Introducing Babies to Solids Early Reduces Food Allergies, Study Finds
As parents, our babies' nutrition is one of our top priorities but food allergies can be a major concern for many.
Now a study has found that mothers who are most worried about allergies tend to exclusively breastfeed their babies longer – until they're about 10 months old. But that actually raises the risk of reactions, according to a new study from the Children's National Health System in San Francisco
"Gradually transitioning to solids gives infants an opportunity to sample an array of foods, nibble by nibble, including food allergens like peanuts and eggs," says Dr. Karen Robbins, the study's lead author.
The findings echo other studies that show early exposure to “trigger” foods in early baby food can help build a child’s resilience.
Food Allergy Versus Food Intolerance
It’s not uncommon for little ones to have bad reactions once they start eating solids. But experts say only about 6% of babies have true food allergies.
“This means that when an infant is exposed to a particular food, her immune system overreacts, producing allergy antibodies that recognize the food,” according to Kaitlin Bell of Parents magazine.
About 15% of babies experience some sort of food intolerance. "All that means is that his digestive system isn't able to comfortably handle it," says pediatrician Gwenn Schurgin O'Keeffe.
An upset tummy, rash, vomiting, and lack of weight gain may be signs that your baby has a food intolerance or possibly an allergy.
Most Common Triggers
The most likely triggers for babies include cow's milk, eggs, nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish, which can even cause bad reactions after drinking breastmilk when mom has eaten these foods.
Other culprits include gluten -- the protein in wheat, rye, and barley -- and in rare cases, fructose (fruit sugar) and sucrose (table sugar).
21 Days to Solids
Little Foodie Club’s 21 Days to Solids plan takes the stress and worry out of starting your baby on solid foods. Based on science, our all-natural purees satisfy all of your baby's nutritional needs while helping develop resilience and an adventurous palate.
"Without Little Foodie Club, there is no way my daughter would have tried 21 different foods in one month," says mom Felecia Pelletier.
If your baby shows signs of tummy aches or is fussy after meals, talk to your pediatrician to find out if your baby has an intolerance or possibly an allergy.