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With all the new research on food allergy prevention, it’s easy for parents to feel overwhelmed. Parents have a lot of questions about how to help reduce their child’s risk of developing a food allergy, based on the new guidelines from the AAP and NIH. That’s why we put together this up-to-date guide on the latest research, to help families follow the new guidelines safely and effectively.
Food Allergy Prevention Is Important For All Babies
Food allergies are on the rise, with 1 in 13 children in the United States affected. These allergies can often be inconvenient for families. Worst of all, reactions can be severe, and sometimes even life-threatening - a food allergy sends someone to the emergency room every three minutes. But over half of the children with food allergies have no family food allergy history. Thus, all infants are at risk for developing food allergies.
What The Latest Food Allergy Research Tells Us
Fortunately, three groundbreaking clinical studies show that you can reduce your infant’s food allergy risk by up to 80%, by introducing them to allergenic foods early and often. As a result, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) have issued new recommendations supporting early, sustained introduction of allergenic foods such as peanuts for infants.
Tips To Defend Your Child Against Food Allergies
Starting around 4-6 months of age, babies enter a critical window where their immune system begins to develop either positive or negative responses to foods. Introducing allergenic foods during this window helps train your baby’s immune system to develop the positive response needed to reduce their food allergy risk. Although it is important to not delay, most infants (up to 11 months of age) will still see a benefit in food allergy prevention with introducing allergenic foods.
Consult Your Pediatrician
Before you introduce allergenic foods to your baby, consult your pediatrician. They may want to conduct an allergy screening first, especially if your baby has severe eczema.
Introduce When It’s Best For Baby
When you’re ready to introduce allergenic foods, pick a time when baby is healthy. Also, make sure that an adult can monitor baby for at least 2 hours, to watch for signs of an allergic reaction. Introduce one allergenic food at a time, so it’s easier to determine whether your baby is having an allergic reaction to that food. (Wait 3-5 days between introducing each new allergenic food, as recommended by the AAP.)
Breastfeeding Alone Is Not Enough
According to the AAP’s most recent guidelines, there is not enough conclusive evidence to prove that breastfeeding can prevent childhood food allergies on its own. So, families should introduce their babies to common food allergens early and often, regardless of how they choose to feed their baby.
Introduce Peanut, Egg, and Milk
Combined, peanut, egg, and milk account for more than 80% of childhood food allergies. More importantly, the landmark studies showed that introducing these allergenic foods early and often led to a significant reduction in food allergy development.
Introducing your baby to allergenic foods only once or twice is not enough to help prevent food allergies. Studies show that feeding your infant allergenic foods multiple times per week, and sustaining this introduction for at least several months, are just as crucial factors as starting early. The studies exposed infants to allergenic foods 2-7 times per week for at least 3-6 months. In fact, one of the landmark studies continually exposed infants to peanut for 4 years.
We know that parents need resources and support to implement the new guidelines on food allergy prevention at home which is why we’re proud to partner with Ready, Set, Food! Their gentle, guided system slowly and safely introduces baby to the most common food allergens (peanut, egg, and milk) in pre-measured amounts consistent with the new clinical guidelines. Learn more about Ready, Set, Food! below.
About Ready, Set, Food!
Ready, Set, Food! is an innovative system developed by a team of allergists and parents that can help reduce your baby’s risk of developing food allergies by up to 80%. The system gradually introduces common food allergens in the amounts used in landmark clinical studies, for maximum safety and efficacy. Plus, it easily mixes with breastmilk, formula, or puree, so it makes following the new guidelines simple and easy for parents everywhere. Ready, Set, Food! contains only organic, non-GMO peanut, egg, and milk, and is recommended by over 230 pediatricians and allergists.
And just for our Newton Baby families, use code NEWTON20 to receive $20 off any Ready, Set, Food! subscription.
To learn more about how Ready, Set, Food! can help give your baby the best defense against food allergies, and take advantage of this exclusive offer for Newton Baby families, visit their website here.
Your baby will learn a lot from you over the years. Perhaps the first and most important skill you’ll teach your baby is how to sleep. Fact is, sleep isn’t an innate skill—it must be learned. And while we don’t sleep train until 4 months from their estimated due date, those first few months are an opportunity to lay the foundation for healthy sleep habits. By doing so, you’ll help your baby take better, more consistent naps (you can shower! Drink hot coffee!) and sleep more soundly at night (yes, please!) You can start putting these tips into action right away and they’ll continue paying off for months to come.
Have you noticed that your baby sleeps like a rock during the day, but wants to party all night? This is a very common occurrence for newborns that’s known as day/night confusion. Think back to when your baby was in your womb just a few days or weeks ago. While you were up and about during the day, the motion lulled her to sleep. Then, as soon as you’d lie down to sleep, she’d start kicking and moving because the stillness stirred her awake. Here’s how you can help your baby work through day/night confusion so you can both catch more Z’s after dark:
Use black out curtains to make your baby’s room completely dark. Darkness sends a signal to your baby’s brain that it’s time for sleep. Use continuous white noise during day and nighttime sleep. White noise is very comforting to babies—it mimics the sound they’re used to from being in the womb—and also blocks out background noise in the house or from the street that could disrupt baby’s sleep.
With a newborn, you don’t have to follow a rigid schedule, but it’s helpful to have a routine. When your baby wakes from a nap, change her diaper, have a little play time and tummy time, feed your baby, and then swaddle and put her right back to sleep. You may have heard that you should never wake a sleeping baby, but this isn’t entirely true. If your baby is taking a long nap, cap the nap at two hours and gently wake your baby. This will help make sure that you fit in enough feedings during the day, which can help result in longer stretches of sleep at night.
You might think that your baby doesn’t like being swaddled because she fusses at first, but all babies feel most secure once they’re swaddled. Swaddling helps prevent the Moro reflex from startling them awake. As a result, your baby is better able to stay asleep and connect sleep cycles, leading to longer naps and nighttime sleep. In most cases, if your baby is breaking free from the swaddle it means that the swaddle isn’t snug enough. (Be sure to stop swaddling once your baby is able to roll from back to tummy, around 3 to 4 months of age.)
Even though bedtime tends to be a moving target until around 3 to 4 months old, it’s still a smart idea to have a routine that you repeat most nights before putting your baby to bed. A simple routine may include a bath, lotion, diaper, jammies, and a feeding. Even very young babies will begin to pick up on the cues that this series of events signals that it’s time for sleep.
The key word here is “practice” because it won’t always be perfect. Many newborns fall deeply asleep during or after a feeding and that’s okay during those early weeks. At the same time, look for opportunities during the day when you know that your baby is sleepy and ready for a nap so that you can put her in her crib drowsy but awake and give her the opportunity to fall asleep without being fed, rocked, or held to sleep every single time.
When babies are awake for too long, they can become overtired. When this happens, the stress hormone cortisol floods their brain and makes it even more difficult for them to fall asleep. To prevent this from happening, offer a nap every 60 to 90 minutes from when your baby last woke up.
Article by Carolynne J. Harvey – Baby Sleep Expert, Author of “Dream Baby Nights©” & Founder of Dream Baby Sleep®. Feel free to schedule a free 15-minute sleep consultation by visiting www.dreambabysleep.com/scheduler. You can also join @dreambabysleep on Instagram every Friday for Free Question Friday.
About Dream Baby Sleep
Dream Baby Sleep® is a loving group of certified experts who are successfully teaching families throughout North America how to create and maintain healthy sleep. Our diverse education and team dynamic empower us to customize a plan catered to your family’s personal needs. By studying the temperament of your baby, parenting style and family dynamic we’re able to draw from all sleep training methods available to create success for your family.
Setting up a nursery for your little one is a fun and exciting task. You get to choose colors and decor and make this space a unique space for your little one and your family to enjoy. Aside from colors and theme choices, it is important to choose safe products. Here are some tips on how to set up an adorable and safe nursery for your family.
1.) Create a safe sleep space: Choose a crib that meets current safety standards and a mattress that is firm yet breathable. Make sure there are no gaps between the mattress and the crib. Don’t place any pumper, pillows, blankets or stuffed animals into the crib.
2.) Anchor the furniture: It is hard to imagine that your tiny baby will one day be on the move. The goal is to avoid accidental tip-overs. Anchor bookcases and dressers to the wall so that they don’t accidentally fall or get pulled down onto your little one.
3.) Choose cordless blinds: Blinds with cords can be a strangulation hazard as your little one starts to move. When setting up the nursery, choose cordless blinds and as a bonus blackout shades to help keep the room dark so your little one will be able to use that as a sleep cue.
4.) Be mindful of where you hang artwork: The availability of adorable artwork for your little one’s nursery can definitely inspire your creative side. Avoid hanging artwork over your little one’s crib or changing table.
5.) Window Safety: The CPSC recommends installing window guards to prevent falls. Keep chairs and furniture away from windows to prevent your little one from using them as a way to climb up near a window.
6.) Fire safety: Make sure to have a working smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in your little one’s bedroom.
Your baby’s sleep environment should be one of the safest spaces in your home. Getting off to a safe start when you first set up the nursery can be really helpful. Have fun, be creative and create a magical and safe space for your little one to call their room.