Natural Feeding Guidelines For Preventing Food Allergies

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 2:05pm

By Wendy Hodsdon, ND

Infants can be very susceptible to developing food allergies, especially those with a family history of allergies, asthma or eczema. Introducing solid foods gently and avoiding common allergens during the first few years of life can minimize an individual’s later problem with allergies.

The time to start adding solid foods to an infant’s diet is when her teeth start to appear and she starts reaching for solid food. This usually occurs between five and six months of age. If solid food and potentially allergenic food is introduced too early, the infant is more likely to develop an allergy to the food. Possible reactions include sneezing, a diaper rash, a rash around the mouth, a change in stool consistency, or even a change in personality. Once the immune system and intestines are more mature, the child is able to utilize a wider variety of foods without adverse effects.

For further information on introducing solids, see the following article from TheDietChannel: How to reduce the risk for food allergies in children.

What to look for in baby foods

Many of the additives put into baby food by manufacturers make it palatable to parents, who taste the food before feeding it to their babies. Infants do not need added sugar or salt in their food. Bland, simple, uncombined foods are best for infants. Look for simple, whole, organic foods without additives. The nutrient value is better and there’s less chance of a reaction.

Recommended schedule for introducing solid foods

5-9 months

The best foods are pureed, mashed vegetables that contain iron and have a low allergy potential. (Amount to feed is generally 1-2 tablespoons per day.)

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Squash
  • Yam
  • Zucchini

9-12 months

Add foods high in zinc to support the immune system. Fruits should be cooked. Cereal should be mixed with breast milk or water and cooked well to aid in digestion. (Feed generally 2-4 tablespoons per day.)

  • Apricots
  • Bananas (very ripe)
  • Beets
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Kiwi
  • Nectarines
  • Oatmeal
  • Rice cereal
  • Sweet potatoes

12-18 months

Continue foods high in zinc and add fiber. (Feed on average 4-10 tablespoons per day.)

  • Apple sauce
  • Avocado
  • Cabbage
  • Egg yolk
  • Goat’s milk (raw)
  • Parsnips
  • Peaches
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • String beans
  • Swiss chard
  • Tofu

18-21 months

Add foods high in B vitamins and calcium.

  • Barley
  • Beans
  • Buckwheat
  • Chicken (free-range)
  • Eggplant
  • Kelp
  • Lamb
  • Rutabaga
  • Rye
  • Sesame seed butter
  • Spelt
  • Spinach
  • White Fish

21 months to 2 years

Add foods high in protein and some potentially allergenic foods. Honey can be added at this time.

  • Almond butter
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Cashew butter
  • Eggs (whole)
  • Oranges
  • Pineapple
  • Turkey
  • Walnuts

2-3 years

Add more difficult-to-digest foods along with typically allergenic foods.

  • Cottage cheese
  • Corn
  • Lentils
  • Peanut butter
  • Soy
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Tomato
  • Wheat

Conclusion: develop a planned approach for offering your child a good diet with healthy foods

These recommendations are meant as guidelines. Each child is unique, and any plan must be customized to the infant’s specific needs and personal and family health history. If an infant is experiencing colic, abdominal bloating, constipation, diarrhea, skin rashes, eczema, ear infections or irritability, eliminating food allergens can make a difference. Offering a child a good diet with a variety of foods can avert many potential health problems later in life.

 See also How to reduce the risk for food allergies in children


Coping with Food Intolerances, Dick Thom, D.D.S., N.D., JELD publications, 1995, pp. 25-37.