CAN I AVOID ALLERGIES?
Q:I’M WORRIED ABOUT ALLERGIES. ARE THERE ANY FOOD TYPES TO AVOID IN THE FIRST YEAR OR SO?
A:Let’s have a look at some of the facts around allergies and food: It was previously recommended to delay the introduction of common allergens (in Western societies) because it was thought to be protective against allergies. But we have actually seen an increase in allergies developing with this practice.
In developing countries babies are exposed to common allergens (e.g. peanuts, fish and eggs) from an early age and the allergy rate in these countries still remains low.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that there is no significant advantage or reduction in the development of food allergies if solids are introduced later than 6 months.
Research is now telling us that including food allergens from early on (as early as 4 months) may actually protect our little ones against allergies. Therefore there is no reason to avoid giving your baby these foods as they are nutritious and some are a great source of iron. Avoiding or waiting to give these foods will not prevent allergies.
Food allergies can be a concern. If you are anxious about food allergies, if there is a strong family history of allergies and if your little one is showing signs of allergies (e.g. eczema), it would be a good idea to make an appointment to see a dietician and allergy specialist at around 4-5 months.