Nutrition News: Feeding Your Baby
There's new research suggesting early introduction of common allergy foods to babies around 6 months of age can reduce the risk of developing food allergies. That advice is now part of the recently released 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. It's especially important with peanuts and eggs.
The study was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and highlights positive food allergy results and barriers to dietary adherence.
A total of 1,303 3-month-old infants were recruited from the general population in England and Wales and placed in one of two groups. The "early introduction group," or EIG, was introduced to six allergenic foods from 3 months of age alongside breastfeeding. The "standard introduction group," or SIG, exclusively breastfed for six months.
Children with sensitization to one or more of the six allergenic foods at enrollment who were part of the EIG developed less food allergies (by 19.2%) than children with food sensitization at enrollment who were not introduced to foods early (34.2%).
The research also finds that babies with severe eczema and/or existing egg allergies may benefit from starting peanut foods as early as 4 to 6 months, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease's addendum guidelines.
If you have a 6-month-old, the guidelines suggest starting early in the day and monitoring the baby for about two hours after feeding. It's best to start with a little taste on the end of a spoon and wait 10 minutes before feeding more.
The Dietary Guidelines also offer good advice for how to get started with your little one. They recommend modifying the texture to make it palatable and easy for the baby to eat. For instance, blend 2 teaspoons of creamy peanut butter with warm water, breastmilk or formula, or stir 2 teaspoons of powdered peanut butter into applesauce. Eggs can be scrambled. Shrimp and fish can be pureed to avoid being a choking hazard.
The idea is to reduce the likelihood of food allergies by early introduction of small amounts. Research shows the potential benefit of your baby being allergy-free by doing this.
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