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The do’s and don’ts of introducing allergens at home

If your baby has started solids and is cleared for allergen introduction, here are some tips on how to do it safely (pro tip: print out this list to keep handy on your fridge!).


Do's

Start with other solids first. 
Introduce commonly allergenic foods after your little one has successfully eaten other solid foods like cereals, veggies or meat purees. 


Start early in the day. 
Start well before nap time, when you can monitor your baby for a couple of hours after feeding. 

 

Start small. 
Start with a small amount of the allergen and monitor your baby. Give a small amount on the tip of a spoon. Wait 10 minutes, then feed the full infant-portion at baby's pace. Most reactions occur within 2 minutes to 2 hours. 


Keep it diverse. 
Diet diversity is important for proper nutrition and development. Feed a variety of foods from all food groups, including common food allergens and iron-rich foods like fortified cereal, green veggies and meats. 


Continue breast milk or formula. 
Breast milk or formula remain an important source of nutrition after starting solids and throughout the first year of life.


Don’ts

Don’t begin when baby is sick or fussy.
You don’t want to mistake illness for a food allergy reaction. 

Don’t introduce multiple allergens at one time.
This way if there is any sign of reaction you will know which food caused it. 

Don’t use whole nuts or nut butters.
These are a choking risk to babies and toddlers, as are many commonly allergenic foods in their natural form. Prepare soft foods that are easily dissolved with saliva. 

Don’t start and then stop.
Once allergens are introduced, it’s important to keep them in the diet regularly. The AAP recommends 6g of peanut protein per week for high-risk infants (that’s 1 pouch of Mission MightyMe Proactive Peanut Puffs).

Don’t put food in a bottle.
The AAP and CDC do not recommend putting rice cereal or any other food in a bottle.

Next up: some tips and tricks on how to introduce the “top 9” allergens – including a sample meal plan for babies 9 months and up. You can also learn more about diet diversity, and why it's crucial to offer a variety of foods, textures and flavors – as well as common allergens, most of which happen to be super nutrient-dense! – to your little one early and often to help them thrive and grow.

Ready to introduce and include nuts in your little one’s diet? Check out the full Early Allergen Introduction Guide here. 

*FDA HEALTH CLAIM: For babies with an increased risk of peanut allergy (babies with severe eczema, egg allergy or both), introducing age-appropriate, peanut-containing foods as early as 4 months may reduce the risk of developing a peanut allergy. Caregivers should check with the baby’s healthcare provider before feeding the baby peanut-containing foods.