As a board-certified allergist, I’ve seen firsthand how food allergies can affect families. Currently, about 1 out of 13 children in the US has a food allergy, and food allergic reactions can be life-threatening.
Thankfully, findings from recent landmark studies have provided us with new insights into childhood food allergy prevention. These studies showed that introducing babies to allergenic foods early and frequently, starting as early as 4-11 months of age, can reduce their risk of developing common food allergies by up to 80%.
So, when my son David was 5 months old, I prepared a week’s worth of peanut, egg, and yogurt snacks every Sunday night (peanut, egg, and milk comprise 80% of all childhood food allergies). But, this was time-consuming and frustrating–most of what I offered my son to eat ended up either on his face or his bib.
To help other parents through these challenges, I was inspired to share 4 essential tips to help reduce your baby’s risk of developing a food allergy, based on these recent studies.
Pick the Right Time for Your Baby
All infants should be introduced to allergenic foods because all infants are at risk for developing allergies. But, picking the right time is key. Talk to your pediatrician before introducing your baby to allergens, especially if your child has severe eczema. Once you’re ready to start introducing, make sure that your baby is healthy. Also, pick a time when you (or another adult) can monitor your child for at least 2 hours in case of a reaction.
Make Sure to Start Early
It’s crucial for babies to be introduced to allergens as early as 4-11 months of age. After all, babies aren’t born with food allergies. Rather, at around 4-11 months of age, babies enter a critical window of time when their immune system starts to develop positive or negative responses to food proteins.
Don’t Stop at One Introduction–Sustaining is Also Important
Keep exposing your baby to allergens–frequent exposure is just as important as starting early. Feeding babies allergenic foods only once or twice has not been shown to reduce their risk of developing a food allergy. Instead, the landmark clinical studies exposed infants to allergenic foods multiples times a week for several months.
Slowly Build Up The Dosage
Start with a lower amount of each allergenic food, and then gradually increase the amount. This approach, known as “stepwise introduction,” is the safest way to introduce your baby to allergens as recommended by Pediatricians.
Early and sustained allergen introduction can be difficult and time-consuming. So, motivated by my clinical and personal experience, along with a team of passionate physicians, leading experts and parents, we set out to create a product that made it safe, simple, and effective.
After over a year of research and development, we’re proud to offer a gentle, guided system that:
- Helps reduce the risk of developing peanut, egg, and milk allergies by up to 80%
- Contains only organic, non-GMO peanut, egg, and milk with no artificial additives or added sugar.
- Easily dissolves into breastmilk, formula, or baby food, making allergen introduction easy, even if your baby is not developmentally ready for solid food.
- Slowly increases the allergen amount over time, so you can rest assured that your baby is consuming the right amounts of allergens.
- Is physician-approved: more than 200 pediatricians and allergists recommend Ready, Set, Food!
We’ve partnered with MommyCon to make allergen introduction even easier! Receive $15 off any Ready, Set, Food! subscription (promo code: MOMMYCON15) and give your child a head start towards an allergy-free future!
To learn more about Ready, Set, Food!, and take advantage of this exclusive offer, visit the website here.
About the Author:
Katie Marks-Cogan, M.D. is board certified in Allergy/Immunology and Internal Medicine and treats both pediatric and adult patients. She is the Chief Allergist for Ready, Set, Food!, and the mom of a 3-year-old and a 7-month-old. She also shared her tips on Childhood Food Allergy Prevention at the most recent MommyCon in San Diego.