Allergies & Nutrition
It may initially sound surprising, but it is desirable for a baby to get to know food with allergenic potential in its first year of life. That way, the immune system can be trained and strengthened at an early stage. According to current scientific findings, it is even advantageous for infants who are prone to allergies. Therefore, cow milk, fish and egg may be introduced gradually, depending on the needs of the baby, as of the beginning of the 5th month of life. Even for breastfed, allergy-prone children, cow milk should be introduced in small quantities in the evening grain porridge.
What Is An Allergy?In a real food allergy, the human immune system is oversensitive to a specific protein found in food. Proteins that are triggers for allergies are also called allergens. Because different foods contain very different proteins, allergic reactions happen very specifically only after contact to a specific food or ingredient. In the event of other types of intolerance, on the other hand, the immune system is not involved, for example lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance.
Symptoms in infants usually occur in the skin and gastro-intestinal tract. They range from dry, scaly or weeping areas of the skin, unpleasant itching, rashes and pimples right up to a sore bottom. Regular vomiting, diarrhoea and blood in the stool after eating a specific food are signs that could indicate an allergy.
The Role Of Breast Milk In Allergy Prevention
Breast milk is the best-suited food for allergy prevention in infants. In the first few hours after birth, the milk is especially high in immunity agents and support the child’s resistance. It can be called the first oral vaccination. Breast milk is matched best to the needs of the infant and provides all the nutrients that the baby needs. Intolerance to breast milk is extremely rare. Exclusive breastfeeding protects the child because it excludes giving any other milk and hence too early contact to possible allergens such as cow milk or soy. If supplemental food is added later, then breastfeeding is still possible and even desirable. This is because new supplemental food is more compatible together with breast milk. This also applies to gluten, a protein component that is found in most types of grain. Therefore, it is super if grain-porridge is prepared with breast milk and for 1-3 breastfeeding meals to still be maintained generally in addition to supplemental food.
Our Recommendation For A Low-Allergen Diet:
- 1. If you want to get your baby used to supplemental food gradually, then you will be on the safe side to get to know possible intolerances or allergies. The following is a rule of thumb: Only introduce one new food per week and only replace one breastfeeding meal with a new supplemental food meal per month
- 2. Allergy prevention with breast milk can be supported very well by choosing the right supplemental food. Boiled vegetables and fruit are suitable as the first supplemental food because they trigger allergies much less than raw fruit and vegetables.
- 3. Mono-grain porridges, which only contain one variety of grain, are very well suited to gently adding food. Gluten-free millet porridge can, for example, be prepared with fruit or vegetables as a milk-free meal. Combining grain with breast milk into a grain porridge is particularly advantageous.
Feeding in the event of an allergy to cow milk
If an allergy to cow milk has been determined, then you must not give your baby any cow milk and also no products that contain cow milk in any form.
Fortunately, an allergy to cow milk can often disappear. Hence, many toddlers who are affected can tolerate milk and milk products without any problem around their 3rd birthday. You should talk to your paediatrician about when cow milk can be reintroduced.
In the event of an allergy to cow milk:
The classical starting and follow-on formulas that are based on cow milk are not suitable.
Even hidden milk components such as milk powder, casein, and cream have to be avoided. In case of doubt, ask the manufacturer!
Based on the state of the art in food science, hypoallergenic food (HA food) provides the most effective protection for the prevention of a potential cow milk allergy when it comes to breast milk replacement products. The cow milk protein in it is broken down to the greatest possible extent so that its allergy-inducing properties are reduced considerably.
Since hypoallergenic food is based on cow milk, it still contains a certain amount of more or less intact protein components. An immune system that is already on alert status will react to that. Therefore, HA milk foods are unsuitable for an existing allergy to cow milk protein and must also no longer be given.
In such a case, semi-elemental food must be given. The special feature here are the protein hydrolysates, that are highly broken down. The other nutrients such as carbohydrates, milk fat, vitamins and minerals are added based on the building block principle.
Plant milks such as soy milk, oat milk and almond milk are not suitable substitutes for breast milk because important nutrients are missing. Such products should be used as a beverage after the transition to family food at the earliest (approx. after the 1st year), if variety in the meal plan is desired. Milk from other animal species, e.g. goats, sheep or mares milk, is not recommended, because it does not meet the nutritional requirements of the infant without special treatment.
Recommendations for an intolerance to grain
Gluten intolerance (also called coeliac disease) requires a special diet. You can find more information on this topic under the “Miscellaneous recommendations" heading. In the event of coeliac disease (gluten intolerance), then gluten-free grain is suitable: rice, millet, corn.
In the event of wheat allergy, wheat-free products must be given.
- Holle Organic Rice Porridge
- Holle Organic Millet Porridge
- Holle Organic Oats Porridge
- Holle Organic 3 Grain Porridge
- Holle Organic Millet with Apple & Pear Porridge
- Holle Organic Millet Milk Porridge
Always pay attention to the list of ingredients, especially for products that are made with several ingredients, e.g. fruit jars with rusks (contains wheat and gluten).
Gluten intolerance is not a real allergy, because the immune system is not involved in the reactions. The symptoms of so-called coeliac disease can, however, be just as serious. If there is intolerance to gluten, then a limitation to the choice of food is required, i.e. complete avoidance of varieties of grain and products that contain gluten.
The risk of developing coeliac disease can be reduced for the baby if you stick to the following rules:
no contact to gluten before the end of the 4th month! first gluten given as of the 5th – 7th month (introduction of food supplements) start with small amounts of grain that contains gluten, and then increase slowly the best thing is to introduce gluten while you are still breastfeeding
Other Food That Should Be Avoided In The 1st Year Of Life:
- Honey, Sweets, Chocolate