Parents now advised to introduce allergenic foods like peanuts earlier: review

Canadian Medical Association Journal states babies at four to six months of age can begin eating food that commonly cause allergies

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TORONTO — A new review of recent evidence suggests parents don’t need to delay introducing foods that commonly cause allergies, like peanuts.

The review published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal states that babies at four to six months of age can begin eating these foods.

And once the potentially allergenic foods have been introduced, it’s important the baby continue to eat them on a regular basis or an allergy could develop.

However, the review suggests it might be advisable for parents to visit an allergist if there is a history of allergies in the family.

In the past, parents of babies at high risk were advised to wait 12 months to 36 months before introducing commonly allergenic foods, which include cow’s milk, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, wheat, fish, shellfish and sesame.

Groups including the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology now call for introducing peanuts to high-risk kids at between four and 11 months of age.

A recent survey of Canadian households found that eight per cent reported at least one food allergy.

With allergies on the rise, it’s important to prevent them, says co-author Dr. Elissa Abrams of the University of Manitoba.

But mothers don’t need to avoid foods that commonly cause allergies while pregnant or breastfeeding, she added.