According to nutrition experts, more than 320,000 children born this year will develop a food allergy by the time they are 18 years old. The U.S Food & Drug Administration (FDA) explains that these allergies occur when the body’s immune system reacts to specific proteins in food. Such reactions can go from mild symptoms such as hives and lip swelling to severe and life-threatening symptoms.
The rise in food allergies has a significant impact on people’s lifestyles, requiring dietary restrictions, and at the same time, they affect finances. A 2013 JAMA study shows the cost of food allergies in children in the U.S. is likely around $25 billion per year. That’s about $4,184 per child per year.
Although there’s a lot of misconception surrounding what type of foods parents should feed their children to avoid allergies or other hypersensitivity reactions, top pediatric experts suggest parents should learn how to manage them instead of running away from them.
SpoonfulONE, the leader in early allergen feeding, created a comprehensive program to educate and grow awareness around the alarming increases in food allergy rates and highlight new infant feeding guidelines, in partnership with these esteemed pediatric experts.
According to Alok Patel, MD, Pediatric Hospitalist at Stanford, UCSF, and News Correspondent, genetics play a role in the allergy world; however, there are both sides to the story. “If you have a family history of allergies, seasonal allergies, asthma, eczema, food allergies, it can play an increased risk for a child,” Patel said. “But the important thing that people need to know is that two-thirds of kids who have an allergy do not have a parent with food allergies, and I think that‘s important because I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum.”
The physician, journalist, and producer also said that he has seen parents downplay or having heightened fear about introducing their children to early foods because of a perceived risk of a family history of allergy. “But also there’s a lifestyle and environmental factors that also play a part here,” he revealed.
Dr. Patel said that “if you have a severe issue with allergies in your family before you introduce your child to solid foods, talk to your pediatrician, speak to an allergist and just make sure that you‘re on the right path,” however, he believes that “the vast majority of the time parents are more than safe to start that early introduction of all these potentially allergenic foods.”
SpoonfulONE is a safe way to ensure the early and routine feeding of various food allergens to children until it becomes the norm. Thanks to the brand, families can protect their babies from developing an allergy by introducing their kiddos to their revolutionary, science-backed line of nutritional products that make food allergen introduction and maintenance easy and safe.
This pediatrician recommended product includes the food groups commonly associated with over 90% of food allergies. Invented by Before Brands and globally renowned pediatric allergist Dr. Kari Nadeau, families can rest assured that their infants won’t experience nutritional deficiencies.
USDA Feeding Guidelines For Infants
What parents need to know in the first 12 months of life
Infants consume small quantities of foods, so it’s important to make sure that parents pay attention to what they feed their babies. The key takeaway: make every bite count!
Aim to breastfeed until your baby is ready to eat, ideally until around 4-6 months (or longer, if desired)
- Although breast milk is considered the best food for your growing baby, babies will still need a daily vitamin D supplement beginning soon after birth.
- If breastfeeding is not possible, infants should be fed an iron-fortified infant formula.
HELPFUL TIP You can easily find vitamin D drops for your baby at any grocery store or online. Look for brands with 400 IU of vitamin D3 per drop.
Feed allergenic foods early and often
- When you introduce foods at 4-6 months, introduce allergenic foods such as peanuts, egg, cow’s milk products, tree nuts, wheat, shellfish, fish, and soy.
- Waiting to introduce allergenic foods may increase the risk of your baby developing a food allergy to that particular food, so don’t delay!
HELPFUL TIP It’s essential that once allergenic foods are introduced, they stay in your baby’s everyday diet. Parents can buy products that are a blend of these foods to make daily feeding easy. Make sure to look for products covering a wide range of allergens, challenging to feed foods like shellfish or fish.
Diet diversity is critical
- This is the time to expose your infant to many different foods. Your baby may need to try a new food several times before they accept it. Don’t be discouraged; this is totally normal!
- For breastfed infants: Make sure foods are rich in nutrients, such as iron (e.g., meats and seafood) and zinc (e.g., meats, beans, zinc fortified infant cereals).
HELPFUL TIP Feed your baby a diversity of nutrient-dense foods in infant-safe formats during their first year of life. However, make sure to stay away from honey, unpasteurized foods, and beverages, and limit foods with added sodium and sugars.
Make every bite count
- Infants consume small quantities of foods, so it’s essential to make sure that parents pay attention to what they feed their babies.
- Portion sizes are helpful to ensure adequate nutrient intake, but all babies are different. Listen to your baby’s cues of being hungry and satisfied. Let them be your guide on how much they should eat!
HELPFUL TIP More information on establishing healthy eating patterns in infants is available from Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Be mindful of beverages
- In general, infants should not consume beverages outside of breastmilk, formula, and small amounts of water.
- Cow’s milk or any plant-based beverages should not be offered as a drink in the first year of life.
- Fruit juice should not be fed, even 100% fruit juice.
HELPFUL TIP Parents often wonder whether infants need to drink water. In fact, breast milk or formula should provide the hydration a baby needs in the first six months of life! Half a cup to one cup of water may be given when babies start solids. To facilitate the transition from a bottle or breastfeeding to a cup, it is advisable to offer the infant formula, breast milk, or water interchangeably. That way, infants learn that cups are not only meant for drinking water.