By Katie Marks-Cogan M.D.
There is groundbreaking new research that’s changing the way allergists look at childhood food allergy prevention. Unfortunately 1 in 13 children in the US now suffer from a food allergy. Thankfully, findings from these recent landmark studies have shown us that a baby’s risk of developing common food allergies can be reduced by up to 80% through early and frequent exposure to allergenic foods.
Here are my 5 lessons for early allergen introduction to help reduce your infant’s risk of developing a food allergy based on this breakthrough research:
- For infants with eczema, consult your pediatrician first: Infants with eczema are at the highest risk for developing a food allergy, however a discussion with your pediatrician is required before introducing any allergenic foods.
- Starting early: Studies show that there is a critical window starting around 4 months to introduce allergenic foods. In fact, delaying introduction may put your child at a greater risk for developing a food allergy.
- Only introduce when it’s best for baby: When planning to introduce allergenic foods, choose a time when baby is healthy and a parent/caregiver can monitor for any signs of an allergic reaction for at least 2 hours.
- Start with a small dose, then gradually increase: The approach of one landmark study suggests that stepwise introduction (starting with a small dose and increasing to a higher dose) was a safe approach to introducing allergenic foods.
- Sustaining exposure: Continuing exposure to allergenic foods for several months is critical to reducing your baby’s risk of developing a food allergy. In fact, several landmark studies exposed infants to allergenic foods 2-7 times/week for 3-6+ months.
We’re proud to tell parents that Ready, Set, Food! is not only based on the dosing in the landmark clinical trials, but also is organic, non-GMO, and does not contain any added sugar or other additives. Learn more about how Ready, Set, Food! can make lowering your child’s risk of developing a food allergy easy and all-natural here.
While this latest research on food allergy prevention is exciting, I’ve also seen many families struggle to comply with the new guidelines - particularly with sustaining exposure. As a mom of two, I understand that getting a 4-11 month old to eat anything on a consistent basis is challenging given that most infants are picky eaters. That’s why we, along with a team of leading medical experts and inspired parents, developed Ready, Set, Food! so that parents everywhere can feel confident giving their child the best head-start towards an allergy-free future.
Katie Marks-Cogan, M.D. is board certified in Allergy/Immunology and Internal Medicine, and treats both pediatric and adult patients. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she received her M.D. with honors from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She then completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Northwestern and fellowship in Allergy/Immunology at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania and CHOP. After finishing training, she moved to Southern California and currently works in private practice. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, 3 year old son, and 5 month old daughter where she enjoys hiking, building LEGO castles with her son, and cooking with her family.
Dr. Marks-Cogan is a member of the scientific advisory board for Ready, Set, Food!