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How to safely introduce allergens to your baby

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Katie Angotti
Tinto nutritionist

Managing our children’s eating habits is hard enough, but add in allergens and it can feel overwhelming.

Allergens include milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, shellfish, and sesame. Some babies will have an immediate reaction, whereas some reactions are delayed and take up to a day to appear.

You can introduce allergens around six months, just like any other food. Here are three tips for doing so safely.

  1. Offer each allergen one at a time to begin with so that if there’s a reaction, you know for definite which allergen it was. Three days between is a good rule of thumb.

  2. Give small amounts - just a nibble or lick - to begin with so if there is a reaction, baby is not overwhelmed. If you’re giving them peanut butter for example, water it down and give a quarter or half a teaspoon. And with something like fish, just flake a little bit off. ⁠

  3. If you’re going down a purée route, purée them. If you’re going down the baby-led weaning route, then some foods are fine to give as finger foods but bear in mind that some - like peanuts - can be choking hazards so adapt as necessary.

Remember: most children grow out of most of their allergies between five and seven years old with the exception of nut and sesame allergies. And just because a family member has an allergy, it doesn’t mean that your baby’s going to have an allergy.⁠

Allergens don’t need to be scary. Just take it one at a time and nibble by nibble.