ABOUT 90% of food allergies are caused by just seven foods:

  • Peanuts
  • Hen's eggs
  • Cow's milk
  • Other nuts
  • Wheat
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Soybeans

To reduce the chances of your child developing an allergy, experts recommend some simple steps for mothers:

Eat a well-balanced diet while pregnant or breastfeeding

Raising Children says some parents believe avoiding potential allergy-causing foods while pregnant or breastfeeding will reduce the likelihood of a baby developing allergies. The reality is it won't make a difference and may deprive your baby of important nutrients.

Eat fish

Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) recommends eating up to three serves of oily fish a week while pregnant and breastfeeding as it may help prevent eczema in early life.

Introduce foods at six months

ASCIA recommends the introduction of solid foods at about six months, but not before four months, and preferably while breastfeeding. There is some evidence this is protective against the development of allergic disease.

Introduce eggs early

There is moderate evidence that introducing cooked eggs into an infant's diet before eight months of age, where there is a family history of allergy, can reduce the risk of developing egg allergy, according to ASCIA.

Regular peanut intake

ASCIA says there is good evidence that for infants with severe eczema and/or egg allergies, regular peanut intake before 12 months of age can reduce the risk of developing a peanut allergy. If your child already has an egg allergy or other food allergies or severe eczema, you should discuss how to do this with your doctor.

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