New guidelines from the Canadian Paediatric Society suggest babies at high risk of developing allergies be offered common allergenic foods at about six months of age.
Babies who are ready for food sooner can start as young as four months of age, but not earlier.
The recommendations follow a recent shift in global thinking on when to introduce potential allergens, the most common of which are cow’s milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat and soy.
Babies are considered at high risk if they have a history of eczema, or a parent or sibling with allergies.
The society advises caregivers to offer potential allergens one at a time to gauge reaction. If the foods are tolerated well, offer them a few times a week to maintain tolerance. If there’s an adverse reaction, consult a doctor about the next steps.
The society pointed to emerging evidence that offering allergenic solids before six months may help prevent development of an allergy in high-risk infants, especially to egg and peanut.