Did you know that every baby is at risk for food allergies?
New research shows that every baby is at risk for food allergies regardless of family history — in fact, over 50% of children with food allergies have no family history. In addition, 1 in 13 children suffer from a food allergy today, and the rate of peanut allergies has tripled over recent years.
The idea of your baby developing a food allergy can be really scary, especially because of how dangerous they can be. Parents with a food allergic child can attest to the daily stress and challenges that come with a food allergy. Thankfully, findings from recent landmark studies on food allergy prevention have changed the way we view food allergies in children away from a place of fear and toward a focus on prevention. These studies show that a baby’s risk of developing food allergies can be reduced by up to 80% through early and frequent exposure to allergenic foods, starting as early as 4-11 months.
This new research on food allergy prevention is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming for parents of infants to know exactly how to follow guideline recommendations. Having a sitter introduce allergens to your baby can also be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Read on to learn about our tips for making early allergen introduction easy for both parents and sitters!
The Basics of Early Allergen Introduction
- Starting Early: Introduce allergenic foods as early as 4-11 months.
- Introducing One Food at a Time: Following pediatric guidelines, only introduce allergenic foods one at a time every few days to determine how your baby is reacting to each new food you introduce.
- Sustaining Exposure: In the clinical trials, infants were continually exposed to allergenic foods 2-7 times a week for at least 3-6 months. Participants who continued exposure were able to maximize their chance of reducing the risk of developing food allergies.
- Managing Dosage: The PETIT study suggested that a stepwise dosing method is best to maximize safety and efficacy. This means starting with a small amount of allergenic food, and then gradually increasing that amount over time.
Yikes. The basics of early allergen introduction don’t seem so basic after all. Once you add in the challenge of feeding a baby new foods and different feeding routines for every baby into the mix–whew! To help make this process as easy and seamless as possible for busy families and their sitters, Ready, Set, Food! has compiled a cheat sheet of tips on early.