The world of nutrition is always changing as are guidelines. You may have seen in the news earlier this year that there had been some major updates to the Canadian Pediatric allergen guidelines. This might shift your perspective on introducing new foods. Currently Health Canada suggests introducing solids at around 6 months. Some parents will hear 4-6 months depending on their health care providers advise or their child’s growth and development. In general, a variety of different foods and different textures should be offered at 6 months, including common allergens for both low and high risk infants.
Common allergens are the only type of foods that should be introduced one at a tim. This means offer one common allergen then waiting 48 hours before introducing another common allergen food. If there is a reaction, it would likely have appeared within 48 hours.
Some signs of an allergic reaction include, diarrhea, rash, vomiting or breathing problems. Stop feeding your baby if you think they are experiencing any of these symptoms. If your baby has difficulty breathing call 911 immediately, otherwise speak with your health care provider.
What are common allergen foods?
- Eggs (watch for eggs in products like pastas)
- Milk (cheese, yogurt)
- Peanuts (peanut butter)
- Seafood (fish and shellfish)
- Sesame (tahini)
- Soy (tofu or soy based products)
- Tree Nuts (almond butter)
- Wheat (bread, cereal, etc.)
What do the new guidelines suggest if my baby is high risk?
High risk babies are classified as a baby with a history of eczema or parents or siblings with allergies.
Interestingly, research has suggested that introducing high-risk infants to common allergen foods between 4-6 months can help reduce their risk of developing a food allergy. Research has signified that allergies develop through the skin and early introduction to common allergens may actually be preventative. This has been a major change to the guidelines, where high risk babies were often suggested to wait until closer to a year before introducing.
Once baby is introduced to a common allergen, the parent should continue to offer the common allergen as part of the baby’s regular diet to help build tolerance (at least once each week).
Angela Wallace is a registered dietitian, nutritionist, family food expert, certified personal trainer and is a valued member of the Lifetime of Love Doula team. She specializes in women’s health, with a focus on weight loss and digestive conditions. She uses a ‘non-dieting approach’ with her ultimate goals being to help people create healthy routines that work for them and create a healthy relationship with food. Be sure to follow Angela on Instagram for amazing health tips and recipes!