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How To Introduce Sesame To Your Baby - An Early Allergen Introduction Guide

April 09, 2021 2 min read

Sesame allergies have been increasing over time and are more common than first perceived, affecting more than a million children and adults. 

Sesame is very prevalent in everyday foods and can be difficult to avoid as it’s not currently required on food labels. Only the top 8 allergy-inducing foods are currently required on food labels, making sesame a hidden, and often dangerous, ingredient.

As with other allergies, a sesame allergy can be severe, but thanks to landmark clinical studies, we now know that introducing babies to sesame early and consistently, before they turn one, is essential. 

When To Introduce Sesame To Baby

As one of the most oil-rich seeds available, sesame includes a powerhouse of nutrients that babies need to thrive including vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. It is rich in protein, fiber, calcium, iron, and zinc - which can be low in infant and toddler diets.

Sesame may be introduced as soon as a baby is ready to start solids, along with most other allergenic foods, around 4-6 months of age according to the 2020 USDA Dietary Guidelines.

There is no data to suggest that delaying sesame introduction has any benefit, so alongside other common allergenic foods, early and often introduction of sesame is recommended.

How To Introduce Sesame to Baby

Serving sesame seeds or hard sesame seed snacks to babies is not a safe method as they can pose a choking hazard. Instead, introduce sesame in a form that is appropriate for your baby. 

Is your baby ready for their first taste? Here are of our favorite ways to introduce sesame to your baby for the first time:

Homemade Recipes

Homemade hummus, without the high sodium you find in commercially prepared hummus, is one way to introduce your child to sesame. Alternatively, tahini, a sesame seed paste, can also be a great food to start with. As tahini has a similar texture to peanut butter, you should thin tahini with yogurt or applesauce before feeding so that it does not get lodged to the top of the mouth and present a choking hazard. You can feed these on a spoon, or on softened crackers or bread. 

Sesame Food Ingredient Labeling

Allergies to sesame seeds are now the 9th most common food allergy worldwide, with reactions ranging from mild to severe and including symptoms such as difficulty breathing, hives, itchiness, and more. 

White or black sesame seeds, sesame oil, or paste are widely used in the food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical industries. In food, sesame can be found in bread, cookies, cereal, hummus, soups, vegetarian products, and other snack foods. Sesame oil is also a common ingredient in many Asian cuisines, while tahini can be found in spreads, sauces, and salad dressings. 

Currently, food manufacturers do not have to disclose if sesame is included in their products. In fact, it is often listed under “spices'' on the ingredient label. Organizations like Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration are advocating for the inclusion of sesame in food packaging and labeling in the US.