Experts Consider Changes to Infant Feeding Guidelines to Prevent Food Allergies

 

Have your say in the future of food allergy recommendations! The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is seeking public comment on changes to guidelines for the diagnosis and management of food allergy.

Federal health officials want to know what you think about three recommendations regarding the early introduction of peanuts to babies:

  • High-risk infants begin eating peanut-containing food as early as 4-6 months. Infants are considered at risk if they have severe eczema, egg allergy or both. A qualified healthcare provider should perform testing first to see if an allergy already exists.
  • Infants with mild to moderate eczema also begin eating peanut products early.
  • Infants without eczema or food allergy have no peanut restrictions. Peanuts, along with other solid foods, can be introduced early, depending on family preference.

An expert panel for the NIAID developed these recommendations based on groundbreaking research that first came out a year ago. The first LEAP study results showed that high-risk infants who start eating peanut early have a lower chance of developing that allergy.

The NIAID released these draft recommendations before two related studies were released this month:


LEAP Study 12 Months Later: Are We Ready To LEAP-On Peanut Allergy? (LEAP-On Study)


Can We EAT Our Way to Prevention of Food Allergies? (Enquiring About Tolerance Study)

The NIAID said the final recommendations may change based on additional information from the EAT study.

The last edition of the food allergy guidelines (2010) did not offer specific advice about how to prevent peanut allergy. It noted that there was little evidence that delaying food past six months would help.

The changes suggested by the expert panel note that families can take into account their own preferences when deciding whether to introduce peanuts early, after talking it over with their doctor.

The deadline for sending comments is April 18.

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  • High-risk infants begin eating peanut-containing food as early as 4-6 months. Infants are considered at risk if they have severe eczema, egg allergy or both. A qualified healthcare provider should perform testing first to see if an allergy already exists.

I agree wholeheartedly re: the allergy testing.  We had to wait until our child was 1 years old and found out through reactions when we tried our child on new foods.  As a new parent, it was a terrifying experience to go through without the aid of the medical staff.  Whenever we tried new foods it was very carefully planned ahead.  We made sure we were not going anywhere in the event of a food reaction.  On the flip side, we had a false positive result for wheat after our child's first skin test.  Given that our child was high risk, it would've been nice to try new foods with the help of medical staff.  During the time of introducing solids, our food options were very limited and the process was really slow because we took extra measures to have a controlled setting for introducing new foods.  Since the eczema was moderate-severe, at times it was difficult to distinguish if the red patches were a flare up from food, environment or just plain eczema.  At that age, it's easier to have the child try new things rather than at 18 months or older.  For our household, it was very challenging to introduce new foods because of allergies and toddler antics.  We wanted to be able to introduce a variety of flavors, cuisines, textures etc to our child so that she could have a great palate.  Since we had to wait 6 months and take very many extra steps, we weren't able to introduce as many things  from 6 months to 18 months.  

  • Infants with mild to moderate eczema also begin eating peanut products early.

I agree.

  • Infants without eczema or food allergy have no peanut restrictions. Peanuts, along with other solid foods, can be introduced early, depending on family preference.I agree
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Kids With Food Allergies
A Division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
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Phone: 1-800-7-ASTHMA (1.800.727.8462)
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