FEEDING THE ALLERGIC INFANT: INTRODUCING SOLID FOODS

My oldest child was a patient of Dr. Janice Joneja and I learned a lot from her and applied those lessons to my youngest when he was born. From all our experiences with allergies I have learned lots. I try not to restrict foods from any of our diets because the reactions, I feel, are more severe when we do ingest one of our allergens and this way our diets aren’t too restrictive. Some foods I do avoid because the reactions are severe and others we eat very minimally and the decision is made on the level of reaction but we are always aware of what we are eating, how much and the time of year. We are more allergic in the springtime due to our pollen allergies. Click here to read the full article.

METHOD OF INTRODUCING PURE FOODS TO ALLERGIC INFANTS

The following method introduces a new food every four days. Some practitioners advocate even faster introduction, such as every two days. However, experience has demonstrated that the four day method is optimum. Indeed why the rush? Introducing a new food every four days allows 3 or 4 new foods every two weeks. If he or she experiences no signs of allergy, in one month the baby will be eating as many as 8 foods, which is quite sufficient for a well-balanced diet at this age.

Pre-feeding Precautions

Apply a small amount of a new food to the baby’s cheek and wait for 20 minutes to see if a reddened area appears at the site of application. If redness does appear, this “early warning sign” indicates a probable allergic response to the food. Do not give this food to the baby. Wait a few months before trying this food again.

If a reddened area does not appear, apply a little of the food to the outer border of baby’s lower lip. If there is no reaction such as reddening, irritation (baby rubs the area), or appearance of a blister, at the site of application after about half an hour, a small amount of the food should be applied to the baby’s tongue. Again wait about 20 minutes.

If there is no sign of any adverse reactions, feed the food to baby in the following manner:

Day 1.

Morning (breakfast): Feed ½ teaspoon of the new food.

Monitor the child’s reaction. Wait four hours.

If no adverse reaction is apparent, proceed:

Afternoon (lunch): Feed 1 teaspoon of the same food.

Monitor the child’s reaction. Wait four hours.

If no adverse reaction is apparent, proceed:

Evening (supper): Feed 2 teaspoons of the same food.

Monitor the child’s reaction. Be alert for any changes in sleeping patterns (restlessness, crying, difficulty settling down to sleep), which might indicate a reaction to the new food.

Day 2.

Do not feed any of the new food. Monitor the child’s reactions during the day. Look for delayed reactions to the food eaten yesterday.

Day 3.

If no adverse reactions have appeared, test the same food as on Day 1 (eliminating the cheek and lip test), but use larger quantities at each feeding:

Morning (breakfast): Feed 2 Tablespoons of the food.

Monitor baby’s reactions as on Day 1.

If no adverse reaction is apparent:

Afternoon (lunch): Feed ¼ cup of the same food.

Monitor baby’s reactions.

If no adverse reaction is apparent:

Evening (supper): Feed as much of the food as baby wants.

Monitor baby’s reactions.

Day 4.

Monitor baby’s reactions as described for Day 2.

If no adverse reactions occur, the food may be considered “safe” and can be included in the infant’s diet.

If Symptoms of Allergy Appear

If the child has an adverse reaction to the food at any time, discontinue the food immediately and do not test the same food again for about 2 months. Wait at least 48 hours after the symptoms have subsided before testing a new food.

If the food is tolerated, include it in the child’s diet. Some authorities believe that by including the food in the child’s diet at least once every 4 days, tolerance to the food will be maintained. Including large doses frequently every day, on the other hand, is thought to risk sensitizing the baby to develop an allergic reaction to the food. Moderation is the best strategy.

Adverse reactions to look for:

♦ If baby obviously rejects the food by grimacing or spitting it out forcibly, she/he may be responding to an unpleasant sensation due to an allergic reaction inside the mouth. Discontinue the food.

♦ If baby takes the food, but a visible reaction appears around the mouth (reddening, red patches, hives), or hives (itchy, flat, red patches) appear anywhere on the body, discontinue the food.

♦ If baby shows obvious signs of abdominal discomfort (increased crying, drawing up of the legs, abdominal bloating), itching, or irritability, it is a clear sign of an adverse reaction. Discontinue the food.

♦ Abdominal reactions may be followed by spitting up, vomiting, and diarrhea. These are all strong adverse reactions and the food must be discontinued.

♦ Delayed reactions (occurring 6-8 hours or longer after eating the food) often include respiratory symptoms (stuffy nose, frequent sneezing, persistent coughing, wheezing), or skin reactions (exacerbation of eczema, hives).

 

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