Childhood Food Allergy Prevention Questions, Answered!: Part 1 With Dr. Matthew

Dr. Matthew answers common questions about childhood food allergy prevention and why he recommends Ready, Set, Food!. He is a member of the scientific advisory board for Ready, Set, Food! Learn more about Ready, Set, Food!’s pediatrician-recommended approach and why 150+ pediatricians and allergists recommend Ready, Set, Food! here.

In your 40 years of experience, what trends have you witnessed with respect to food allergies?

When I finished my residency in pediatrics in 1979, food allergies were rare and there was very low awareness. Now 1 in 13 children suffer from food allergies (in California, it’s 1 in 11) and unfortunately, I’ve seen that same troubling trend in my own practice. In addition, my 1 year old grandson suffers from multiple food allergies, and I’ve seen the toll it takes on the entire family.

How can parents help their children prevent food allergies?

The British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Foundation (AAAAI) are now recommending that parents introduce highly allergenic foods starting as early as 4-6 months of age, with recent studies on childhood food allergy prevention supporting that early introduction can help decrease the risk of allergy to that specific food by 67-80%.

I think it’s important for any parents of infants to understand the following:

  • Starting as early as 4-6 months of age, earlier introduction may be more effective at reducing the risk of food allergies. Parents should not delay as studies suggest that delaying introduction may put your child at a greater risk for developing food allergies.
  • Studies also suggest sustained exposure is critical and just as important as early introduction, meaning parents must continue allergen exposure multiple times a week for several months.

How do your recommendations change (if at all) if the baby has eczema?

Babies with eczema are at the highest risk, specifically with more than a 3X increased risk of food allergies. In fact, two of the three recent clinical studies were especially focused on infants with eczema and the new NIH guidelines on peanut introduction are specifically for infants with eczema to help reduce the risk of developing peanut allergies.

If a baby has mild to moderate eczema, I still recommend introducing potential allergenic foods at 4 months. However, if they have severe eczema, I always refer them to an allergist for a skin-prick or allergy testing. If they are cleared for allergies, then I continue to recommend early allergen introduction as supported by the new FDA recommendations.

Do you think eating allergenic foods while breastfeeding is enough to prevent allergies?

No. There has not been enough conclusive evidence that eating allergenic foods while breastfeeding has a protective effect, however, eating them also doesn’t increase the risk of developing an allergy. Therefore, according to recent studies, early allergen introduction in infants has been proven to be the most effective at preventing food allergies and is still recommended regardless of a mother’s diet while breastfeeding.

Do you have any advice for parents that are nervous about introducing allergenic foods?

It’s normal for parents to be nervous about giving their babies potentially allergenic foods, but in the three clinical trials with early introduction starting at 4 months with over 2,000 babies there were zero cases of anaphylaxis or hospitalizations. I recommend that parents introduce the smallest amounts possible of each food before gradually increasing dosage, similar to the approach taken by Ready, Set, Food! If they show any signs of sensitivity (e.g. rash, itching), I tell them to stop immediately and consult an allergist for testing.

Why do you recommend Ready, Set, Food! at every 4 month visit?

I tell parents that the most important thing is for them to introduce allergenic foods early and often, but since most families find that challenging to do on their own I recommend Ready, Set, Food! because it is:

  • Easy to use – Mixing in with a bottle of breastmilk or formula makes it easy for parents to follow the studies and begin early and sustained allergen introduction starting at 4 months of age
  • Evidence-based – With dosage based directly on the landmark clinical studies to help significantly reduce the risk of developing food allergies
  • Organic and All Natural – Contains only organic, non-GMO peanut, egg, and milk with no additives or added sugar.

Learn more about how Ready, Set, Food! makes it easy to follow the guidelines to reduce your child’s risk of developing food allergies here.

Interested in receiving a free intro pack ($24 value)? Claim this special offer for Oak Park Pediatrics families and get your head-start towards an allergy-free future here.

———————————-
All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your infant has severe eczema, check with your infant’s healthcare provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts.

Childhood Food Allergy Prevention Questions, Answered!: Part 2 With Dr. Hochman

Dr. Hochman answers common questions about childhood food allergy prevention and why she recommends Ready, Set, Food!. She is a member of the scientific advisory board for Ready, Set, Food! Learn more about why 150+ pediatricians and allergists recommend Ready, Set, Food! here.

What do you tell parents about food allergy prevention?

Parents often tell me they’re not worried about food allergies because it’s not in their family. This is a common misconception – over 50% of kids with food allergies have no family history. Many parents are also nervous to offer their baby potentially allergenic foods like peanut, but we now know that avoidance is not the correct recommendation and could be attributed to the rise in food allergies.

The link between early exposure to allergens and low allergy rates was first observed in Israel, where infants are fed peanut very early on and peanut allergies are rare (0.17% prevalence as compared to 1.7% in the UK and 1.4% in the US). This observation was confirmed in three clinical trials (the LEAP, EAT, and PETIT studies), where infants who were fed peanut, egg, and milk starting at 4-11 months had a 67-80% reduced risk of developing allergies to those foods.

Based on these studies and new national guidelines, I recommend parents introduce peanuts, eggs, and milk into their baby’s diet starting around 4-6 months and continuing to feed these foods for several months.

If my baby is older than 6 months, is it too late introduce allergens?

No. Although earlier exposure is recommended, starting as late as 11 months of age has shown to also be effective in reducing risk. Although many parents worry that a younger baby will have a reaction, research shows that allergic reactions are much less severe in younger infants than in toddlers and older children, so there is no reason to delay.

Is eating peanut, egg and milk while breastfeeding enough to prevent food allergies?

This is a question that many of my parents ask but unfortunately no, breastfeeding is not enough. While breastfeeding has many benefits and I encourage moms to eat these allergenic foods while nursing, current research suggests it is not enough to prevent allergies. That’s why national medical guidelines still recommend that early and sustained introduction starting at 4-6 months regardless if a mother is exclusively breastfeeding as it is the most effective way to prevent allergies.

Do your recommendations changes for an infant with eczema?

No. In fact, approximately 30% of babies with eczema will develop food allergies, so early allergen introduction is particularly important for this high-risk group. National medical organizations such as the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Foundation (AAAAI) recommend that parents of babies with eczema begin allergen introduction starting at 4 months, and it is extremely important to not delay introduction in this group. That being said, if your baby has severe eczema, current guidelines recommend they get allergy tested prior to introduction.

Why do you recommend Ready, Set, Food!?

I’ve been recommending early allergen introduction, but I was concerned about choking, dosage, and how parents would manage sustaining exposure for several months. I recommend Ready, Set, Food! because of its:

  1. Controlled dosage to maximize safety and efficacy — Ready, Set, Food! uses the same dosage as the studies with a stepwise approach (introducing one food at a time) per pediatric guidelines. Since a lot of parents wonder how much to feed and how often, this product takes out all of that guesswork. Simply put, it is the safest way to introduce peanut, egg, and milk to your baby.
  2. Ease to start early and SUSTAIN exposure – It’s common for parents to delay allergen introduction because their baby is not ready to eat solid foods at 4 months of age. Ready, Set, Food! allows parents to start early by mixing in their pre-measured packets to their baby’s bottle of breastmilk or formula. In addition, a lot of parents will give their baby peanuts only once or twice, but this is not enough – they need to be fed 2-3 times a week for several months to reduce the risk. And, their daily packet system makes that easy.
  3. All-natural, non-GMO and organic ingredients: Ready, Set, Food! is made of only real, organic foods and nothing else – just peanut, egg, and milk – with no added sugars or preservatives.

Learn more about how Ready, Set, Food! makes it easy to follow the guidelines to reduce your child’s risk of developing food allergies here.

Interested in receiving a free intro pack ($24 value)? Claim this special offer for Oak Park Pediatrics families and get your head-start towards an allergy-free future here.

———————————-
All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your infant has severe eczema, check with your infant’s healthcare provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts.

Dr. Matthew’s daughter joins the practice 30 years later!

An article from the Acorn in 1981 about Dr. Matthew opening his practice Oak Park, CA.  Notice who he’s holding in the picture; it’s Dr. Hochman when she was 6 months old!

Andy Matthew Opens Practice

Update to families on carseats!

If you have not heard already, Under California law starting on January 1st, children must use car seats until they are 8 years old or 4-feet-9 inches tall, a change from the previous requirement of 6 years or 60 pounds. This means, there are many 6 year olds who have already “graduated” from booster seats who now need to get back into car seats.   The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a child should remain in a booster seat until they are tall enough for seat belts to fit comfortably across the lap and shoulder. Parents may receive a fine of more than $475 and a point on the driving record for not complying! If you have questions or need help, call NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236 or call 866-SEATCHECK (866-732-8243).

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204319004577087420326708922.html

Preventing Cavities in Children

Pediatric dentists are seeing a rise in preschool cavities.  But there are many things that parents can do to prevent them! First, remember to make an appointment to see the pediatric dentist (the American Academy of Dentistry recommends the first visit at 1 year of age). Second, remember to watch your child’s sugar intake as well as to minimize sugar snacks and juice. Lastly, parents should assist their children with brushing (the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends assisting them until they are 8 years old!).

 www.nytimes.com/2012/03/06/health/rise-in-preschool-cavities-prompts-anesthesia-use.html