Q: Can parents actually CREATE a food allergy by giving baby two new foods at a time, or not waiting long enough between introducing two new foods?
A: Parents do not create food allergies. That being said, some babies are at higher risk (severe eczema, family history and/or egg allergy) for developing food allergies. The advice on when to introduce highly allergenic foods like peanuts is for babies at risk, and more recent research shows early introduction is beneficial.
According to a report from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease expert panel, babies at high risk should be tested between 4-6 months, where a doctor can guide parents regarding introduction. Those at moderate risk (mild to moderate eczema) can introduce a safe form of peanuts around 6 months. And those at low risk can introduce peanuts “freely.”
Introducing two foods at once will not create a food allergy either. Because highly allergenic foods cause 90% of food allergies, watch carefully when first giving a highly allergenic food and try to expose baby to it at home. Highly allergenic foods include milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybean.
For more details and a step-by-step guide for feeding babies, check out Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters from High Chair to High School
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