Did you know about 7% of babies and young children have a food allergy and infants are at greater risk for developing a food allergy if a biological parent or sibling has on?
Here is what our research says.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends introducing babies to infant cereals between 4 and 6 months of age.
But, many of the new moms still wonder, with children who may be susceptible, which cereal is least likely to cause allergies in infants?
Food Allergies in Children
Understanding what food allergies are, what ingredients are (or are not) used and nutritional benefits of infant cereals available on the market today will help you understand what is best for your child.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reports that the prevalence of food allergies in children increased by 50% between 1997 and 2011. Eight major food allergens are responsible for most of the serious reactions in the United States:
- Tree nuts
- Crustacean shellfish
Now, some of you might think it's a food intolerance.
A food intolerance is not the same as a food allergy although symptoms may be the same.
Food allergies cause an immune system response and can be life-threatening, an intolerance does not.
Symptoms of both an allergy or intolerance can result in hives, diarrhea or vomiting to name a few.
So we know what you’re thinking. The most common allergens are not in most infant cereals anyway, right?
Let’s find out!
Let us tell you.
Transitioning from breast milk or formula to infant cereal is known to be a great first food due to the consistency and nutritional benefits.
Here is what our data says.
By 6 months, iron is no longer produced at the level needed for infants which is why iron-fortified cereals are such a good choice when transitioning to solid foods.
Not all countries, however, approach first infant cereal the same way, and choices may be determined by cultural beliefs:
- Some countries such as France and Spain only provide recommendations about whether to introduce cereals with or without gluten, and advise on providing gluten-free before five and six months of age.
- Rice cereal is most popular in the United Kingdom and Ireland while oat cereal is the first introduction in the Nordics and Baltics – except Norway where rice is most common.
- In the United States, iron-fortified baby cereals primarily from rice or oats are used in order for infants to get the recommended 11 milligrams.
Types of Infant Cereal
Regardless of where you live, several options of are available to choose from.
If you have concerns for a food allergy, paying attention to the main ingredient of the cereal whether that be rice, oat or quinoa, as an example, is just as important as paying attention to other ingredients.
Below are the pros and cons of infant cereals available today.
The FDA released an analysis of arsenic in 1,100 samples of rice and rice products, including 69 samples of infant cereals.
They found a range between 0.6-3.8 mcg/serving, with some of the highest levels found in organic brown rice cereal. It is recommended to avoid feeding infants multiple types of rice products daily - crackers, puffs or snacks.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends oatmeal cereal for babies with acid reflux and some experts recommend oatmeal over rice cereal due to the possible arsenic exposure. Oatmeal is also a complex carbohydrate and offers better nutritional benefits than rice cereal.
Pseudocereals, such as quinoa or amaranth are often included within the true cereals as a result of such similar nutritional profiles and uses. Below are some pseudocereals to consider for your baby:
What Infant Cereal Is Right For Your Baby?
So we can tell you this.
For some parents, the first indication that their baby has a potential food allergy starts in infancy.
When a baby is breastfed and experiences discomforts ranging from reflux, blood in stools and fussy behaviors, these can be signs of potential allergies.
Other babies may not develop symptoms until the introduction of solid foods.
The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines state not to avoid allergenic food beyond 4 to 6 months.
Introducing potentially allergenic foods earlier rather than later has been studied with successful preventative outcomes.
It is possible to be allergic to rice and oats outside of the most common allergens.
Our recommendation is.
- The best way to avoid an allergy is to start with one new food ingredient at a time and monitor symptoms.
- Be cautious when buying infant cereals with added ingredients so you can differentiate between the new foods when introducing them to your baby. Therefore, we recommend to make your own baby food for a peace of mind
- As always, talk to your pediatrician if you are concerned about food allergies to determine the best plan of action for you and your child.