Navigating the information on children's food allergies can be daunting for young or first-time parents. Well now there are some new and more specific recommendations to consider, but they may just add to the confusion.
According to the Mar. 5, Wall Street Journal, a recently published article by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology suggests introducing “highly allergenic foods such as peanut butter, fish and eggs” to babies between 4 and 6 months. Early introduction of these types of foods “may even play a role in preventing food allergies from developing,” the report says.
The article states that food allergies affect an estimated 5% of children under the age of 5 in the U.S., that there was an 18% increase in prevalence of a food allergy for children under 18 from 1997 to 2007, and that food allergies in children is “a rising phenomenon that researchers don't fully understand.”
The AAAAI recommendations are a 180 degree turn-about from the guidelines published in 2000 by the American Academy of Pediatrics that said “children should put off having milk until age 1, eggs until 2 and peanuts, shellfish, tree nuts and fish until 3.2000.”
If that isn’t confusing enough, Robert Wood, director of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine tells parent they don't need to feel pressured to do an early introduction.
"You can do whatever you want because we're not sure what makes a difference," he told the WSJ.
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