I may be a bit biased, but I think that every parent could benefit from working with a pediatric nutritionist. Most pediatricians get very minimal training in nutrition and often don’t have the time to answer questions in depth. Dietitians, however, specialize in just feeding and often our appointments are longer, giving us more time to focus on any area of concerns you may have.
Food allergies are one of the most challenging aspects of feeding kids. Many parents feel a lot of stress when introducing allergens or feel completely alone when they get a diagnosis like FPIES. There is so much parents want to know about food allergies and so much conflicting information available.
Egg allergy is one of the most common allergies in children, but most children will eventually outgrow their allergy. It is estimated that by age 6, up to 71% of children will outgrow their egg allergy. This does mean that almost 30% of people will remain allergic to eggs for their entire lives.
Of the children with an egg allergy, up to 70% will tolerate egg baked into food. When you heat the egg, you can break up the protein enough so that the body doesn’t recognize it as a threat. Consuming eggs in baked foods consistently over time may lead to resolution of an egg allergy over time.
Milk allergy is the most common allergy in infants and young children, affecting around 2.5% of children under the age of 3. There are actually 2 categories of milk allergies: IgE mediated and non-IgE mediated. We often see non-IgE mediated milk allergy in young infants and many will outgrow it by their first birthday. This article, however, will be focusing on IgE mediated milk allergy.
When a person with milk allergy is exposed to the proteins in milk, the proteins bind to IgE antibodies that trigger the immune system, causing a reaction. Up to 70% of children with this allergy can tolerate milk baked into foods. Once the milk has been heated, it changes the structure of the protein enough so that the body doesn’t respond to it. Tolerating baked milk while young is a good sign that a child may outgrow their milk allergy. Up to 75% of children will outgrow their milk allergy.
Figuring out which formula to choose can be extremely stressful (ignoring the shortage at hand), but choosing a formula for a baby with a milk protein allergy is even more complicated. Balancing out which formula will be best for your baby while also keeping in mind the rising costs of formula as they get more specialized is challenging, to say the least.
Shellfish allergies are the most common food allergies in adults and a common allergy in children as well (1). It is incredibly rare for someone to outgrow a shellfish allergy. The most common shellfish allergy is an allergy to shrimp. Similar to fish, many people (about 60%) will not experience their first reaction until they are adults.
As summer ends and school heads back into session, you may be concerned about what to do if your child has a food allergy. While all schools handle food allergies slightly differently, there are some common themes. It’s important to have a plan in place and make sure that everyone is on board, including your child.
Unlike some of the other top allergens, many people (up to 40%) with a fish allergy won’t develop a reaction until they are an adult. This doesn’t mean that fish allergy can’t happen in babies, but it’s important to keep it in the diet and watch for a reaction all throughout life.
Finned fish are different from shellfish. Being allergic to one doesn’t mean that you’ll be allergic to the other. In one study, salmon, tuna, catfish, and cod were the fish that seemed to cause the most reactions. Most people are told to avoid all types of finned fish if they are allergic to one type.