When is it Ok to Give My Baby Foods Like Peanuts, Wheat, and Other Potential Allergens?
Many parents are nervous about introducing peanuts or wheat or other potential allergens, and that makes a lot of sense to me. Food allergies can be a pretty big deal for kids and for families. Up until recently, the recommendations were that we were supposed to hold off on the allergic foods until as late as we could. But more recently, the thinking has changed.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has said in a healthy child, there’s no evidence that delaying beyond four to six months old does anything to reduce allergies for kids. In fact, introducing before the first birthday may be better; it may reduce allergies. It kind of makes sense. In the first year, as the immune system is developing, it’s trying to figure out what’s normal and what’s not, what’s a foreign invader. If they get a little bit of these things early on, perhaps that’s the reason they could be more likely to think it’s normal. If we wait until the immune system is more formed, the opposite may be the case.
So, I do suggest you talk with your pediatrician about this, especially if you have a strong family history of allergies or if a child is allergic already. But, there’s a couple tips I want to give you. I would suggest that when you do introduce these foods, do it when breastfeeding if at all possible, when still breastfeeding, ‘cause that is an immune modulator in and of itself.
This goes not just for the eight classic allergic foods, but also the foods that sometimes kids react to in different ways. Things like strawberries or tomatoes or citrus in the first year of life can be fine in small amounts, and something that can introduce them to great foods to enjoy for years to come.