Babies, New Foods, and Allergies: What You Need to Know

What we once thought about some allergens is now no longer the case

by: Alex Thom
New Regulations for Food Introduction May Prevent Allergies

When we were kids, television was in black and white, we walked to school uphill both ways (in the snow), and we had no internet. Childhood for my kids - who are now nine- and five-years-old has changed a lot - even since they were babies. One major difference is when we were told to introduce foods to them. We were advised to avoid the major allergens until at least one year of age (and up to three years in some cases).

That is no longer the case.

Research now suggests that by avoiding these foods, we weren't avoiding allergies - we may have been causing them. Could this explain the rise in food allergies in recent years? Perhaps. The bottom line is that by avoiding these foods, we may have caused sensitivities or allergies in our kids, and held back some truly nutritious foods in the process. The Canadian Medical Association Journal released a statement recently from Dr. Elissa Abrams and Dr. Allan Becker of the University of Manitoba saying, "At this stage, it has been well documented that avoidance of allergenic foods is not preventative of food allergies."


Furthermore, the new recommendation is that, "If a family asks how to prevent allergies in their children, our current advice is to introduce the allergenic foods at four to six months of age."

Double oops.

I remember struggling to find high-quality proteins for my daughter because we were avoiding eggs. She missed out on all that natural goodness during this time. Eggs have six grams of protein, 14 essential vitamins and nutrients, and are a great source of choline, which plays an important role in brain development. All of these things are so important for those fast-growing baby brains which is why eggs are now an important part of my family's diet.

Health Canada, the Canadian Paediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada and the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada all now recommend introducing foods like whole eggs at the same time you introduce other solids.

My son was born with many food allergies, so I didn't really get the chance to choose when to introduce some foods. He reacted through my breast milk, so we had to take extra precautions when introducing him to solids. But for most children, introducing foods is very safe, and this new research really does point the finger at the delay in introducing common allergens. In Canada, the top allergens are:

  • Dairy (cow's milk)
  • Soy
  • Peanuts and tree nuts
  • Wheat
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Sesame

Imagine all the nutritious, delicious foods we've been avoiding all this time! This updated research is well substantiated, so I hope new parents take this new advice seriously. Trust me, nobody wants to cause a food allergy. 

Talk to your doctor and then eat those eggs. Eat those nuts. Eat the fish, shellfish, and everything else. And if there's an allergy, so be it. But why take the chance of sensitizing a baby's system unnecessarily?