Top Reasons Parents Avoid Introducing Allergens
We’ve been talking to a lot of parents about introducing peanuts and other potential allergens when their baby first starts solid foods. And yet, it turns out a lot of people still aren’t doing it. Why?
Introducing Allergens is Scary:
With the rate of food allergies on the rise, there’s a 1 in 13 chance your child will have one. We live in a world where it seems like every day a horror story is published on social media or the web, and it has created a real fear of allergens, especially peanuts. No one wants to see their 4 month old baby experience anaphylaxis, so some parents avoid it out of fear.
The good news is that a reaction at 4 months old is far less likely. Babies’ immune systems are rapidly changing in the first 6 months. You may have heard that babies “don’t have an immune system” and in the first 2-3 months are particularly susceptible to infections. Because of the changing immune system, most food allergies don’t show up until after 6 months old. That is why the 4-6 month window can be so critical for including potential allergens.
Introducing Allergens is Difficult:
Doctors keep saying “thin 2 teaspoons of peanut butter” and feed to baby. It’s almost like they forgot that the tongue thrust reflex is really strong at 4 months, and very little makes it in. Beyond that, thinning peanut butter requires you to heat it, gently mix it with water, then cool it, then mix it into whatever other foods you have prepared. Oh and do this 3 times per week. Again - did they forget you have a needy infant at home? That sleep is still pretty precious? And that if you gave birth, your brain just went through some pretty remarkable changes and is still reeling?
Well we went through it ourselves, and created Lil Mixins to help turn 10 minutes of work into 10 seconds.
My Baby Isn’t Ready for Solids, or I think It’s too Early:
You definitely have to follow your child’s cues on starting solids. But a lot of parents don’t want to start solids at 4 months, even when baby is eagerly staring at your plate, because their baby just seems so small. Every parent has to make their own decisions about what’s right for their baby. But once baby has good head control, is sitting well when supported, has crossed ~13 pounds, and is showing curiosity about food, you can feel pretty sure that it’s safe to start.
Remember, the current guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics are to start solid foods between 4 and 6 months, and begin including potential allergens in that same window.
If you are still hesitant to start solids or just want to dab your toe into the process, you can still use Lil Mixins to start your allergen introduction. We designed the powder to be fine enough to blend easily into your regular bottle feedings.