The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) has released new recommendations for reducing allergy risk in infants. According to the ACAAI, when possible, new moms should breastfeed exclusively for six months to help protect their babies against developing food allergies. During this time, solid foods of all types should be avoided. In their statement, the ACAAI also put forth numerous suggestions for the introduction of top allergens (such as milk and eggs) in addition to staple foods. Their committee recommendations include the following…
For infants who may evidence of an increased risk for food allergies:
- Cow’s milk and other dairy products should be avoided for the first year of life
- Eggs should be avoided until at least age two
- Peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and other seafood should be avoided until at least age three
Although these are the most common allergen triggers, there are several other foods, which may pose a risk if introduced to early. Therefore the ACAAI contributed the following additional recommendations for “staple foods”:
- After 6 months of breastfeeding exclusively, solid foods such as fruits, vegetables, meats, soy, and cereal be introduced “individually and gradually” to lessen allergy risk.
- Mixed foods containing a variety of potentially allergenic foods should be avoided until the baby’s tolerance to each ingredient is known.
- Beef, vegetables, and fruits should initially be given in the form of prepared baby foods that are cooked and homogenized. According to the studies they reviewed these “processed foods” may be less likely to cause allergies than the fresh varieties.
- Although wheat and cereals should be introduced gradually, there are no specific guidelines for their introduction after 6 months of age. The ACAAI felt that the clinical evidence did not support wheat as a highly allergenic food for infants.
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