Introducing Children to Solid Foods: The Importance of Preventing Food Allergies

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Finally introducing your twins to solid foods (other than single-grain cereal) is typically an extraordinary ordeal for most parents. It’s somewhat affirmation that your bundles of joy are growing healthy and strong. But you can’t just feed your babies anything–you need to be careful. There’s a big chance that your twins may suffer from food allergies.

My little girl was diagnosed with a peanut allergy during her early stages of solid food-eating several years ago but it was such a terrifying ordeal
I remember like it was yesterday. It was week three of solid-food testing, and I decided to give my baby girl a spoonful of peanut butter. Her throat and air passages swelled up almost immediately. We rushed her to the hospital where she got a shot of Epinephrine—the medicine given to those who suffer with anaphylaxis, the deadliest kind of allergy. She soon developed temporary rosacea on her cheeks for several months.

Now experts suggest waiting until your child is at 3-years-old before introducing your child to peanuts or tree nuts such as walnuts or almonds, but there are other foods you should be aware of too. Though there are more than 100 foods that can cause allergies, the top allergy-causing foods are: shellfish, fish, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, and of course peanuts and tree nuts. That said, you might want to hold off on introducing these foods until your twins are a bit older.

Some allergic-reactions are more prominent and severe, like difficulty breathing, swollen lips and tongue, and developing hives/rashes. But some allergy symptoms are a little bit more subtle. For example, your little ones can a minor cough or wheeze, suffer from diarrhea and or/vomiting, or simply just have a flush face or constant runny nose. It fact, sometimes it can be a little hard to differentiate a food allergy or a minor cold since some symptoms are so similar.

Getting your child tested is an easy way to tell if your child’s constant runny nose is due to a food allergy. But it also helps if you create a food log and closely monitor what you feed your child and when. This is how it should work: you need to introduce your twins to new foods gradually. So give your twins only one new healthy item every three days and write it down in a food journal/log. This way it’s easier to know which food item is the culprit.

Make sure to closely monitor your children’s bodies for any immediate signs of an allergic reaction like hives, as well as some minor symptoms. If your children seem to be ok, then you know that food is “safe.” If you notice any allergic reactions, call your pediatrician right away. If symptoms seem severe, call 911.

It may take some time to figure out which foods your child can and cannot eat, but just be patient—your child’s life may depend on it.

Amelia Wood is a freelance health blogger for www.medicalbillingandcoding.org, a website that helps students find online programs in the health industry. She welcomes your comments.

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