How to introduce allergenic foods to babies

Posted: Aug 19 2021

For many years health professionals recommended delaying the introduction of common allergenic foods to babies. Recent studies now suggest that it’s best to introduce these types of foods once they start eating solids, to help prevent allergies developing.

Top 10 common allergy causing foods

These foods affect over 90% of people with an allergy:

  1. Eggs
  2. Fish
  3. Gluten
  4. Milk
  5. Peanuts
  6. Sesame seeds
  7. Shellfish
  8. Soy
  9. Tree nuts
  10. Wheat

How should you introduce common allergenic foods to babies?

From four months of age onwards, it’s safe to start giving your baby solid foods. Medical professionals, including Dietitian Themis Chryssidis from Sprout Health Studio, suggest feeding your baby common allergenic foods once they’ve started on solids and definitely before 12 months of age.

Themis says, “You can rub a little bit of the food inside the baby’s lip initially, if there’s no allergic reaction after a few minutes you can give them a little bit more.”

Another way of introducing one of the common allergenic foods is by mixing it into a lower allergenic food like vegetable puree. If your child shows no signs of an allergic reaction, gradually increase the amount each time.

It’s not suggested to smear or rub the food on the baby’s skin, because that’s not a reliable way of identifying a food allergy. It’s also recommended to introduce these foods one at a time, offering the same food for a few days then moving onto the next.

What to do if you think your child is having an allergic reaction

If your child starts to show signs of any of these symptoms, it’s likely they’re having an allergic reaction:

  • Hives, welts or wheals (a red, lumpy rash, like mosquito bites)
  • A tingling feeling in or around the mouth
  • Stomach pain, vomiting and/or diarrhoea (loose or runny poo)
  • Facial swelling.

In this instance it’s advised that you see a GP who may be able to confirm if it was an allergic reaction and how to treat the reaction if it happens again.

You may also be referred to an allergy specialist who can pin point what foods could be causing the problem and what’s best to avoid.

If your child has one or more of these symptoms, they could be experiencing an anaphylaxis, which is a severe allergic reaction:

  • Difficulty breathing and/or noisy breathing
  • Wheeze or persistent cough
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Swelling and/or tightness in the throat
  • Difficulty talking or hoarse voice
  • Persistent dizziness or collapse
  • Becoming pale and floppy (infants/young children).

Call 000 immediately if your child has any of these symptoms.

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Posted: Aug 19 2021


The information contained here is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal medical situation. The information is not a substitute for independent professional medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or used for therapeutic purposes. Should you require specific medical information, please seek advice from your healthcare practitioner. Health Partners does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them.

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