Infants that are ready for food sooner can begin as young as four weeks of age, but not earlier.
The recommendations follow a current change in global thinking on when to present potential allergens, the most frequent of which are cow’s milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy.
Infants are considered at high risk if they have a history of eczema or even a sibling or parent with allergies.
The society advises doctors to provide potential allergens one at a time to evaluate reaction. When the foods are taken well, offer them a few times a week to maintain tolerance. When there’s an adverse reaction, consult a doctor concerning future actions.
The society directed to emerging signs that offering allergenic solids before six months might help prevent the development of an allergy in high-risk babies, especially to egg and peanut.
This was in contrast to the society’s information in 2013 when it urged six months of exclusive breastfeeding for babies at high risk for food allergy.
The new guidelines note, Health Canada still recommends breastfeeding exclusively for six months.
However, infants a few weeks younger may try solids if they are ready.
“We now know that, in high-risk kids, allergenic foods should be introduced at an early age,” Dr Elissa Abrams, chair of the CPS Allergy Section and also a pediatric immunologist with the University of Manitoba, said Thursday in a release.
“For families with a history of allergies, these recommendations give them guidance on what they can do to help prevent the condition in their children.”
Infants that are not regarded as high risk should begin trying foods in about six months old.
For young babies new to solids, the culture recommends diluting smooth peanut butter with water or mixing it with a previously tolerated pureed fruit or vegetable, or breast milk.
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