Why can’t I just do early allergen introduction by myself?

DIY early allergen introduction can be time-consuming, and it requires frustrating guesswork. Learn why Ready. Set. Food! offers an easier option for early allergen introduction.

Here’s what you need to know before you start DIY early allergen introduction:

  • Food allergy guidelines for parents to follow
  • Why many parents struggle with following these guidelines at home
  • Why Ready. Set. Food! offers an easier, safer option for early allergen introduction

Food Allergy Guidelines

New medical guidelines from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provide insights on how to reduce your baby’s risk of developing a food allergy, based on the results of landmark clinical studies.

These guidelines recommend introducing babies to peanut, egg, and milk as early as 4-6 months of age, and continuing to feed babies these foods for several months, for the best chance of food freedom.

Many parents wonder if they can introduce allergens on their own. Although you can do early allergen introduction by yourself, it can be time-consuming, and it requires frustrating guesswork.

Challenges With DIY Early Allergen Introduction

Many parents can’t introduce peanut, egg, and milk early enough

The new clinical guidelines recommend introducing peanut, egg, and milk as early as 4-6 months. Around this age, babies enter a critical immune window where introducing these foods helps build their tolerance to them.

However, many babies aren’t ready for solid foods at this early age. Peanut is especially tough to introduce this early, because you must prepare it properly to prevent choking.

Delaying allergen introduction increases chances of a severe allergic reaction

Recent research suggests that allergic reactions get more severe as your baby gets older, so starting as early as possible is the safest way to feed allergens to your baby. With DIY allergen introduction, parents have to wait until their baby is developmentally ready for solid foods and many times, can’t properly follow the guidelines to introduce at 4-6 months of age when allergic reactions are less likely to occur.

DIY guesswork is time-consuming

Are you feeding your baby the right amounts of allergens based on the guidelines? If you decide to introduce peanut, egg, and milk by yourself, measuring out these foods takes valuable time and frustrating guesswork. What if you don’t introduce enough of these foods? Or, what if you feed your baby too much of these foods?

Even our Chief Allergist Katie Marks-Cogan, M.D. experienced these same challenges. Dr. Marks-Cogan shares “When my son David was an infant, I introduced him to allergenic foods early and often. I couldn't believe how much work it was! Every week, I spent several hours compiling and measuring foods only to hope my son would actually eat them.”

It’s even harder to introduce allergens gradually

According to the PETIT study and leading pediatricians, the safest way to introduce allergens like peanut, egg, and milk is by starting with a smaller amount and gradually increasing the amount. But if you choose the DIY approach, it’s even harder to figure out the right amounts of these foods to introduce at the right times.

Infants are picky eaters, so sustained introduction is difficult

Many infants are picky eaters, so getting them to eat anything on a consistent basis is difficult, let alone peanut, egg, and milk.

In the landmark studies that inspired the clinical guidelines, parents needed to feed babies these foods 2-7 times a week for at least 3-6 months.

But even during the studies, parents struggled with this consistent introduction. In one of the clinical studies (the EAT study), over half of the families weren't able to sustain the exposure needed.

If a family member has food allergies, cross-contamination risks their safety

Babies with a family history of food allergy have an increased risk of developing food allergies. So, early, sustained introduction of peanut, egg, and milk is vital.

But if you have a family member with an allergy to one of these foods, there’s always the worry that preparing the foods would accidentally expose them to their allergen. You must make sure these family members don’t come in contact with the food(s) they are allergic to, especially on surfaces and dishes used for preparing, mixing and feeding.

Ready. Set. Food!: The Easy, Evidence-Based Approach

If you want an easy, safe, and evidence-based solution recommended by pediatricians, Ready. Set. Food! is the solution for your family. Here’s why:

Evidence-based: Ready. Set. Food! safely introduces the exact doses of peanut, egg, and milk used in the landmark studies and recommended by the clinical guidelines. So, this dosage is gentler and safer than doing allergen introduction on your own, while saving you time. In fact, Ready. Set. Food! is the only allergen introduction system completely based on clinical guidelines and landmark studies.

Easy to introduce as early as 4-6 months: Ready. Set. Food! Stages 1 and 2 mix-ins easily dissolves into a bottle of breastmilk or formula. So, you can introduce peanut, egg, and milk to your baby as early as 4 months of age, even if your baby is not ready to eat solid foods.

Eliminates guesswork: Thanks to our pre-measured stick packs, you can feel confident that your baby is getting the right amounts of all 9 top allergens. You won't have to spend valuable time guessing and measuring out these foods, or worrying about whether you've fed your baby the right amounts, like you would with a DIY approach.

Gentle and gradual: Ready. Set. Food! starts with a low dose of the most common allergens -- peanut, egg, and milk, and slowly increases the dosage. Also, it introduces one food at a time, waiting 4 days between introducing each new food. This aligns with the guidance of leading pediatricians and landmark clinical studies.

Safe when a family member has a food allergy: Our individually sealed, foil-lined packets of pre-measured powder can be poured directly into your baby's bowl or bottle, without contact with the powder itself. This way, these allergens touch as few surfaces as possible. This greatly reduces the chance of cross-contamination and exposure of at-risk family members to their allergens.

Trusted by doctors: 1,000+ pediatricians and leading allergists recommend Ready. Set. Food!

We designed Ready. Set. Food! to be an easy option for every family to introduce all 9 top allergens safely. Give your baby the best chance at food freedom with Ready. Set. Food!

Introduce Allergens Safely and Easily with Ready. Set. Food!

All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  If your infant has severe eczema, check with your infant’s healthcare provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts.