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5 Easy Lessons To Help Prevent Food Allergies In Your Child

Katie Marks-Cogan M.D.
Mother and Board-certified allergist
Katie Marks-Cogan M.D.
Mother and Board-certified allergist

As a board-certified allergist, I see firsthand how families struggle with food allergies. Thankfully, recent landmark studies have shown that 67-80% of childhood food allergies can be prevented, through early and frequent exposure to allergenic foods starting at 4-6 months of age.


The science is clear about how to prevent allergies, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, NIH, and FDA have all come out with new recommendation about early and sustained allergen introduction, but it can be hard. When my son David was 5 months old, I realized how frustrating and time consuming early and sustained allergen introduction was, especially when most of what I offered my son ended up either on the kitchen floor or on his bib….not in his mouth.


As an allergist and mom, there are 5 lessons that every parent should know about preventing food allergies for their baby:


1. You Can Prevent up to 80% of Food Allergies

Because there is currently no cure for food allergies, prevention in the form of early and sustained allergen introduction is our best defense.


2. Start Introducing Allergens Early, Don’t Delay

Studies promote starting as early as 4-6 months because there is a specific window within which our immune systems develop either a positive or negative response to certain food proteins.


3. Sustaining Frequent Exposure is Necessary

A baby’s immune system needs time and repeated exposure to develop a positive response to the foods. Recent landmark studies exposed infants to allergenic foods 2-7 times/week for 3-6+ months.


4. Breastfeeding is Not Enough

While breastfeeding can be beneficial, it has not been proven that moms can prevent allergies by eating those allergenic foods and exposing the baby through breast milk. It’s vital for allergy prevention to get additional exposure to the most common food allergens like peanut, egg, and milk.


5. Following the Guidelines can be Hard

Babies are bad eaters at 4-6 months and it’s hard to get them to regularly eat enough. In one of the recent studies, more than 50% of the parents weren’t able to stick with the program.

As a board-certified allergist, I see firsthand how families struggle with food allergies. Thankfully, recent landmark studies have shown that 67-80% of childhood food allergies can be prevented, through early and frequent exposure to allergenic foods starting at 4-6 months of age.


The science is clear about how to prevent allergies, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, NIH, and FDA have all come out with new recommendation about early and sustained allergen introduction, but it can be hard. When my son David was 5 months old, I realized how frustrating and time consuming early and sustained allergen introduction was, especially when most of what I offered my son ended up either on the kitchen floor or on his bib….not in his mouth.


As an allergist and mom, there are 5 lessons that every parent should know about preventing food allergies for their baby:


1. You Can Prevent up to 80% of Food Allergies

Because there is currently no cure for food allergies, prevention in the form of early and sustained allergen introduction is our best defense.


2. Start Introducing Allergens Early, Don’t Delay

Studies promote starting as early as 4-6 months because there is a specific window within which our immune systems develop either a positive or negative response to certain food proteins.


3. Sustaining Frequent Exposure is Necessary

A baby’s immune system needs time and repeated exposure to develop a positive response to the foods. Recent landmark studies exposed infants to allergenic foods 2-7 times/week for 3-6+ months.


4. Breastfeeding is Not Enough

While breastfeeding can be beneficial, it has not been proven that moms can prevent allergies by eating those allergenic foods and exposing the baby through breast milk. It’s vital for allergy prevention to get additional exposure to the most common food allergens like peanut, egg, and milk.


5. Following the Guidelines can be Hard

Babies are bad eaters at 4-6 months and it’s hard to get them to regularly eat enough. In one of the recent studies, more than 50% of the parents weren’t able to stick with the program.

Discover an easy way to prevent food allergies!

Learn More

The most important way to prevent allergies is through early and sustained allergen exposure. While it is possible to do it yourself, we are lucky to now have a product on the market that makes it easy. You can check out some DIY early allergen introduction tips here, and also check out a product that makes it very simple, effective, and maximizes safety called Ready, Set, Food!

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