When To Introduce Allergens

when to introduce food allergy

When To Introduce Allergens

Introducing allergens to a baby is scary whether you are a first time or seasoned parent. If you have food allergies yourself, you may be extra nervous about introducing them to your baby. Luckily, there is some new guidance from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to help you determine your baby’s risk for developing a food allergy. Guidelines 1, 2 and 3 below will help you determine which category of risk your baby falls into. For children with none of the above identified risk factors, the top 9 allergens should be introduced around 6 months when solid foods are started.

Tips for introducing baby food allergens

There are several things that can set you up for success when introducing allergenic foods to your baby.

    1. Introduce allergenic foods when your baby is feeling well (no illness or fever present) you don’t want to question if your baby is having a reaction to an allergenic food or if it was due to whatever they were already fighting off. 
    2. Offer one allergenic food at a time so you can identify if a reaction occurs. You don’t have to wait several days, but it’s ideal to wait at least until the next meal or the next day to introduce a new allergen. Most true allergies create a reaction within minutes to hours.
    3. Set aside at least 2 hours after the first taste to watch your baby for a reaction. Make sure you or another family member can give full attention to your baby.
    4. Wait 10 minutes between the first and second taste. If your baby does not have any reaction after 10 minutes, may give more.

Safety when introducing allergens to baby

When you give your baby any of the 9 baby food allergens for the first time, you’ll watch out for any signs of an allergic reaction.
Common signs include redness or hives on the skin or face, tummy upset, vomiting, or diarrhea. Talk to your child’s healthcare provider right away if a reaction occurs. If a severe allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing or loss of consciousness occurs, dial 911 immediately and seek medical attention.

What are the new recommendations for introducing peanut to baby

The new guidelines recommend that before 11 months of age, all infants should start eating age-appropriate peanut-containing foods. The ideal age is closer to six months. 

Guidelines for introducing peanuts depend of baby’s risk of peanut allergy

    1. Severe eczema, egg allergy or both: This group is at higher risk to develop peanut allergy and benefits the most from early introduction. An allergist should evaluate peanut senistization (by skin test or blood IgE test) before introduction of peanuts. If negative, peanut should be introduced regularly in baby’s diet. If positive, the allergist will determine next steps. 
    2. Mild to moderate eczema: These infant do not need any testing and should be introduced to age-appropriate peanut containing foods as early as 4 to 6 months of age. Some allergist may desire an in-office supervided feeding. 
    3. No h/o of food allergy: These infants do not need any testing and can be introduced to age0appropriate peanut-containing foods at home. 

Peanut Recipe for babies

Option 1: Peanut butter puree
You will need:
• 2tsp. smooth, all natural peanut butter (with no added ingredients)
• 2-3 tbso. Of plain yogurt pureed (smooth) fruit or vegetable that your baby likes

1. Mix peanut butter and yogurt or fruit vegetable puree. Add more water if you want to the puree to be thinner.

Option 2: Peanut butter powder sauce
You will need:
• 2tsp. powdered peanut butter or peanut flour
• 2-3 tbsp. of warm water, oatmeal, applesauce or mashed banana

1. Mix peanut butter or peanut flour with the warm, oatmeal, applesauce or banana.
2. Let the mixture cool.
3. Add more water if you want the mixture to be thinner.

Option 3: Bamba peanut butter puffs
You will need:
• 21 Bamba peanut butter puffs
• For babies aged 7 months and under, soften puffs in 4-6 tbsp. of water. Feed your baby one puff at a time.
• For babies older than 7 months or who can eat dissolvable solids, feed one puff one at a time as normal.

How to introduce tree nuts to baby

Introducing tree nuts to baby is very similar to introducing peanut protein. In fact, you can follow almost all of the same ideas but instead of using creamy peanut butter, you can use creamy almond or cashew butter. You can find both in most grocery stores. 

If you can’t find a tree nut you want to try out in creamy nut butter form, you can turn most nuts into a powder using a food processor, make sure it is a fine powder so it can dissolve well into food you mix it into.

Tree nuts to try out with your baby

Often these in creamy nut butter or powder form mixed into other foods, do not give your baby whole nuts or nut pieces which can be a choking hazard.

  • Almond butter
  • Cashew butter
  • Hazelnut butter (don’t use Nutella)
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios