Trying to figure out which foods are okay to give your baby and when is one of the more confusing things about parenthood. Unlike innately knowing what to do when your child is fussy or tired, feeding baby solids gets tricky in the sense that, well, you don't want your kid to have a Mason Disick-style allergic reaction. But now -- sorry moms and dads -- things are about to get even more perplexing. An article by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says that highly allergic foods like peanut butter, fish, and eggs can be introduced earlier as opposed to later. Actually, it's being recommended (by some). The belief is that allowing your baby to try these foods as early as 4 to 6 months may help prevent future allergies.
What? Isn't this against everything we've been hearing?
One theory behind this new school of thought is that when you wait to introduce certain foods to the body, the immune system treats them as foreign substances and attacks, resulting in an allergy. Makes total sense. But still. This is a 180 from what pediatricians starting telling parents in 2000 -- to hold off having milk until age 1, eggs until 2, and peanuts, shellfish, tree nuts, and fish until 3. Yes, these guidelines were revised in 2008, but didn't say when and how to introduce these foods. And I've never heard of anyone giving their 4-month-old eggs, shrimp, or peanut butter.
More from The Stir: Alicia Silverstone Tells Why Pre-Chewing Baby Food Is Awesome Parenting (VIDEO)
David Fleischer, co-author of the article and a pediatric allergist, stated: "There's been more studies that find that if you introduce them early it may actually prevent food allergy. We need to get the message out now to pediatricians, primary-care physicians, and specialists that these allergenic foods can be introduced early." But he added that more study results are needed to conclusively determine whether early introduction of these foods will lead to lower food-allergy rates -- and whether they should be recommended as a practice. Wait, what?
As usual, there's conflicting, baffling, contradictory information on what's best for our kids. Awesome. From what I've always been told/read/heard, you should wait until your baby is at least 1 year old to introduce these foods, so that's what I'm sticking to. Granted, I only have two months to go, but still, it's what I'm comfortable with. And not just for allergy reasons -- can't babies choke on peanut butter? Seems like a weird thing to give a 6-month-old.
Did you give any of these foods to your baby before they were a year?
Image via devinf/Flickr