If you’re wondering how to introduce allergens to baby, here’s what I did with my four month old.
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I have lots of allergies ranging from tree pollen to peaches so learning how to introduce allergens to baby in a guided manner was really important to me.
However, with the ever-growing responsibilities I have as a SAHM and content creator, I didn’t want introducing allergens to baby to be mentally burdensome.
As a result, I started out with this easy-to-follow allergen mix-in powders that was developed by an allergist mom and is pediatrician recommend. Then I continued with real food.
In case, you just want to start off with real food, then I’ll also give you the schedule my pediatrician recommended me to follow! Learn about these options for introducing allergens to baby below.
TL;DR~ Already know you want to introduce allergens the mentally freeing, structured way? Check out these allergen mix-ins I used here.
My own experience does not count as medical advice. Please consult with a healthcare professional before starting this journey.
Top Allergens for Baby
According to the FDA, cow’s milk, peanuts, eggs, tree nuts, finned fish, shellfish, soy and wheat (gluten) account for approximately 90% of all food for allergies in the United States.
Among these allergens, the top three that allergist developed Ready, Set, Food identifies and introduces are cow’s milk, peanuts and eggs.
When to Introduce Allergens to Baby
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing allergens to baby as early as four to six months, which is what both methods I share follow.
However, each baby is unique so if you have a family history of peanut allergies, your baby has eczema or you simply want to get custom advice, it’s always best to check in with your doctor before starting.
How to Introduce Allergens to Baby With Allergen Mix-in Powders
Since I have tons of allergies and wanted to be extra careful about Zephyr’s allergens, I opted to get this allergist developed and pediatrician recommended allergen mix in system, which gradually introduces allergens over 15 days as early as four months old.
It introduces the top three allergens (peanut, egg and milk) to baby in a very mentally freeing way. Here’s how it works.
When you first open the box, you’ll find:
- 15 packets of allergens that allows you to introduce allergens gradually over 15 days
- A checklist that helps you track each packet given daily so you don’t forget which is so easy to do with the 1000 things to do as a mom; this checklist was the cherry on top of this allergy system for me
- is pre-measured for one day’s worth of allergens
- has 1, 2 or 3 allergens depending on which food is being introduced during the 15 day period
- mixes in easily with breastmilk, baby formula or food
- is enough for one day (so there’s 15 packets for 15 days)
- is made from organic, non-GMO foods and does not include any added sugars
- is great for babies who are not eating solids yet since the mix-ins are flavorless and mixes in well with breastmilk and formula
The schedule is as follows:
- Day 1-4’s packets only have milk as you introduce and build up milk during this time
- Day 5-8’s packets have both milk and egg as you introduce eggs and continue milk
- Day 9-12’s packets have milk, eggs and peanut butter as you introduce peanut butter and continue milk and eggs
- Days 13-15’s have all allergens so you can continue exposure.
Again, this 15 day introduction comes with a handy schedule so you can easily keep track of when you gave your baby allergens.
I love that this system doesn’t add any extra mental burden to this process so it’s great for busy families or ones that need extra guidance because of family history with allergies (looking at my chock full of allergies…).
See why 108 parents gave this system a 4.7 stars here.
I used this system to mix the powder both into formula and food. Zephyr didn’t seem to notice anything different about her feedings and took down the powder no problem
For me, the allergen introduction schedule was a great surprise and so helpful as I’ve mentioned before a couple of times 😝 I was recently diagnosed with ADHD so keeping track of all the baby’s needs plus my own health (i.e fibromyalgia, ulcerative colitis, postpartum depression and ADHD) is not my forté, but this really helped me so much.
As for her allergies, we are lucky to see that she has none so far based on common allergy symptoms listed below but will continue exposing her to allergens (how to below) purposefully until she’s a year old and monitor them.
Check out this allergen mix-ins system here.
How to Introduce Allergens to Baby With Real Food
If you have the time and mental capacity to introduce allergens to your baby with real food, then you don’t need the allergen mix-in powders.
Here’s advice that pediatrician gave for Zephyr to introduce her as early as four months old. Unlike the allergen mix-in powders, which have milk, eggs and peanut butter, my pediatrician only gave me guidelines on how to introduce eggs and peanut butter to baby (not milk).
Here’s what he recommended for introducing eggs to baby.
- Day 1 – 1 TSP
- Day 2 – 1 TBSP
- Day 3 – 2 TBSPs
- Weekly until the age of 1, at least – 1/2 egg (can be throughout the week)
To give the egg, people online have recommended giving it in scrambled form or mixing a hard boiled egg with formula.
But I found the pieces were still too big for Zephyr to manage at four months (specifically she had egg bits all over her face by the end of the feed), which is why I opted for the allergen mix-in powders until she got a hang of eating.
Once she got a hang of eating, I still not like the scrambled egg or hard boiled options people online gave. Instead, I made a baby version of gyeran-jim, Korean steamed egg, for myself and give Zephyr a spoonful of it. The recipe is below.
Here’s what he recommended for introducing peanut butter to baby.
- Day 1 – 1/2 TSP
- Day 2 – 1 TSP
- Day 3 – 1 TBSP
- Weekly until the age of 1, at least – 1 TBSP (can be throughout the week)
For peanut butter, make sure to buy the creamy kind with as little of ingredients as possible such as this peanut butter with only peanuts and less than 1% of salt.
By the way, Zephyr loooves peanut butter. Every time she eats it now, she goes MMM, MMM, MMM with each MMM getting louder and more forceful than the last 😂
Good to Know
If you opt to introduce allergens with real food (vs. the powder), I would still stick to a schedule and introduce one food at a time so you can discern whether allergic reactions are to the peanut butter or egg.
But again, talk to your own pediatrician for custom advice for your baby!
How to Continue Exposing Baby to Top 3 Allergens
There are three ways you can continue exposing your baby to allergens until the age of 1 at the very least.
Method 1: Use Real Food
If you’re ok with maintaining the baby’s allergen introduction schedule yourself and you’re past the introduction stage, you can of course use real food vs. the Maintain packets.
- For peanut butter, I simply give Zephyr a spoonful and let her munch on the spoon herself.
- For eggs, I found that scrambled eggs or hard boiled egg mixed in with milk got everywhere (compared to purees) so I started making myself a baby version of Korean steamed egg for me in the morning and would give her a spoonful to start the day. The Korean steamed egg (gyeran jim) is easily smashable and super soft so good for baby! Here’s how to make it:
- Mix one egg and 1/4 cup of water in a microwaveable bowl.
- Microwave it on 600W for 2 minutes.
- Portion out a bit for baby and smash it if you need. Feed to baby when cool.
- As for the rest of the egg, salt* it or add soy sauce, scallions and chili oil. Enjoy!
*Normal gyeran jim you salt beforehand, but since it’s for baby, I do a no salt version then salt it afterwards. Here’s my recipe on Instagram for a traditional version. I use this Korean cooking bowl.
Method 2: Continue With Allergen Mix-In Packets
If you don’t want to keep track of whether or not your baby got their allergens for the day or week, Ready Set Food has a Maintain system that gives you the top 3 allergens in powder form to use for at least six months.
Just like the introduction system, you mix in a packet daily with liquid or food and everything is pre-measured so you don’t have to think about it!
Method 3: Buy or Make Baby Foods With Allergens In Them
At the point in which your baby is eating foods easily, you can simply buy or make baby food with the allergens in them like this oatmeal.
For additional allergens beyond milk, peanut butter and eggs above 6+ months, Ready Set Food has a system that introduces cashew, almond, walnut, sesame, soy and wheat. Check it out here.
What Symptoms to Look Out for Possible Allergies
Allergens should be introduced gradually to see exactly which allergen may cause an allergic reaction. Look out for these symptoms:
- Hives or rash: These can appear as red, itchy bumps on the skin, and may be accompanied by swelling.
- Vomiting or diarrhea: These symptoms may occur shortly after the introduction of the allergen.
- Difficulty breathing: This can include wheezing or shortness of breath.
- Swelling: This can occur in the face, lips, tongue or throat.
- Coughing or sneezing: This can be a sign of an allergic reaction, especially if it is persistent.
- Pale or blue skin: This can be a sign of a severe allergic reaction and immediate medical attention is necessary.
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, stop feeding the allergen immediately and seek medical attention if the reaction is severe or if you are unsure about what to do. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of any reactions or symptoms that your baby experiences and to discuss them with your pediatrician or an allergist.
I hope this post helped you figure out how you plan on introducing allergens to baby.
Will it be with these allergen mix in packets or with food? Let me know in the comments below!
If you found it to be helpful, you might like what I share on my Instagram @sarchetrit.
Till then, thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!