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Introducing Allergens To Baby One-By-One Vs All At Once

August 26, 2022 3 min read

When it comes to introducing allergens to your little one, there are two popular ways: multi-allergen introduction and one at a time. As a parent, you may have heard conflicting advice about this, and feel unsure of how to start getting these allergens into your child’s diet early and consistently. 

If you are stuck wondering - which way is right? - follow along as we break down the pros and cons of each method. 

Introducing allergens one at a time

Past guidance has stated that allergens should be introduced one at a time, over the course of months, in order to evaluate each food’s risk and your child’s reaction.

New pediatric guidance and studies have repeatedly shown that food allergy introduction should start at 4-6 months, alongside the introduction of first foods. If you take the “one at a time” method, you would need to prepare, cook, and introduce each of the 9 most common allergens in a child-friendly format on a consistent basis.

While this is a safe and well-used method, it can be difficult to get all these allergens into your baby's diet in a timely and age-appropriate manner. It can also elongate the critical window of time when your child needs to be exposed to these allergens to help support their tummy tolerance. 

Pros: 

  • You can evaluate your child’s reaction to each individual food over a period of time
  • You can see how they experience the taste of each allergen

Cons: 

  • Introduction becomes a lengthy process
  • It becomes more expensive and time-consuming to prepare each individual food
  • It can be more difficult to get your child to eat foods such as shellfish, fish, and sesame
  • It is difficult to serve all food allergens in an age-appropriate format, such as milk

Multi-allergen introduction

Is it safe to introduce multiple allergens at once? The answer is yes! And not only is it safe, but there are studies that show feeding more than one allergen at a time can result in more benefits than a one-by-one approach.

One of those studies was by Dr. Kari Nadeau, globally renowned pediatric allergist and founder of SpoonfulONE, who found that feeding multiple proteins simultaneously resulted in greater benefits than feeding one or two proteins at a time. 

Her research found that feeding 10 food allergens in combination (egg, milk, shrimp, salmon, almond, hazelnut, walnut, peanut, cashew, and wheat) actually decreased allergy-triggering antibodies, and increased allergy-blocking antibodies - more than just feeding one or two food proteins at a time! 

With an increasing number of studies showing that it is a safe and acceptable method of introduction (if not preferred), multi-allergen introduction gets your baby accustomed to the most common food allergens in a fast and easy format.  

Pros: 

Cons:

  • If your child does have a reaction, it will take further testing to discover to which food

One At A Time vs All At Once: Which Is Best?

When it comes to feeding allergens one by one, versus all at once, both are acceptable and safe methods of introduction, and ultimately, it’s not the order that matters, but getting them all introduced early and consistently! In fact, the most important thing to keep in mind while your child is growing is diet diversity.

Early life nutrition plays an important role in modulating the microbiome, training the immune system, and helping to prevent diseases later in life. A lack of diet diversity is a known risk factor for developing a food allergy, so the most important thing is to make sure your child is eating a diverse and varied diet. 

Multi-allergen introduction is the fastest way to get all these diverse food allergens into your child’s diet - early and consistently over time.

If you're looking for more guidance, take our Food Allergen Introduction Quiz! It's designed to help identify the best customized meal plan for your little one as you're starting your allergen introduction journey.

Introduce Allergens To Baby With SpoonfulONE

As babies can be picky eaters, getting anything into their diet consistently can be a difficult chore. That’s why SpoonfulONE is here to make it easy. 

In one delicious serving, you can easily introduce and maintain the 16 foods responsible for 90% of food allergies*. And with multiple baby-friendly formats, SpoonfulONE can grow with your child’s new food tastes and preferences. 

If you’re looking for a simpler way to help your baby love and tolerate all foods, join the SpoonfulONE family!