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Food Allergy In Babies

At around 6 months baby is ready for solids. It is at about this time baby's immune system will start to hold on its own too. It is very important to build on the strength of your baby's immunity and one way to go about it is following certain guidelines when introducing the first foods. Be extra vigilant if there is a history of asthma, eczema, or other allergies in the family.

Allergies do run in families. Apart from genetics, feeding certain solids too soon, and/or focusing on one particular food type without varying at an early age can give rise to food allergy in your baby.

1. 80% of food related allergy is caused by this group of foods if they are introduced too early, i.e. as first foods. Refrain from introducing these foods to your baby when you first start weaning: Peanuts and tree nuts such as walnuts, cow's milk, fish & shellfish, soy products, eggs and wheat.

2. Puree foods singularly and introduce them one at a time. This applies to both vegetables and fruits. Repeat them over 2-3 days to get your child accustomed to the taste as well as to watch out for reactions. Once your baby has adjusted to the single form without any reactions, you can start creating different combinations of the 'tried and tested foods' to add variety.

3. Use fresh foods whenever possible; in fact the fresher the better because of the vitamins and minerals content.

4. Start with the right grains. At this stage rice, millet, brown rice, and buckwheat are appropriate. Hold off wheat and oatmeal till later.

5. Go slow. Introduce foods gradually with no more than two new foods a week. Your baby has a lifetime to try new foods. Why take the risk of introducing allergens so soon.

6. Potentially allergenic foods include egg whites, cow's milk, wheat, shellfish, peanuts, strawberries, citrus, chocolates and soy and these foods when introduced (after the first year of baby's life) should be done gradually, one at a time with all reactions recorded.

Allergies can happen as early as the first few months of a child's life.

Preventing Allergies in a nutshell

Your baby becomes especially prone to developing an allergy if you, your partner or a close family member has eczema, allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis, urticaria or food allergy. You can reduce the risk with the following measures:

For the first 6 months especially, try breastfeeding exclusively.
Avoid weaning until baby is at least 6 months old.
Include plenty of EFAs in your diet while breastfeeding. Avoid eating dairy products, eggs, fish and nuts and get your doctor's advice on replacement foods, if necessary.
Introduce foods gradually. Delay giving your baby the following:

cow's milk till baby turns 12 months old

wheat until baby is at least 10 months old

eggs until baby is at least 11 months old

cheese, yogurt, oranges, fish and nuts until baby is a year old

peanuts until child is 5 years old
Maintain a food diary and record all reactions to foods.
Avoid processed foods containing additives, artificial colorings and flavorings.
Rotate foods to avoid over-dependency on any particular food

Foods to Avoid Allergy Chart

6-9 months

Foods to avoid Foods to include
Citrus fruits and strawberries Pureed fresh fruits
Nightshade vegetables: tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers Fresh vegetable purees
Ground nuts and seeds Gluten free cereals: brown rice, millet, quinoa etc
Eggs Beans and pulses puree
Gluten grains: wheat, oats, barley Fish cooked and pureed
Dairy products: milk, cheese, yogurt Chicken & meat cooked and pureed
Soy products: tempeh, tofu, soy milk Dry fruit purees (unsulphured)

Take time to read food labels; the extra time taken can make a huge difference to an allergic child's life.

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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