Study reveals peanut-based food no longer a bane for infants

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Peanut figured in the list of top ten most common food allergens. At least it did till a recent study suggested otherwise. For more on identifying food allergies in infants, read on

 

According to the new health guidelines from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), most babies should be fed peanut-based foods well before they turn one, says The Guardian. With this, the risk of developing dangerous allergy to peanut can be curbed in children.

The report also states that the guidelines have clearly mentioned the exact quantity to be introduced to infants, including the correct method to do so. Commenting on the landmark research, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said, “It’s an important step forward. When you do desensitise them from an early age, you have a very positive effect.”

According to the guidelines, prior to introducing peanut-based food in a baby’s diet, it’s essential to let him try other solid foods, to ensure that he is developmentally ready. Of course, if you have your doubts about introducing something new, it always makes sense to have a word with your doctor or visit a specialist.

Peanut-based food can be introduced to tots just like other food items which are a part of their diet. However, for babies with high risk, who already have other allergies or skin issues, peanuts must be introduced only after consulting a paediatrician or a specialist in the field. Preethi Rajiv, mother to a 3-year-old daughter, recalls how she assumed her child was allergic to bananas, till her doctor suggested that she go for it. "For some reason I felt that my daughter would get cold if she had it. Then her paediatrician recommended that I add more fruits to her diet, and the diet chart included bananas," she laughs.

If like Preethi, you have your doubts about allergens and how to identify if your bub is allergic to a certain food, continue reading.

When I decided it was time to introduce solids to my 6-month-old baby, I was clueless about where to begin. As a first-time mommy, I had done my share of research. I knew there were possibilities of allergies with each and any food. Considering that the bub could barely communicate beyond the gurgles and coos and ear-splitting cries, I had no idea how  I’d know if something didn’t suit my baby, unless it presented itself in the form of a rash. Sailing in the same boat? Read on for some tips on what to look out for when introducing solids to your baby:

  • Go slow. Start with one new food item at a time.  The logic is simple. If you introduce eggs and milk on the same day, and the child shows a reaction, how do you figure out which food led to the allergy?
  • According to the FDA, some of the most common food allergens are milk, eggs, fish, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. Introduce these in smaller quantities. Once it has been ruled out of the list of allergens, you can gradually increase the portions.
  • Most often than not, an allergy doesn’t take too long to show up. Anytime within a few minutes to a few hours, the swellings will appear if your bub is allergic. Be attentive.
  • Some common symptoms to watch out for are hives, rash, swelling of face, tongue or lip, vomiting, diarrhoea, wheezing, or difficulty in breathing. Rush to the doctor, even if the symptom looks minor.

In case of identified allergens, just ensure you read the labels of all food items before feeding it to your child. And no matter where you go with your baby, keep the doctor-recommended medication along, lest you missed the finer prints on the label. As is with everything else, once you have figured out what works for your baby and what doesn't, and how he reacts to certain foods, you will go with your instincts.

Sources: Washington PostThe Guardian

Read: Want to help your kids grow taller? Feed them these foods!

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Written by

Divya Nair