The United States Department of Agriculture has introduced new guidelines for infants and children under 2. One of the most important tips is the early introduction to food allergens in infants starting at four months. Parents are recommended to feed peanut and egg in an age-appropriate form to their child.
What are the most common food allergens?
In the United States and Canada, the most common food allergens are peanuts and tree nuts, eggs, cow’s milk, fish and shellfish, soy and wheat. These food allergens impact a child’s early nutrition and demand utmost care on the part of parents. The early introduction to these food allergens particularly peanuts and eggs can help prevent food allergies. Hence, your child may get a healthier start if you introduce peanut and egg under USDA guidelines.
How can parents introduce food allergens to their child?
Parents have many great ways to introduce the food allergens safely in non-choking form for babies. They may introduce pureed foods, smooth nut butters diluted with formula or breast milk, or ground nuts mixed in purees. It is highly important that these allergens be introduced orally, meaning thereby that your child actually eats them. Rubbing these allergens to lips or skin to check for an allergic reaction does not do any good. There may develop some irritation that parents might misinterpret for some food allergy. Moreover, parents should introduce these allergens one at a time and always in an age-appropriate way for their child. They should wait and gauge allergic reactions, if any, within a couple of hours after the serving of meal. If the baby does not show any reaction, parents should keep on serving their child with these allergens regularly between the other foods.
How should parents introduce peanut and egg to their infant?
Introducing peanuts and eggs to your infant as early as 4 to 6 months of age may reduce the risk of food allergy to many allergens afterwards. Parents should offer peanuts and eggs to their child thrice a week regularly if he/she shows no reaction to them. However, they must keep in mind all the time the following safety tips.
- Never give whole peanuts or even chunky peanut butter to your infant as they may prove a serious choking hazard. So, better mix peanuts in warm water to make a puree that can be easily ingested. You may also opt to feed peanut in powder form dissolved in warm water.
- Introduce an egg in a very fine scrambled form for an easy ingestion. You may serve it on spoon or mixed into the baby cereal.
- When serving peanut puree or eggs for the first time, wait for 10 minutes after the first baby spoon to see if he/she shows any allergic reaction. Keep an eye on the baby for two hours after the first-time serving.
- In case your child develops a rash or hives, he/she is having an allergic reaction. You should call your doctor immediately and follow his advice.
- If your child clears the peanut or egg test, include these two in his/her regular diet plan for better health.