Avoiding Food Allergies

It's no fun having a child with food allergies. In addition to the fear of serious, life-threatening reactions, it can be a struggle to simply know what is safe to feed her. Complicating matters is the fact that many foods that children commonly are allergic to, such as milk, eggs, soy, and wheat, can be “hidden” ingredients in many other foods.

Many foods that commonly cause allergies can pass into breastmilk, so your baby might develop a milk or peanut allergy and have allergy symptoms even though he has never eaten those foods directly. Eliminating foods your infant is allergic to from a breastfeeding mother's diet, and then later in her own diet, can help to avoid further symptoms.

To avoid food allergies, some parents delay giving certain foods that kids commonly are allergic to, such as peanut butter, cow's milk, and eggs. While those foods should usually be avoided during your baby's first year anyway, after that, it may not be necessary to avoid them if your baby doesn't have any risk factors for food allergies. Still, as long as your toddler has a well-balanced diet, delaying some foods isn't going to hurt her and it might be a good idea if you are really worried about food allergies.

If your baby does have risk factors for food allergies, such as having formula allergies, other types of allergic disorders like eczema or asthma, or has a family member with food allergies or other allergic disorders, you may be able to reduce her chance of developing a food allergy by making sure she:

  • Breastfeeds exclusively for at least six months

  • Continues to breastfeed until she is at least twelve months old

  • Drinks a hypoallergenic formula if she is being supplemented or isn't breastfeeding

  • Doesn't begin solid foods until six months

  • Doesn't eat or drink any dairy products until she is twelve months old

  • Doesn't eat eggs until she is two years old

  • Doesn't eat peanuts or peanut butter, nuts, or fish until she is three years old

  • You can reduce your baby's risk even more if the mother doesn't eat nuts while breastfeeding. The need to eliminate other foods, such as cow's milk, eggs, and fish from a nursing mother's diet, is more controversial.

    1. Home
    2. Father's First Year
    3. Infant Nutrition
    4. Avoiding Food Allergies
    Visit other About.com sites: