Overwhelmed by all the new research on infant food allergy prevention? Parents have a lot of questions about how to follow the new guidelines and lower their child’s risk of developing a food allergy. That’s why we put together this up-to-date guide on the latest research and how families can safely and effectively follow the AAP’s new guidelines on food allergy prevention.
WHY FOOD ALLERGY PREVENTION MATTERS
The rise of food allergies is troubling. 1 in 13 children will suffer from a food allergy. Some food allergies are merely an inconvenience to the family, others can be life-threatening.
WHAT THE LATEST FOOD ALLERGY RESEARCH TELLS US
Three groundbreaking clinical trials on infant food allergy prevention show that introducing certain allergenic foods to infants early and often can significantly lower their chances of developing a food allergy. Because of these landmark studies, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) issued new recommendations supporting the early introduction of allergenic foods such as peanut allergies for infants.
5 ways PARENTS CAN BE PROACTIVE ABOUT FOOD ALLERGIES
- Consult your pediatrician first. A discussion with your pediatrician should be your first action. They may want to do an allergy screening is necessary before introducing allergenic foods.
- Start early, as early as 4+ months old. Studies show that there is critical window for early allergen introduction, starting at 4 months of age. Although it is important to not delay, most infants (up to 11 months of age) will still see a benefit in food allergy prevention with introducing allergenic foods.
- Only introduce when it’s best for baby. Choose a time to introduce allergenic foods only when: a) baby is healthy and b) a parent or caregiver can monitor for signs of an allergic reaction for at least 2 hours.
- Introduce peanut, egg, and milk. Combined, peanut, egg, and milk represent more than 80% of childhood food allergies. More importantly, these were the allergenic foods that were shown to have a significant reduction in food allergy development in the landmark studies.
- Sustain exposure for several months. Studies show that introducing these allergenic foods early AND often is key to lowering your child’s risk of developing a food allergy. In fact, the studies exposed infants to allergenic foods 2-7 times/week for 3-6+ months.
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