How to prevent allergies when introducing solids
If your little one has started showing interest in food, you may be thinking of introducing them to solids. Here’s how to introduce peanut and egg.
In the last few decades, food allergy has become a rising concern. Hospital admissions for life-threatening allergic reactions to foods (known as anaphylaxis) increased five-fold in Australian children aged under 5 in the decade leading up to 2004.
Dr Jennifer Koplin from Murdoch Children’s research institute says:
“Most children will grow out of allergies to foods like egg and milk, while allergies to nuts and seafood are often lifelong. The foods an infant eats in the first year of life has long been thought to play a role in whether or not they develop a food allergy, although it is only recently that people have started to study this more thoroughly.”
Here's what you need to know about introducing solids to your little one.
When should I start introducing solids?
The Australian Society Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) guidelines say to introduce solid foods around 6 months and not before 4 months. If possible, you should continue to breastfeed your baby whilst introducing solid foods.
What about allergy causing foods?
All babies should be given common allergy causing foods by 12 months, including egg and peanut. Make sure that the egg is well cooked and try a smooth peanut butter to make it easier for your little one. Delayed introduction of these foods has been shown to increase the chance of developing a food allergy, so make sure you include them as you start weaning your baby.
How should I introduce these?
Start small and gradually increase the amount of allergy causing food if your baby is not having any reactions. It might sound obvious, but never rub the food on your baby’s skin to try and identify if they have an allergy.
What am I looking for?
Stop feeding your baby and seek medical advice if you notice any of the following:
- Swelling of the lips, eyes or face
- Hives or welts
- Any change in your baby’s wellbeing (becoming very unsettled) soon after eating a new food. These symptoms could be indicative of an allergic reaction and it is best to consult your doctor.
When should I worry?
You should call an ambulance immediately if you spot any signs of a severe allergic reaction such as:
- Difficult/noisy breathing
- Your baby becomes pale and floppy
- Tongue swelling These symptoms could indicate an anaphylactic reaction and will usually occur quickly, in a matter of minutes. However, if you spot any of these symptoms, even a little while after feeding you should not hesitate to contact your doctor.