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How to Safely Introduce Baby to Food Allergens

Updated: Apr 9

Let's talk all-things-food allergens! What are common food allergies? How do we approach allergies? Should you give your baby common allergens, and if so, HOW? As always, I'm the Cardamom, and I've got you covered!

Introducing solid foods to your baby is an exciting milestone, and it's essential to ensure they receive a wide variety of nutrients for their healthy growth and development. When it comes to introducing allergenic foods through baby-led weaning, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind. I'm here to provide you with a guide to safely and confidently introduce allergens to your baby using the baby-led weaning approach.

What are common allergies in 2023?

These foods account for 90% of food allergies. The top 9 food allergens include:

Before introducing any allergenic foods, it's crucial to consult with your pediatrician or a qualified healthcare professional. They can guide you based on your baby's individual health history and any family history of allergies. This step ensures that you have personalized recommendations and reduces the risk of potential allergic reactions.

"While the mechanisms in allergy development can involve many factors, infants with eczema or a family history of allergies are known to be at increased risk for developing a food allergy⁠.⁠"


Here are some basic guidelines to introducing an allergenic food to your child:⁠

  1. Start with one allergenic food at a time so in the event of a reaction you can easily identify the culprit⁠. This means starting with single foods rather than combinations. This approach helps identify any potential allergies or intolerances more easily.

  2. Introduce the food early in the day in case there is a reaction so you can seek immediate medical care⁠.

  3. Start with a small amount of the food and monitor for a reaction which will usually take place within 2 hrs⁠

  4. If no reaction is observed continue to increase the amount offered and offer it frequently if possible ⁠

What foods to start with and how to prepare them!

  • Eggs are a great first food for baby because they are an easy texture to manage, they’re convenient, can be a vehicle for a variety of flavors, and they are widely accessible. ⁠Check out more about preparing/serving eggs here!

There are a few ways you can serve eggs safely:⁠

1️⃣ Beat the egg in a bowl, season, and pan fry like an omelette then cut into strips⁠

2️⃣ Scramble or mash a hard boiled egg and mix it with avocado. Serve on pre-loaded spoons for baby to practice self-feeding⁠

3️⃣ Once baby develops their pincer grasp (closer to 9 months) you can start to offer hard boiled eggs chopped into smaller pieces⁠

  • Peanuts

A few ways to introduce peanuts to babies are 👇🏽⁠

1️⃣ Offer age appropriate peanut butter puffs like @missionmightyme proactive peanut puffs⁠

2️⃣ Mix ground peanuts into yogurt, applesauce, oatmeal or other baby food purée⁠

3️⃣ Offer a tiny lick on the tip of a spoon or your clean finger⁠

4️⃣ Roll fruit in peanut powder and offer to baby⁠

5️⃣ Mix nut butter into a smoothie⁠

6️⃣ Serve toast strips with a super thin layer of nut butter (be cautious not to offer nut butter in large globs because this can pose a choking risk for young eaters)⁠

What if we are a plant-based family?

I’m often asked if plant-based families should introduce their babes to the common animal-based food allergens and, unfortunately, I don’t have a cut and dry answer for you. You have to consider your family’s values as well as what continued exposure to the allergen could look like. ⁠


Current recommendations suggest introducing allergenic foods early and often to help prevent the future development of food allergies later in life. ⁠

Safety Tips:

When introducing allergenic foods through baby-led weaning, it's always important to follow safety precautions:

  • Ensure foods are prepared appropriately, such as thoroughly cooking eggs or softening peanuts.

  • Avoid whole nuts, as they pose a choking hazard. Instead, offer smooth nut butters or finely ground nuts.

  • Monitor your baby closely during mealtimes to prevent choking and ensure they are handling the food appropriately.

As always, focus on baby's balanced plate!

While introducing allergenic foods, continue to offer a wide variety of nutritious foods to support your baby's overall development. Focus on a balanced plate that includes a mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein sources. Gradually expand your baby's palate, incorporating different textures, flavors, and food groups.

Want more information?

Check out these posts!

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Sources:⁠,⁠, PMID: 29540389, 34255344, 30982864, 22732173, 15125698⁠, 26392275

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