Paleo babies and allergies?

by 5624 · July 11, 2011 at 10:07 PM

My 11 month old is completely Paleo. Has been breastfed from a 70% Paleo compliant mother and has only been given Paleo approved solid foods. I have two questions about paleo babies and allergies:

1) How concerned are you about not giving your kids certain foods (paleo or not) until a certain age based on potential allergies?

For example I started giving my son fresh berries from the market a couple weeks ago and most doctors recommend not before 1 year age. Also, I have him a several bits of my meatball before I realized I had put ground walnuts in it. Most doctors recommend no nuts before 2.

2) How concerned are you that your child will develop a severe gluten allergy from not consuming it at all for several years and then consuming it?

EDIT: My son did not have any allergic reactions after eating the foods mentioned in question #1.

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5 Replies

6832 · July 11, 2011 at 4:23 PM

I would say that if you do introduce things earlier not to stress about it. My second child ate chocolate pretty early on as the eldest one fed it to her on several occasions ;)

Re: berries, where did you get the guidelines about berries from and what is the reason to wait until a year until you give them to kids? In the UK, I never heard of berries being on the restricted list and it is common practice to feed small kids berries. What I am more concerned about is the pesticides on the berries and for this reason would not give give them to kids unless they were organic.

Nuts, ground up are fine, it is the choking hazard that doctors warn parents about.

What I did was give my children all kinds of foods to taste themselves and they decided what they liked, I never gave my children honey before a year old though and gave them raw milk, butter and cheese in place of all pasteurized milk products. Now they sometimes have pasteurized milk products (aged 8 and 5) and can cope with it. I never gave them gluten and now, I restrict one of them as I have seen signs of a gluten allergy (same as me), whereas the other one can cope with bread once in a while.

You just have to play it by ear.

All I can say is that ANY food you withhold from a child could prove to be problematic in later years, look at MSG, additives, even pasteurised milk, and in addition look at all the children who regularly eat all those things and have done since early on and know no different, even though many of them have low to high grade allergies because of eating them. You are in such a great position that you already KNOW about these potential dangers before your child is eating them and can watch for symptoms and then tailor your child's diet appropriately.

I think that you have to bite the bullet and stick on the paleo diet for as long as possible and bring up a healthy child who will be stronger at fighting colds and other viruses during childhood.

So, when exactly do you envision him suddenly being exposed to gluten? Will it be when he grows up and leaves home? I worry about my children leaving home and suddenly bingeing on all the things they never had as children, like sugar, bread, sodas etc. But that is something that I am tackling through trying to educate them about the benefits of good fat, the dangers of flour and sugar etc.....Every time we sit down to eat I tell them why I have served them what I have served them and my 5 year old often tells me that fatty meat is the thing to eat first from the plate.

The reality is though that your son will be exposed to these things much earlier than that, when he goes to play dates, he will be offered sandwiches, soda, sugar. If he has never eaten any of those things he may go mad on them when his parents are not around......so, education is a great way to let him know that these foods will be on offer and for the sake of a well balanced child I would say, feed him some foods on the danger list once every so often and discuss food with him regularly (when he is old enough of course).

At least your son developing a gluten/lactose/whatever allergy in the future can be tackled head on, you already have the knowledge you need to address the problems when they turn up and then it will be a question of playing it by ear.

10878 · July 11, 2011 at 4:22 PM

My 7 month old son eats everything we eat + breastmilk and we eat paleo. We skipped purees. I don't give him strawberries because his father is allergic and I don't give him egg whites because I have a slight allergy. Other than that based on a few recent allergy studies I've read, I reject the delaying foods protocol unless there is a family history. I think it encourages MORE allergies. That said, eating paleo we avoid a lot of common allergens anyway, but I don't buy this delaying foods rubbish. Check out the "peanut puzzle" article in the New Yorker a few months ago. It was enlightening for me. I think avoiding the NADs will in itself avoid the leaky gut issue that causes most allergies in the first place, but that's just my opinion.

10194 · July 11, 2011 at 4:54 PM

We have an 11 monnth old Paleo babby.

1) How concerned are you about not giving your kids certain foods (paleo or not) until a certain age based on potential allergies?

I take this question to mean, do we not give him certain foods b/c he might be sensitive/allergic to them?

The answer is yes. He does not get gluten, soy, veggie oils, dairy products, egg whites etc etc And is also still being breast-fed along with his home-made Paleo baby meals: veggies, meats, bone-broth etc etc

My (n=1 & impossible-to-be-objective-about-your-own-baby) data-point: He is the healthiest, most robust, alert, charming, strongest 11 month-old most people have ever seen. He was walking at 10.75 months too.

I am, unlike your husband, adamantly opposed to him getting gluten -- why? Because when I went Paleo, I "cured" my life-long affliction of migraines, which appear to be a sensitivity to gluten. I suspect that my family is very sensitive to gluten.

We DID give him some home-made non-Paleo birthday cake the other day - which had cake flour, sugar, egg-whites etc etc and he cried the whole night and his stomach cramped.

Not gonna do that again for a long while.

2) How concerned are you that your child will develop a severe gluten allergy from not consuming it at all for several years and then consuming it?

Not concerned as I think he is prone to be sensitive to it already. If he has to go without eating gluten-y foods the rest of his life and "suffer" great health b/c of it, well, c'est la vie. :)

I will admit the following question remains:

Am I or is my family intrinsically sensitive to gluten OR is that simply a function of gut dysbiois?

To be honest, while I think the former, I simply don't know -- but I do know that if I avoid gluten/grain, my life is not 10x better, not 100x better, but literally 1,000x better.

10 · July 11, 2011 at 3:46 PM

Questions I would ask myself prior to feeding my kids a possible allergy causing food is : "Is there a strong history of allergies to the food(s) in the family?" If so I would more than likely wait but if not I would introduce the food and see if there was a reaction. We introduced strawberries/blueberries/raspberries before a year with all three of our children. I think we even gave them peanut butter, pecan & almond butter (my children are not paleo) before a year old. As for nuts, I think besides the allergy the bigger concern is that they can be a choking hazard and are not recommended for children under 6, but I see no problems with well ground nuts if there wasn't a reaction.

I can't really answer your last question because my children are not paleo, or even GF, Hubby will not allow it. If they were it would be my opinion to not really worry about it because whether they consume gluten now or then, there is no way of really knowing whether or not restricting gluten now would be the cause, if any allergies or sensitivities arise in the future. So while its not silly to think about, I wouldn't let it worry you too much now, and maybe raising your child paleo they won't even want the gluten foods!

1771 · July 11, 2011 at 10:07 PM

I came to paleo because my (breastfed) son has allergies. We're a pretty allergic/atopic family unfortunately. It seems that my son has issues with both gluten and dairy. And it seems that these have been issues since birth - possibly because I had some unidentified issues... he was always a "colicky" baby and is still a high need toddler.

He wasn't fed early (solids were introduced from 6 months), but we weren't paleo.

I've heard the saying "Once you know better, you do better" - and for me, this is true. It's unfortunately not always true for everyone.

We didn't restrict any foods for either child when weaning apart from nuts really. There were no reactions to any foods at weaning, but I'm pretty sure that this is because there were some issues since birth (perhaps).

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