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You Can Help Reduce the Risk of Food Allergies for Your Baby

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5.6 Million Children

have food allergies in the U.S. That’s roughly two children in every classroom.

377% Increase

in medical procedures to treat severe reactions to food between 2007 and 2016. Two-thirds of these reactions were in children.

More than 40%

of children with food allergies have experienced a severe allergic reaction.

Introducing a variety of foods into a baby’s diet early and often is recommended - and may even help lower the risk of certain food allergies.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, parents were told that babies, and especially those considered at risk for food allergies, should avoid many allergy-causing foods until age one or even older. Thanks to new research, this advice has changed. In fact, studies show that introducing a variety of foods early is now recommended. Early typically means at six months but can be as early as four months.  

Parents should always work with their pediatrician or allergist on when to introduce foods, especially if your baby shows signs of being at higher risk for food allergies, like having severe eczema.
 

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Does your baby have a higher risk of developing certain food allergies? Take Our Assessment

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FARE has invested nearly $3 million in game-changing discoveries that highlight the benefits of early introduction. New research is changing how foods are introduced to babies.

Some of the most important takeaways in just the last few years include…

peanut butter

Up to 80% of peanut allergies are preventable for high risk infants.

The Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) and LEAP-On studies showed that feeding peanut foods early to babies at high risk for peanut allergy reduced their chances of developing a peanut allergy by 80 percent.

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Early introduction may help lower the risk of certain food allergies.

For some children at higher risk for allergies to milk, peanut, egg, sesame, fish or wheat, the Enquiring About Tolerance (EAT) study indicates that introducing these foods early has the potential to lower the risk of developing these allergies, particularly egg.

Baby eating

A varied diet may help reduce the risk of developing a food allergy.

Studies suggest that feeding your baby a larger or more diverse number of foods or food groups might lower the risk of food allergy.

Updated guidelines on when and how to introduce foods to babies have changed how pediatricians advise new parents about early diet and allergy risk.

See how to introduce a wide variety of foods safely to infants

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What is a food allergy? How do I know if my baby is having a reaction?


A food allergy happens when a person’s immune system reacts to a food protein because it has mistaken that food protein as a threat. The body’s response is what we know as an allergic reaction. The first symptoms of the allergic reaction usually appear within minutes or up to two hours after exposure to a food. Symptoms can range from mild to severe or even life-threatening and can occur alone or in combination. If you have any concerns about your baby’s response to a new food, seek medical attention or call 9-1-1 right away.

  • Mild symptoms:
    • Rash or a few hives around the mouth or face
    • Hives are red, itchy welts on the skin 
  • Severe symptoms:
    • Swelling of the lips, face or tongue
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Widespread hives over the body
    • Wheezing
    • Repetitive coughing
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Skin color changing to pale or blue
    • Sudden tiredness or lethargy
    • Seeming limp

Has Your Baby Been Diagnosed With a Food Allergy?

If your baby is diagnosed with a food allergy, FARE is here to help you access essential information and resources to make sure you have what you need to make informed decision about what to do next

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Questions to Ask to Your Pediatrician About Introducing Solid Foods

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Have additional questions? Early Introduction Frequently Asked Questions

  • Strong research and promising studies show that introducing a wide variety of healthy foods into a baby’s diet early and often is recommended – and it may help lower the risk of certain food allergies. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), you can start introducing single-ingredient foods like fruits (apples, pears and bananas), vegetables (green vegetables, sweet potatoes, squash and carrots) and cereal grains (rice or oat cereal) between four to six months, when your infant is developmentally ready. Once these first foods have been successfully added into your baby’s diet, you can move onto foods that commonly cause allergies (defined as allergens).

  • As recently as the early 2000s, the widely accepted advice was that babies at risk for food allergies should avoid many allergy-causing foods until age one or even older. With the benefit of new science, this guidance has changed. Delaying foods that commonly cause allergies will not prevent food allergies from developing and introducing a wide variety of foods as early as four to six months is now recommended.

  • In 2008, FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) partnered with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID, a division of the National Institutes of Health) to fund this critical research as part of our commitment to advancing promising prevention strategies, treatments and cures for food allergy. As the world’s largest private source of food allergy research funding, FARE has invested nearly $3 million in game-changing discoveries that highlight the benefits of introducing certain allergens early. 

Read all frequently asked questions
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Early Introduction Straight from the Experts

Recent landmark studies and guidelines are changing the way we think about early food introduction. Learn more in this webinar.

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