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How to Introduce Food to Your Baby

Transitioning your infant from breast milk or formula to solid foods is a big step. In the past, some people thought it was good to avoid exposing young babies to potential allergens (think peanut butter and other nut butters, eggs, cheese, dairy products, soy, and shellfish). But recent research suggests that introducing these foods into your infant’s diet earlier on may actually help prevent food allergies from developing.

About 5 percent of children and 4 percent of adults have at least one food allergy. When you have one, your body’s immune system reacts abnormally to the food, sometimes in a life-threatening way.

If your infant is between ages 4 and 6 months, introduce new foods at home, where you can pay closer attention to how he or she reacts. Introduce only one new food at a time, and wait three to five days before trying another one.

Finally, be sure to talk with your baby’s doctor before introducing any highly allergenic foods if:

  • Your infant has had an allergic reaction to a food

  • Your infant has moderate to severe atopic dermatitis that doesn’t clear up

  • Your infant’s sibling has a peanut allergy

  • Your infant has had a positive allergy blood test result to a food

  • You suspect your infant may have a food allergy

 

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