Early vs. Delayed Food Introduction

Which Is Better for Allergies?

Feeding Baby Breakfast

As the diagnosis of food allergies in children has increased, so has the worry of many parents that their child may develop life-threatening food allergies.

In an effort to prevent their children from developing severe food allergies, many families opt to delay the introduction of solid foods. However, is that always the best idea?

The Case for Delayed Introduction

For families that worry their children may develop food allergies, especially those with older children who already have allergies, or children who have asthma or display other allergic symptoms such as atopic dermatitis, the decision to delay introduction seems logical.

After all, a child is more likely to be able to tolerate a potential allergen the more developed and mature their system is, right?

Not necessarily.

In fact, there is some evidence that families who delay the introduction of solid foods may actually have a higher instance of food allergies among young children.

Early Food Introduction

However, that doesn’t mean that families should just start feeding their babies all sorts of food with no regard. 

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology recommends starting children on solid foods at between 4 and 6 months old. This food introduction should begin with giving the child single foods at any given meal, starting with less allergic foods.

Some early foods to consider starting your child on include:

  • Apples

  • Pears

  • Bananas

  • Green vegetables

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Squash

  • Carrots

  • Rice or oat cereal

Introduce these foods one at a time, so if you elect to start with sweet potatoes, only feed your child sweet potatoes at that first meal. Watch carefully for signs of intolerance, including wheezing, hives, sneezing, coughing, or vomiting. 

Once you know your child does not show a reaction to a certain food, introduce another at another meal 3 to 5 days later. Continue to progress through the less allergic foods until you reach the foods that are more likely to cause problems, such as peanuts, tree nuts, cow milk, egg, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish.

If you plan to introduce a potential allergen to your child, be sure that allergen is the only thing your child eats so you can more easily pinpoint what caused a reaction.

In the event that you notice a reaction, consult an allergist for testing.

Allergy Doctors in Mississippi

At Mississippi Asthma & Allergy Clinic, all our doctors work hard to get families answers when it comes to allergies in young children. We work with you to do the appropriate diagnostic testing and develop individualized allergy management plans that you can share with your child’s schools and caregivers to keep them safe. Schedule an appointment at one of our five locations today!