Increasingly, research studies in the last few years have recommended introducing allergenic foods to babies who are younger than 12 months. The studies claim that introducing allergenic foods around 4-6 months of age might actually provide pro- tection against atopic (allergic) skin disease or asthma when the child is older. The studies indicate that it is okay to feed your child whole eggs at 6-7 months of age as opposed to just giving them egg yolks. It’s only necessary to delay foods that you know are allergic to other members of your family.
In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics delivered a Policy Statement that said that solid foods should not be given before 4-6 months of age but, after that, there is no convincing evidence to indicate that delaying the introduction of foods be- yond this period has a protective effect against the development of atopic diseases, even if foods are fed cow’s milk versus breast milk. This includes the unnecessary delaying of foods like fish, eggs and peanut proteins.
Other studies included a German study showing that there was no evidence that a delayed introduction of solids past 4-6 months prevented allergic rhinitis, asthma or reactions to foods that are inhaled by the time the child reaches 6 years. Still an- other study showed that delaying the introduction of dairy products past 9 months is associated with an increased risk of asthma.
According to the ESPGHAN Report, exclusive breast feeding should be done until age 6 months with solids not introduced until 17 weeks and not later than 26 weeks. Delaying allergenic foods such as eggs and fish does not reduce allergies in babies or later in a child’s life.
A Finnish study also looked into introducing solids late and found that it increased allergic sensitization to foods and to inhalant allergens. They found that wheat, eggs and oats were related to food sensitization and potatoes and fish products were related to inhalant sensitization or asthma.
An Australian study from 2010 found that infants who weren’t given eggs until after 12 months of age were five times more likely to develop allergies compared to those who were introduced to eggs at four to six months.