Allergies are now quite common and it is not surprising that more individuals with allergies are eager to find ways to reduce the risk for children to end up with allergies. One concern is the introduction of solid foods into the diet of infants who are at risk for allergies.
Based on various studies, it showed that delay in the introduction of various foods into the diet can delay or prevent the development of food allergy. It is recommended that infants should be breastfed exclusively at least the first 6 months of life. This is followed by gradual introduction of solid foods after the age of 4-6 months as well as breastfeeding for 12 months or longer.
Once solid foods are introduced, it is recommended that single-ingredient foods are added one at a time. A trial should last several days prior to adding more foods. This can help determine which food might be responsible for triggering an adverse reaction.
Can early introduction to solid food triggers allergies?
Based on studies conducted, it revealed that the introduction of solid foods before 4 months of age increases the risk for atopic dermatitis until 10 years old. Additionally, the use of cow’s milk-based formulas during early infancy has been linked with the development of cow’s milk allergy.
In another study, it revealed that once solid foods are given to infants less than 8 weeks of age, there is a high risk of coughing and breathing issues at 3-6 months of age.
If the introduction of solid foods in infants until after 6 months of exclusive breast-feeding was delayed, it revealed a reduced risk for atopic dermatitis and asthma during childhood.
What solid foods to include or avoid?
The choice of foods to add to the diet of the infant depends on various factors – nutrition, behavioral consideration, safety considerations and low potential for allergy.
Generally, the common food allergies are the types of foods that must be avoided by infants. In addition, allergy to vegetables and fruits can be a common issue in young children, particularly when introduced into the diet at an early age.
Proper timing of introducing solid foods
When it comes to children with a family history of allergies, the following should be avoided in the diet until the child reaches a certain age:
- Cow’s milk and dairy foods (12 months)
- Egg and egg-containing foods (24 months)
- Tree nuts and peanuts (36 months)
- Shellfish and fish (36 months)
On the other hand, based on the latest guidelines, it was stated that there is not enough information to delay the introduction of any food including those that have high allergenic potential beyond 4-6 months of age. Take note that withholding certain foods can result to poor nutritional intake, feeding issues and growth deficits. With this in mind, it is best to consult a doctor for advice on proper nutrition for the child.