Whilst recent research suggests that it is important to introduce your baby to common allergens early to build up their immune tolerance, this needs to be done in a controlled way, one allergen at a time so that you can monitor your baby for allergic reactions. Allergic reaction symptoms may include colic, eczema, skin irritation, vomiting and/or reflux. Common allergens include fish, seafood, milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, other nuts and soy products. Try these tips:
- When choosing baby foods, look for products which have been rigorously tested for allergens to ensure that your baby is only exposed to allergens in a safe and controlled environment;
- Allow your bub to suck a pea—sized amount of an allergen-based food i.e. peanut paste from a spoon or your finger. Many parents opt to serve peanut paste to their little one for the first time close by to a children’s hospital so that they don’t have far to travel if their baby experiences an anaphylactic reaction;
- Low sugar custards are a great way to expose your toddler to both milk and eggs before they are ready for finger foods such as frittata;
- Ensure that fish and seafood are well cooked to reduce listeria risk. You may like to start with a liquid fish oil supplement added to your baby’s puree until they are ready to try fish or seafood.
- If you suspect your baby has a food allergy, make an appointment with your pediatrician, who can refer you onto an Allergy or Immunology Medical Specialist.