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As a parent, starting solids can be scary. There are many factors to consider, including doing what you can to help reduce the risk of your child developing an allergy.

Allergies are very common, with around 1 in 5 people in Australia experiencing an allergy during their lives. Allergies can be mild and inconvenient (e.g. an itchy face come spring time) or life-threatening (e.g. anaphylactic peanut allergies). When a person is allergic to a substance, their immune system reacts as though it's being attacked. Reactions usually occur within 20min to 2 hours and symptoms may include: itchiness, hives, vomiting, abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, swelling.

Typically with food-based allergies, the immune system is reacting to specific proteins within food (e.g. gluten in wheat). Sometimes parents think the best way to avoid their child developing an allergy is to avoid risky foods altogether. Unfortunately, this is exactly what not to do.

The best time to introduce 'allergy foods' is at the same time you begin to introduce solids. Studies show that introducing ‘risky foods’ within a baby’s first 12 months can help prevent allergies. Ideally, you should try to introduce all of the known allergen foods (pictured above, excluding honey) before your baby's 1st birthday. Waiting until they are older may increase their chances of developing an allergy. If there is a family history of an allergy, early introduction is even more crucial.

I talk about this in my (soon to be released) Fact Pack “Solid Starts”. In it, I cover everything you need to know about starting solids: when to start, how to start, baby-led weaning, allergies, choking & gagging and so much more. Click the link in my bio to pre-order “Solid Starts” now. Orders placed before 18th May receive a 50% discount.

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