Friday, June 17th, 2011
A study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine is reporting that the introduction of cow’s milk, hen’s egg, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and gluten to children before the age of six months is not associated with increased incidence of eczema or wheezing in either infancy or later childhood.
The study, researched in the Netherlands, followed 7,000 children from infancy to age 4 to see whether introducing allergenic foods correlated with heightened rates of eczema and wheezing. Those and other allergenic diseases are common in childhood, but the study found no increase in their occurrence among children who were presented with milk, eggs, soy, or the other allergens before age 6 months. The findings held true even after factoring in parental history of eczema and wheezing.
This goes against the medical conventional wisdom, which generally advises parents to delay solid foods until age 6 months to prevent food allergies and more general allergic conditions. The American Academy of Pediatrics, though, has recommendations more in line with the Dutch study:
Many pediatricians recommend against giving eggs and fish in the first year of life because of allergic reactions, but there is no evidence that introducing these nutrient-dense foods after 4 to 6 months of age determines whether your baby will be allergic to them. Give your baby one new food at a time, and wait at least 2 to 3 days before starting another. After each new food, watch for any allergic reactions such as diarrhea, rash, or vomiting. If any of these occur, stop using the new food and consult with your child’s doctor.
What do you think about introducing solid foods to infants? Did you delay, or do you plan to?
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