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  • Giving Baby Allergenic Food Before He Turns a Year Old May Protect Him From Allergies: AAP

    The three most common food allergens are peanuts, eggs, and cow's milk.
    by Lei Dimarucut-Sison .
Giving Baby Allergenic Food Before He Turns a Year Old May Protect Him From Allergies: AAP
PHOTO BY @alice-photo/iStock
  • Since 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advised parents to wait until their child turned 1 year old to introduce cow's milk, 2 years old for eggs, and 3 years old for peanuts, according to board-certified allergist Katie Marks-Cogan. Introducing these food allergens at the said ages would hopefully prevent babies from developing allergies.

    As of March 2019, AAP now recommends it is more beneficial to introduce allergens to an infant's diet when he or she is just a few months old and ready to eat solids. Part of the report reads:

    "Those recommendations focus on a high-risk population — infants with severe atopic dermatitis and/or egg allergy — who are advised to introduce infant-safe forms of peanut as early as 4-6 months, in specified amounts, with consideration of pre-testing to rule out allergy. 

    "The guidelines recommend that infants with mild to moderate eczema be introduced to infant-safe peanut-containing foods as early as 6 months of age, and those without food allergy or risk factors do so when age appropriate and depending on family preferences, i.e., after 6 months of age if exclusively breastfeeding."

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    How to introduce allergenic food into baby's diet

    Marks-Cogan advised that babies should not be immediately fed allergen food on their first foray into solid food. If there are no side effects after feeding him with food considered to be non-allergens, then allergens like peanuts, eggs, milk, and wheat may be slowly introduced into the baby's diet in small amounts: peanut butter may be mixed with breast milk, scrambled egg may be pureed and added to your baby's meal, and so on. This is ideally done before the baby turns 1 year old. Check with your pediatrician regarding the ideal mix and frequency of feeding. 

    Furthermore, Marks-Cogan notes that it is essential to sustain your baby's exposure to the allergen once it's been introduced to his diet.

    "It’s important to stress that introducing your baby to allergenic foods once or twice has not been shown to be protective and, in fact, might be harmful,” says Marks-Cogan, adding that infants need regular exposure to the allergen for several months to obtain the desired protective benefit.

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