In a recent KidsDr.com website article, Pediatrician, Sue Hubbard, writes about Food Myths & Your Baby. Dr. Hubbard emphasizes the need to introduce a variety of foods to children when they start eating solid foods. The myths relate to a nonexistent forbidden foods list parents should avoid in order to prevent their child from having an allergic reaction.
New recommendations, from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), support Dr. Hubbard's encouragement of including foods such as wheat, milk, eggs, fruits, nuts and shellfish in your child's diet.
In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued guidelines that suggested children should put off having milk until age 1, eggs until age 2 and peanuts, shellfish and nuts until age 3. However, in 2008 the AAP revised those guidelines citing little evidence that delays prevented the development of food allergies. It didn't say when and how to introduce such foods though.
The AAAAI's recommendations address those concerns by suggesting foods that are considered highly allergic be slowly introduced in small amounts- after first foods such as cereals, fruits and vegetables have been eaten and tolerated. Babies can be introduced to the more allergic type foods as long as they are prepared correctly. Foods should be mushy and easy for an infant to eat or in the case of eggs and fruits cut into very small pieces.
"There's been more studies that find that if you introduce them early it may actually prevent food allergy," said David Fleischer, co-author of the article and a pediatric allergist at National Jewish Health in Denver. "We need to get the message out now to pediatricians, primary-care physicians and specialists that these allergenic foods can be introduced early."
The theory behind introducing foods, that are considered the most likely to cause an allergic reaction, early and in small doses is that children may actu