A Big U-Turn On Food Allergy Advice
For more than a decade, we’ve been telling new parents to take their time introducing new foods in order to lessen the risk of food allergies.
Milk, peanut butter, eggs and a few other items were a big no-no for babies. We thought: feed a baby some peanut butter, and wash it down with milk — well, you’re just asking for rashes, hives and maybe even a set of lungs that squeeze shut.
Scary stuff. Scary advice … as in — you had better listen to us or else.
Now it seems the best approach to preventing food allergies may be to say — never mind. In fact, please do introduce these foods at a young age since doing so may actually lessen the risk of allergies.
New recommendations from an organization with a rea-l-l-y long name say earlier is better — and they have the research to show it.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says the early introduction of “highly allergenic” foods may actually teach the body — actually the immune system– that these foods are safe, and therefore the body wont freak out with rashes, runny noses, or wheezing.
So here’s the new advice:
The first solids for all kids should still be simple things like rice, cereal, fruits and vegetables.
But at ages 4-6 months it may be okay to then introduce nuts, milk, fish and eggs to the baby.
It used to be no milk til 12 months; no eggs til age 2, and no nuts, peanuts, or fish until age 3.
Now here’s the deal. If you have a family history of lots of allergies — if the baby has a sibling with a history of food allergies — or your baby has eczema or skin rashes, run the idea of this new regimen by your doctor first.
And as a quick reminder, especially as we head into baseball season. Hot dogs are still on the no-feed list for kids. Don’t even think about it.