Updated ASCIA FAQ How to Introduce Solid Foods for Allergy Prevention
30 November 2020:
In response to recent feedback and as part of our commitment to regularly review ASCIA online resources, updates have been made to the ASCIA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) How to Introduce Solid Foods for Allergy Prevention document. This is the third most popular resource on the ASCIA website, with up to 14,454 pageviews per month, so it important that this is kept updated.
The updates include expansion and slight rewording of the key points, highlighted below in green:
- Start to introduce solid foods around six months of age (not before four months), and when your baby is ready. If possible, continue to breastfeed your baby while you are introducing solid foods.
- When introducing solid foods to your baby, include common allergy causing foods by 12 months in an age appropriate form, such as well cooked egg and smooth peanut butter/paste. These foods include egg, peanut, cow’s milk (dairy), tree nuts (such as cashew or almond paste), soy, sesame, wheat, fish, and other seafood. Studies show that this may reduce the chance of developing food allergy in babies with severe eczema or egg allergy.
- Only introduce one common allergy causing food at each meal, so that the problem food can be easily identified if there is an allergic reaction.
- If your baby has an allergic reaction, stop giving that food and seek medical advice.
- Unless your baby has an allergic reaction to the food, continue to give the food to your baby regularly (twice weekly), as part of a varied diet. Trying a food and then not giving it regularly may result in a food allergy developing.
- Babies need to learn to eat a variety of solid foods, from each food group, to receive adequate amounts of important nutrients including fat, protein, vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, iron and zinc.
- Learning to eat solid foods takes time and babies learn by watching their family eat, so giving your baby the same foods as the rest of the family will encourage them to eat many different foods.
- Offer your baby foods that are the right texture for their stage of development. To prevent choking, use smooth nut spreads or nut flours – do not feed your baby whole nuts or nut pieces.
To ensure consistency, the wording in the updated key points listed above has also been updated in the ASCIA Guidelines for Infant Feeding and Allergy Prevention.
The following information (from ASCIA FAQ Allergy Prevention) has been added to ASCIA FAQ How to Introduce Solid Foods for Allergy Prevention document:
Solid foods should not be started before four months. Studies have shown that babies at high risk of having allergies who are exclusively breastfed for the first three to four months of life are less likely to develop food allergies and eczema during the first two years of life. There are also developmental reasons why solid foods should not be started before four months, as a baby’s digestive system and ability to chew and swallow are not yet fully developed or ready for solid foods.
Links to relevant websites have also been added to both of the updated documents, which are now available on the ASCIA website:
ASCIA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) How to Introduce Solid Foods for Allergy Prevention www.allergy.org.au/patients/allergy-prevention/ascia-how-to-introduce-solid-foods-to-babies
ASCIA Guidelines for Infant Feeding and Allergy Prevention www.allergy.org.au/hp/papers/infant-feeding-and-allergy-prevention