There are certain foods to avoid feeding your child in the early years to minimize the incidence of allergies. For starters, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you only feed your baby breast milk or formula for the first four to six months.
The foods to avoid for a minimum of one year include:
- Honey – Honey may contain spores called Clostridium botulinum (botulism) that can be life threatening to a baby.
- Egg whites – The fat in egg yolks is terrific for optimal growth and development in your baby. However, the protein rich egg white may cause an allergic reaction.
- Dairy – The protein in cow’s milk (specifically the protein called casein), is very difficult for a child’s immature digestive system to break down. Cow’s milk also does not contain all the nutrients your infant needs and contains traces of mineral in amounts that can damage a baby’s kidneys. While breast milk is best, if not breast feeding, stick to formula. Formula that is labeled “hydrolyzed” is easier for a baby’s digestive system to break down and absorb.
- Peanut butter – peanut butter can be highly allergenic. If you or your spouse has an allergic reaction to peanuts, wait until your child is 3 years old before introducing peanut butter and jam.
- Wheat – Although most babies can digest wheat fairly well (i.e. in cereal), if you are concerned about an allergic response, it is best to wait until after one year to introduce.
- Tree nuts – walnuts and pecans
- Soy – A large number of infants who show a sensitivity to dairy products may also have a reaction to soy (i.e. soy formula).
Infants who have a parent or sibling with food allergies are at risk for developing food allergies. If you have a strong history of allergies in the family, additional foods that can trigger an allergic response are corn and chocolate.
Signs of an allergic reaction may include: diarrhea, vomiting, skin rash, hives, swollen lips, tongue or face. Signs of a severe allergic reaction include gasping and difficulty breathing, and require immediate medical care.
Reprinted with permission from Sweetpea Baby Food www.sweetpeababyfood.com