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How to Introduce Allergy Foods to your Child:

Find out how to reduce the risk of allergic reactions.
By Expert Tips
Date: October 25 2021
Editor Rating:
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Weaning a child from milk to solids includes the introduction of foods that are associated with allergies in a small number of people. It’s recommended that infants should begin the transition at around six months of age and have a fully solid diet by the time they reach 12 months. Some babies might be ready to start a little earlier, but not before they’re four months old.

Research has shown that introducing allergy foods before the age of 12 months reduces the risk that they might develop a reaction or intolerance.

Typical allergy foods include:

  • Eggs

  • Cow’s milk

  • Wheat

  • Peanuts

  • Tree nuts, such as almonds and hazelnuts

  • Shellfish

The introduction of such foods should be age appropriate. This means starting with soft, easy to chew and swallow substances. 

The following is a 5-step guide to safely introducing allergy foods to your infant’s diet.

  1. Introduce foods one at a time. This makes it far easier to recognise any link between a certain food and any reaction that might develop

  2. Start small: You should only add a small amount of the new food into your baby’s diet. Remember that this introduction shouldn’t be commenced before the child reaches at least four months of age. For most children, the process is best started at around age six months. 

  3. Increase gradually: If no reaction occurs you can then increase the amount over the coming days.

  4. Build tolerance: Once introduced, it’s important to continue feeding the food so the body becomes accustomed to eating it regularly.

  5. Add more allergens: New allergy foods can be added on a daily basis. It’s important to ensure that, once introduced, that you continue to include them in your child’s diet on a regular basis.

Additional important considerations when introducing allergy foods

It’s good practice to introduce a new allergy food earlier in the day. That way it’s easier to monitor them for any reaction. Leaving it until later increases the likelihood that you’ll be asleep and not notice the development of any reaction, should it occur.

If you’re concerned about a particular allergy food, you can always dab a tiny amount on the inside of the child’s lip. If they have no reaction over the next few minutes, then you can feed a small amount mixed in their usual food.

Signs of an allergic reaction

While anaphylaxis is rare, there are other - more common - signs that your child might be intolerant to a particular food. These include:

  • The appearance of hives on the skin

  • Reddening or a rash on the body

  • A red rash around the mouth

  • Swelling of the lips, eyelids or anywhere on the face

  • Vomiting

If you notice any of these symptoms when introducing an allergy food, then you should stop feeding that food and seek advice from your healthcare provider.

Anaphylaxis is a rare severe allergic reaction that causes a dangerous drop in blood pressure and causes swelling of the airway. While rare, it’s important to know that this is a medical emergency and warrants an immediate call to 000 or visit to a hospital ED.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • Wheezing

  • Difficulty in breathing

  • Tongue swelling

  • Extensive facial swelling

  • Extensive skin rash

  • Collapse or going ‘floppy’

Children that are breastfed have been shown to have a lower risk of developing a food allergy.

Guidance as to how to safely introduce allergy foods to your infant have been drawn up by the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy and can be accessed at the Infant Feeding and Allergy Prevention Guidelines. (https://www.allergy.org.au/hp/papers/infant-feeding-and-allergy-prevention-clinical-update)

At Nido Early Schools every member of staff takes the utmost care over the foods that are given to your infants and children. An important induction element for every child includes an in-depth consultation with the chief caregiver to understand the foods that have been introduced, those that haven’t, and any noted reactions or allergies. 

Regular updates are also carried out to ensure that every child’s record is current.

This is just one of the strict levels of care that every Nido child benefits from. 
Discover more about Nido Early School and the passion that they have for providing a safe, stimulating, early learning environment at https://nido.edu.au/

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