Update: Why is the Advice on Food Allergies so Confusing?
Mason’s been eating solids for about five months now and at 10-months-old he’s just starting, somewhat grudgingly, to get into finger foods. He’s also at the point where he can try lots of new things, however, I find the expert studies on when to introduce allergenic foods such as peanuts and fish to babies to be totally confusing.
And there’s lots out there to be confused about. For starters, nearly 6 million children (1 out of every 13 kids) has a food allergy, according to a new study. That’s more kids with food allergies than ever before–and experts aren’t exactly sure why. I’m gluten intolerant so I worry about my son inheriting an intolerance as well. And did I mention we both have eczema–another risk factor for developing food allergies?
Then there’s the study that came out last week. Despite the rise in food allergies, Holly Lebowitz Rossi reported last Friday that the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine asserts that there’s less reason to worry about highly allergenic food such as cow’s milk, hen’s egg, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and gluten. According to the report, feeding this stuff to your child before the age of six months is not associated with increased incidence of eczema or wheezing in either infancy or later childhood.
With all of these studies and different experts weighing in, how are moms supposed to know what to do? For answers I called my pediatrician, who is based in New York City’s Gramercy Park neighborhood. “The new data is all over the map,” he agreed. “But the important takeaway is to just try little bits of the more allergenic foods, like peanuts and fish, at a time. That way you won’t be faced with a giant problem if there’s a reaction.”
Makes good sense. I’m a worrywart but I’m just going to have to dive in and follow my gut as well as Mason’s lead. What about you? Do you think the studies are confusing? How do you decide when to start your babe on more allergenic foods?
*Photo from allezpancakecafe.wordpress.com