Wheat and food allergies

I am very curious about introducing wheat to babies. How young is too young? How old is just right? If one suspects food allergies is wheat a common culprit?

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Anne,

Wheat is one of the foods most likely to cause allergies in babies. Other foods on that same list include: cow's milk, eggs, nuts, fish, shellfish, corn, berries, soy, tomatoes, and citrus fruits. However, most children who have these allergies tend to outgrow them by three years of age (except to nuts or fish which tend to be lifelong).

Babies are at a greater risk of allergies between birth and nine months because their digestive systems are not fully developed. Therefore, it is wisest to hold off on introducing solids to at least 4 months of age. Then, introduce each new food individually, waiting 3 to 5 days before adding a new one. If during those few days you find an unexplained skin rash or diarrhea that food may be the culprit and you will want to avoid it for awhile. Use this procedure to detect an allergy to wheat.

If you have a family history of allergies, especially food allergies you should wait to at least nine months to try any of the foods on the list of common allergens. If you do discover an allergic reaction to a food, do not avoid that food forever, but rather, try reintroducing it again a few months later to determine if the allergy has been outgrown.

If you have no family history of allergies, than I see no need to avoid wheat out of fear of a potential allergy. Such an allergy is possible but not probable. Just be sure to introduce it using the above mentioned procedure. It would be a shame to miss out on the flavor and nutrition of whole wheat unnecessarily.

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