Allergen Introduction for Babies: Not Scary Anymore

Allergen Introduction for Babies: Not Scary Anymore

- in Ages & Stages, Food, Parenting
Photo courtesy of Inspired Start

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Being a parent is hard work! You can ask 10 of your mom friends and odds are that each one of them will have different, and possibly conflicting, views and beliefs on what’s best for her child. Every day it seems as though there is a new way to be that “perfect parent” and win at the mom game.

As a mom of two boys, with my third on the way, I’ve come to realize there is no “perfect” way to parent. We can take advice from friends, blogs, doctors, and family — and all can be helpful. But in the end, we have to trust our gut and look to our children for guidance. 

The topic of feeding our little ones has always been something that my friends and I never saw eye-to-eye on. I was a full-on baby-led weaning mama with my first. With my second, I did a mix of baby-led weaning with purees, because that’s what worked for him. Let’s be honest — they won’t know the difference in a few years when all they want are chicken nuggets and mac and cheese!

What my friends and I did agree on was the importance of doing our best to expose our babies to the most common food allergens. As a mom with food allergies of my own, this terrified me! I asked our pediatrician and allergist for advice. At age 1, I introduced my oldest to peanuts — and I was scared. Thankfully, he was fine. My second child was accidentally given a peanut treat by his big brother while I was cooking dinner — when he was six months old! In pure panic-mode, I called our pediatrician, who calmly replied, “And is he having a reaction?”

That’s when I learned that recommendations around when to introduce allergens to babies have shifted, based on solid research. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology now states that babies can be introduced to common food allergens like peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, sesame and wheat at the same time we introduce other solid foods to our little ones. They also should eat those foods on a regular basis throughout their first year and beyond. It was great to hear that my instincts to feed my little ones allergens (despite my fears) were on-track and that my little guy having his first taste of peanuts at six months wasn’t a mom-fail at all!

As I enter the third trimester of pregnancy with my third little guy, I’m excited to be working with Inspired Start, a baby food company out of Boston that’s designed the only food to help introduce eight common allergens into our babies’ diets. Inspired Start makes eight recipes, each combining an organic fruit puree with a single allergen protein. Its purees are delicious and easy to feed as one of baby’s very first foods, and were designed with the help of top pediatricians, allergists, nutritionists and parents. The foods come in boxes of eight pouches each. Packs 1 and 2 introduce four allergens each and the Variety Pack makes it simple to keep all eight proteins a regular part of our babies’ diets. The best part is, Inspired Start is now available here in Ohio at Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Markets as well as online on Amazon Prime and Thrive Market!

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