New Evidence Calls Into Doubt Old Theories On Egg Allergies And Babies
Posted Oct 04 2010 5:01pm
By Les Scammell - editor Just4Families
In researching this story I was surprised to see that here in Australia there are eight different standards when it come to food, babies, and allergies. Most are based on the World Health Organization, however, their policies are designed for third world countries where fresh products, cooking and clean water are in doubtful supply. In the western world, things are completely different and that is becoming apparent with new research.
The current policy when it comes to the introduction of eggs to babies is now being called into question. The current policy advises parents to not introduce eggs until the child is at least 12 months old, and at least two years old if their is a family history of egg allergies. Current research is now showing that if egg is introduced between four and six months of age, babies three times less likely to develop an allergy, and that is despite any family history of egg allergies. In fact, if you cook the egg right, the risk is five times less.
We here at Just4Familes have long advocated a change in policies when it comes to how we are bringing up our children. Our great grand parents seemed to have had the balance right. Introduce food when baby is looking for it and the best way to start at four or five months is to just give them a taste from your own plate. If you are eating it then baby figures it must be good and will at least try. There is often a temptation, say at six months, to put a certain amount of food in a bowl, even if it's tablespoon full, then expect baby to eat it all. Let them start by taste testing yours.
There seems to be a window between four and six months where babies digestive system is ready to sample solids. Furthermore, it seems the digestive system is not as sensitive to foods thus enabling them to taste foods without developing an allergy. More importantly, from that age onwards babies body recognizes that substance as a food. Wait until the child is 12 months old, when the digestive system has matured slightly, foods with allergens then cause reactions rather than developing tolerances.
As a society where are getting towards that 'namby pamby' stage. We clean every germ out of our lives - the good ones included. We design playground equipment that is super-safe, and we deny our children certain foods in case they get allergies.
Think about it a moment - by killing all bacteria, we are helping to create super-bacteria and we are preventing good bacteria from helping us to survive (our bodies are full of millions of bacteria and microbes that help to keep us alive). When it comes to playgrounds, we are not challenging our children and we are not letting them face dangers. We learn from mistakes, safe playgrounds don't teach that. If you make a mistake, no harm, nothing to learn. In the 'good old days', you could climb a tree. If you fell and broke an arm, you learned a real lesson - and really, is the occasional broken arm or sprained wrist really that bad?
Finally, when it comes to food, by being over protective, we could actually be doing more harm than good. In fact, that runs across the board - we are an over protective namby pamby society - perhaps its time we wound back the clock to when kids where challenged, physically, emotionally, and developmentally. I hope it's not too late to wind the clock back.
The ABC's The World Today has more information on the current research being conducted regarding eggs and babies - if you are not sure about when to start giving your baby eggs, I suggest you read the story.