It is indeed a fun and an exciting milestone when starting your baby on solids and introducing new foods to your baby or toddler, however there are some common allergies that you should pay attention to especially if you have a family history of allergies, problems like eczema and asthma, or if a baby had a bad reaction to milk or soy.
The followings are the most common food allergies:
- Tree nuts (such as walnuts and almonds)
Some foods may more likely to cause an allergic reaction than others. And amongst these eight foods, those that commonly affect children under 4 years old are milk, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts.
Back in the day, doctors recommended to prolong the delays in introducing certain foods to babies who might have an allergy. However, recent research has shown that delaying the introduction of food allergens may increase the risk of developing serious food allergies. But, do talk to your pediatrician prior to introducing solids!
For your baby who might be at risk for food allergies, it is crucial to introduce foods one at a time. It is highly recommend introducing a new food for three days before jumping on to a new food so you can monitor for any delayed allergy reactions to the food. Although you can find single-ingredient jarred foods in the market, but there is no guarantee that the food has not been cross-contaminated in the manufacturing factory. Hence, the safest way to introduce new foods to your baby is to make your own purees so you can have full control over the production and know exactly what is in the food.
As your baby grows older and their diet expands, it is easy to lose track of which foods you have introduced and which foods caused a reaction. Remember to keep a list of foods you have introduced and note down any reactions observed. If you think certain food has caused fussiness, digestive symptoms, or eczema, stop feeding the food for 4-6 weeks before you introduce it again.
Below are the list of foods you should delay until your baby has reached 12 months:
- Cow’s milk – feeding your baby cow’s milk can cause nutritional deficiencies. After your baby’s first birthday, you can feed them cow’s milk as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
- Honey – as it may contain botulism spores, and your baby’s stomach is not acidic enough to dissolve the spores.
- Nuts or peanuts – a choking hazard for babies and toddlers. If there is a family history of severe nut or peanut allergy, do let your pediatrician know about conducting an oral food challenge in the doctor’s office before introducing peanut or nut butter.
- Other choking hazards – popcorns, whole grapes, cheese cubes, hotdog pieces, chunks of uncooked vegetables or fruits, or sticky foods such as peanut butter.
The best way to start introducing food safely is to talk to your baby’s pediatrician as they can take into account your baby’s medical history, providing you the most recent feeding guidelines, and give you personalized advice about introducing solids to your baby.