How to Prevent Allergies in Children

Families that have food allergies need to be especially cautious with what they feed babies and toddlers

If you have food allergies in your family, you will want to be especially careful with what you feed your young child. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), if one or both parents are allergic to a certain food or have a peanut allergy, children are more likely to develop an allergy as well. Even if one or both parents have allergic rhinitis, asthma or atopic dermatitis, there is a greater chance of their child developing a food allergy.

Breastmilk strengthens a baby's immune system

Most pediatricians recommend that babies should be breastfed for their first year of life whenever possible. Many mothers pump their breast milk if they have to be away at work during the day. If breastfeeding is not possible, you will want to talk to your child's doctor. She may recommend a soy-free formula or one that is lactose-free since many children can be allergic to milk.

Breastfeeding mothers may want to avoid peanuts, fish, eggs, milk, and tree nuts

Some doctors tell their patients who are breastfeeding to avoid eating the foods that children commonly develop food allergies to. These are peanuts, fish, eggs, milk, and tree nuts. Research studies have been conflicting over the years, and for some time pregnant mothers were told not to eat peanuts or foods that cause food allergies. The belief was that the developing fetus would have a higher chance of developing food allergies if the mother ate these foods. Later research has shown that mothers who eat peanuts do not have children with more peanut allergies. Because the results are conflicting, you may want to follow your own doctor's recommendations.

Babies should not be fed wheat, cow's milk or other dairy products until they are one year old

Many parents begin to feed babies yogurt, bread, and eggs between 6 and 12 months of age. If you want to avoid allergies in your child, it is best to stick with feeding him fruits, vegetables, rice cereal, and meat. Wheat, cow's milk and dairy products should be avoided until the baby is around 1 year old. Many doctors recommend that you do not feed a baby egg whites until age two. If peanut allergies run in your family, it is often suggested that you wait until your child is three years old before trying peanut butter. Delaying foods that cause food allergies until a child is older has not been shown to reduce allergies in children, according to AAAAI.

Waiting until age 3 to feed peanut butter means that your child can tell you if he feels strange

Parents know that it is not always possible to get an accurate answer from a child who is under three years of age. This is one of the main reasons why some allergists suggest waiting until your child is three years old to feed him peanut butter. Then, if his mouth feels tingly or if his stomach hurts, he has the maturity and language development to tell you about these problems. Of course, if there is a more serious reaction to eating peanut butter like anaphylaxis, age is not really a factor. Many allergiests tell patients with peanut allergies in the family that their child should be tested before eating this food to avoid serious allergic reactions.

Babies do not need solid food until they are 6 months old

Many parents begin feeding cereal to very young infants, but most doctors recommend that a baby not eat solid foods until she is six months of age. There is less chance of food allergies developing if you wait until this time of your child's life. At six months, you can begin to feed your baby cereals such s oatmeal, rice, or barley. Do not feed any wheat cereal until the baby is older. Next, doctors recommend feeding vegetables because they are not usually as sweet as fruits. Fruits should be next, after baby has developed a taste for common vegetable baby foods. Citris juice and fruits should be avoided, and meat can be started around nine months of age.

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