Introducing Table Foods
Over the last few decades, the developed world has witnessed an explosion in food induced allergies. The only known way to reduce the risk of your child developing a food related allergy is to breast feed for at least the first four-six months of his/her life and delay the introduction of table foods for a similar amount of time. It is also recommended that cow’s milk is avoided until your baby’s first birthday. When choosing a formula, a hypoallergenic cow's milkbased formula will not reduce your baby’s overall risk of developing an allergy, but it is less likely than other formulas to be the cause of a reaction to milk.
As table foods are introduced, it is currently recommended that new foods be introduced not more frequently then every three to four days. Because eight foods/food groups are responsible for the vast majority of food allergies, it is wise to delay their introduction for as long as possible.
Then, be especially alert as you proceed. These eight foods/food groups include: milk, wheat, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, seafood, and fish. Strawberries, along with other berries, seeds, and corn can also be troublesome. Because rice cereal and root vegetables are uncommon causes of allergies, they are typically the first foods that should be introduced.
As you introduce grains into your baby’s diet, save wheat for last, as it carries the greatest risk. In regard to eggs, the yolks are relatively safe. On the other hand, egg whites contain a protein called albumin, which is highly allergenic. Wheat, milk, and egg allergies tend to resolve as your child gets older. Unfortunately, shellfish, fish, and peanut allergies tend to be lifelong problems.
Desensitization techniques are being tested at leading universities around the country and are demonstrating great promise. If you child has or develops an allergy, there is every reason to believe that excellent treatment will soon be available.