baby to allergens until after the child turned one. Allergens are foods that are a common cause of allergic reactions, such as eggs and peanuts. 

Introduce Allergens Early and Often
In 2017, the recommendation changed, based on research that found children who were introduced to allergens earlier in life were less likely to develop food allergies.

The new recommendation is to begin introducing allergens around the same time you begin introducing other solids, around six months (not before four months). The studies showed that when given to a child at least twice a week regularly, children were less likely to develop food allergies. As with other foods you are introducing to your little one, introduce allergens slowly, one at a time. In order to pinpoint the cause of any reaction that occurs, wait several days before introducing another new food.

Be Prepared in Case of a Reaction
It’s important to be prepared in the case of an allergic reaction. Always check with your pediatrician before introducing allergens to your little one, and discuss dosing for Benadryl in case of an emergency. Your pediatrician will advise on what steps you should take should an allergic reaction occur. It is also best to introduce allergens earlier in the day, rather than in the evening, so any reaction can be observed for the rest of the day.

Honey is Not an Allergen
While the recommendation for introducing food allergens to babies has changed, I think it’s important to note that honey remains an unsafe food for babies under 12 months of age. Honey can contain certain toxins that infant bodies are unable to digest as quickly as older children and adults, causing the child to develop infant botulism.

Be sure to check with your pediatrician if you have any questions concerning new foods you’d like to introduce to your little one.

Wendy is a mother of four who lives in central Illinois where she blogs at TheMessyMom.net.

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