2

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What age to introduce nuts (and other allergens) in paleo babies when introducing solids?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created September 02, 2010 at 6:12 PM

I have a 3.5 year old and an 8 month old. With my older child I was fairly orthodox in terms of following conventional wisdom/recommendations on when to introduce allergens. With this second baby, it's all been out the window! I've already fed her eggs (including the white, previously warned against), coconut milk and coconut oil, foods cooked with shellfish (though not the shellfish themselves), fish, and even citrus in the form of a clementine (which is sometimes recommended to wait until one year). I have noticed that when my paleo baby gets a higher fat higher protein dinner, she tends to sleep longer and more soundly at night.

All this to say - are allergen concerns on solids introduction blown out of proportion? When did you introduce certain allergens - what allergen foods were they and at what age?

Examples of potentially allergenic paleo foods: Citrus, nuts, eggs, dairy, poultry, etc.

Can I feed my baby almond butter or macadamia-crusted foods yet? ;-p Or for that matter, foods dressed with macadamia, walnut, or almond oils?

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 19, 2011
at 01:23 PM

I would recommend nut milk instead of actual nuts. Hunter-gatherers weren't as protective of their children as we are they have fewer allergies. I would expose my children to new foods as much as possible during the beginning of their life. That New Yorker article convinced me.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on September 02, 2010
at 11:09 PM

Thanks so much for the thoughtful response! My main concerns were being able to feed her items that had been cooked or dressed with nut oils - or to be able to feed her small fragments of nuts from a bag of trail mix when we're out and about and there's little other options. Of course she's only 8 months and breastmilk bridges the gap in a lot of ways, but once she's older I want to be able to have less messy snacks (=not avocado or banana ;-) ) available for her on outings.

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5 Answers

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3
1c4ada15ca0635582c77dbd9b1317dbf

(2614)

on September 02, 2010
at 09:06 PM

Very interesting question and one I have considered often. It's a good question because it's hard to imagine our ancestors children not eating some nuts if their parents did.

However, when previously researching this topic, I've noticed that the government advice often uses the risk of choking as a reason not to give nuts to young children. Which is a reasonable risk I think. If that were the only risk, you'd assume that finely chopped nuts or their oils would be safe, or some other fashion of including the nuts in a recipe.

I err on the side of caution with my 3 and almost 2 year olds. But both have had nuts in recipes.

Two other points to consider. First, it's not natural to eat a lot of nuts. Some yes. But try preparing nuts straight from the tree, and you'll see why quantities should be small - I'd extend this to your children if you decide to give them nuts. Secondly, several nuts - for example cashews - are poisonous or difficult to tolerate without a lot of processing. Hard to justify from a paleo standpoint. Shame, I love cashews!

To summarise, I'd be cautious, introduce slowly, and be careful of choking.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on September 02, 2010
at 11:09 PM

Thanks so much for the thoughtful response! My main concerns were being able to feed her items that had been cooked or dressed with nut oils - or to be able to feed her small fragments of nuts from a bag of trail mix when we're out and about and there's little other options. Of course she's only 8 months and breastmilk bridges the gap in a lot of ways, but once she's older I want to be able to have less messy snacks (=not avocado or banana ;-) ) available for her on outings.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 19, 2011
at 01:23 PM

I would recommend nut milk instead of actual nuts. Hunter-gatherers weren't as protective of their children as we are they have fewer allergies. I would expose my children to new foods as much as possible during the beginning of their life. That New Yorker article convinced me.

1
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 19, 2011
at 01:13 PM

Argh, it's a crime this article isn't free, but it's worth reading

Lack believes that a child becomes tolerant to a variety of food proteins through exposure in the first six months of life. Lack???s research has gradually gained influence with leading allergists, including Hugh Sampson. Sampson believes that some eighty per cent of infants who are allergic to eggs or milk will outgrow the allergy by their teen-age years, and that preventing them from being fed products with these foods may prolong the time that takes. In January, 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a clinical report by Mount Sinai???s Dr. Sicherer and other researchers that overturned the expert advice of the past decade. Gideon Lack is disturbed by what families now face. ???Basically, we are all in limbo,??? he said. ???Even the experts are not certain what to advise.???advise.??? http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/02/07/110207fa_fact_groopman

0
Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7304)

on April 19, 2011
at 01:30 PM

What I find interesting is that these allergenic foods are the ones that aren't really paleo. They're paleo by our definition, but I doubt our ancestors were eating much of them. We wouldn't have had many nuts, we wouldn't have had dairy, fruit would be seasonal and even then only eaten in certain climates, we wouldn't have found too many eggs, etc. These aren't necessarily bad foods, I eat them all myself, just something to think about.

0
9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

on April 19, 2011
at 01:07 PM

I would think a wise move would be to introduce possible allergens through the breastmilk by eating them yourself. Small quantities of nut butter as well (like a tip of a finger's worth) might be worth mixing into other foods if it's well accepted.

0
A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

on September 03, 2010
at 01:32 AM

I would wait. I think paleo children were mostly breastfed till about second year of life, if not longer, with slowly added solid food. I think the safest thing to do would be to begin with the most simple foods, no exotic or non-local. cooked meat with no spices, mixed with some cooked veggies, eggs. even fruits much later on, as they cause often digestive problems. Apples are better baked and then mushed, than raw. then slowly try a few berries here and there.

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