I have a 3.5 year old and an 8 month old. With my older child I was fairly orthodox in terms of following conventional wisdom/recommendations on when to introduce allergens. With this second baby, it's all been out the window! I've already fed her eggs (including the white, previously warned against), coconut milk and coconut oil, foods cooked with shellfish (though not the shellfish themselves), fish, and even citrus in the form of a clementine (which is sometimes recommended to wait until one year). I have noticed that when my paleo baby gets a higher fat higher protein dinner, she tends to sleep longer and more soundly at night.
All this to say - are allergen concerns on solids introduction blown out of proportion? When did you introduce certain allergens - what allergen foods were they and at what age?
Examples of potentially allergenic paleo foods: Citrus, nuts, eggs, dairy, poultry, etc.
Can I feed my baby almond butter or macadamia-crusted foods yet? ;-p Or for that matter, foods dressed with macadamia, walnut, or almond oils?
Very interesting question and one I have considered often. It's a good question because it's hard to imagine our ancestors children not eating some nuts if their parents did.
However, when previously researching this topic, I've noticed that the government advice often uses the risk of choking as a reason not to give nuts to young children. Which is a reasonable risk I think. If that were the only risk, you'd assume that finely chopped nuts or their oils would be safe, or some other fashion of including the nuts in a recipe.
I err on the side of caution with my 3 and almost 2 year olds. But both have had nuts in recipes.
Two other points to consider. First, it's not natural to eat a lot of nuts. Some yes. But try preparing nuts straight from the tree, and you'll see why quantities should be small - I'd extend this to your children if you decide to give them nuts. Secondly, several nuts - for example cashews - are poisonous or difficult to tolerate without a lot of processing. Hard to justify from a paleo standpoint. Shame, I love cashews!
To summarise, I'd be cautious, introduce slowly, and be careful of choking.
Argh, it's a crime this article isn't free, but it's worth reading
Lack believes that a child becomes tolerant to a variety of food proteins through exposure in the first six months of life. Lack’s research has gradually gained influence with leading allergists, including Hugh Sampson. Sampson believes that some eighty per cent of infants who are allergic to eggs or milk will outgrow the allergy by their teen-age years, and that preventing them from being fed products with these foods may prolong the time that takes. In January, 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a clinical report by Mount Sinai’s Dr. Sicherer and other researchers that overturned the expert advice of the past decade. Gideon Lack is disturbed by what families now face. “Basically, we are all in limbo,” he said. “Even the experts are not certain what to advise.”advise.” http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/02/07/110207fa_fact_groopman
I would wait. I think paleo children were mostly breastfed till about second year of life, if not longer, with slowly added solid food. I think the safest thing to do would be to begin with the most simple foods, no exotic or non-local. cooked meat with no spices, mixed with some cooked veggies, eggs. even fruits much later on, as they cause often digestive problems. Apples are better baked and then mushed, than raw. then slowly try a few berries here and there.
I would think a wise move would be to introduce possible allergens through the breastmilk by eating them yourself. Small quantities of nut butter as well (like a tip of a finger's worth) might be worth mixing into other foods if it's well accepted.
What I find interesting is that these allergenic foods are the ones that aren't really paleo. They're paleo by our definition, but I doubt our ancestors were eating much of them. We wouldn't have had many nuts, we wouldn't have had dairy, fruit would be seasonal and even then only eaten in certain climates, we wouldn't have found too many eggs, etc. These aren't necessarily bad foods, I eat them all myself, just something to think about.
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