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Yes, your 6 month old can have peanut products and shellfish…

Posted by Sandra on February 29, 2008

Infants, solids, and allergies

 

My babies have always started solids around 6 months.  And they started table foods – we skipped “cereals” (nothing but carbs – sugars – and inhibits iron absorption) and it always seemed silly to feed my baby bland tasteless carrots from an expensive jar when I was serving the rest of the family wonderful spiced flavorful carrots.  Autumn’s first food was crablegs, and she LOVED it!

Anyways, I have always done this, I have always let people know about it when asked.  My doctors have supported it.  With no family history of allergies, there was also no reason to withhold any foods.  I found an article in 2005 written by a Stanford University professor that supported what I, my docs, and many other moms believed:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9646449/

…That’s right, rice cereal may not be the best first food. Peanut butter doesn’t have to wait until after the first birthday. Offering fruits before vegetables won’t breed a sweet tooth. And strong spices? Bring ’em on…

But I have been ridiculed for this belief – told I am giving life-threatening ideas to others.  As a chuckle at this comment, my children and the millions of others are all fine and healthy.  Since an infant (or child, or adult) can be allergic to ANYTHING, not just the “big eight”, you’re not safe feeding them at all.  Right?

The AAP has now formally rewritten their recommendations on solids and allergies.  They still support waiting for six months, but now they find no evidence to support any benefit to delaying foods like peanuts, shellfish, etc.  Since some look at the AAP as the God of All that is Right and Holy in Childraising, I thought I would pass this tidbit along:

http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;121/1/183

Although solid foods should not be introduced before 4 to 6 months of age, there is no current convincing evidence that delaying their introduction beyond this period has a significant protective effect on the development of atopic disease regardless of whether infants are fed cow milk protein formula or human milk. This includes delaying the introduction of foods that are considered to be highly allergic, such as fish, eggs, and foods containing peanut protein.

So now that the AAP has changed their ideals, perhaps more moms can quit wasting money on jars of foods and enjoy stress-free and easy meals at home, simply opening the cupboard and giving their baby whatever is in there, whatever the rest of the family is enjoying.  This is still a personal choice – there is evidence to support that if there is an allergy in the family, your baby’s chance of having one increases, so decide what will work for you. 

Personally, I can’t imagine not having PB&J sandwiches, fish sticks, strawberries, eggs, and more on the lunch menu for my infants and toddlers!

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