Allergies – not a topic we as parents want to experience firsthand, yet it is a reality as more children than ever are experiencing food sensitivities. While genetics may play a key role in a child’s likelihood of developing allergies, there are still steps parents can take to minimize the chances of their young one developing reactions to certain foods. Dietician Jennifer House explains what parents can do to reduce the possibility, and explains symptoms to watch for in case the inevitable does occur.
Food allergy symptoms can vary greatly, but may include colic, vomiting, diarrhea, skin redness or swelling, eczema, diaper rash, stuffy nose, asthma, red itch eyes, frequent earaches, poor growth and more. There are a few things that you can do to help prevent your baby from developing a food allergy, and to help identify the specific food causing the allergy if symptoms develop.
• Avoid offering solids until about 6 months.
• Breastfeed for 6 months exclusively & continue until age 2+.
• Feed your baby mixed foods only after each ingredient has been introduced separately (avoid first infant cereals that contain milk ingredients: milk powder, casein or whey).
• Offer foods for the first time in the cooked form, as they are less allergenic than the raw form, particularly with fruits and vegetables.
• When introducing a food for the first time, it is important to only introduce one new food every 3-5 few days. This allows the food causing allergic reactions to be identified. If your child displays any signs stop feeding them the food.
An infant with a higher risk for allergy has a parent (especially mother) or sibling with allergies, or has reacted to a food in the past. It is important to be more prudent when following introduction of solids, and delay the more highly allergenic foods until later. These foods include egg, milk, milk products, and fish, which could be delayed until at least 1 year of age in the higher risk infant. Peanuts, nuts, sesame seeds, and shellfish are even more allergenic, and you may want to wait until two or three years of age to introduce these foods. For low risk infants (babies that do not have a parent or sibling with allergies) the American Academy of Pediatrics states that there is no benefit to delaying these more allergenic foods past 6 months in preventing allergy. While delaying introduction of these foods until later may not prevent an allergy, your older child will be more able to tell you if he/she is feeling ill or experiencing symptoms of allergy. Ask your doctor for guidelines for your particular child.
Posted on February 08, 2012 | Filed under: General Baby
He just will not eat jarred organic baby food—he spits it out and makes a face.
Yvette and baby Kael