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Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE, FAAP is a mom, pediatrician, and Chief Medical Officer for SpoonfulONE. Dr. Swanson leads efforts to foster conversations with clinicians and parents around the importance of early and consistent inclusion of potential allergens in the diet.
Dr. Swanson is an author, a prominent advocate of evidence-based medicine, and has devoted her career to prevention efforts. She has been a leading voice in health care, working to revolutionize health communications to bridge the gap between parents and doctors. This work has been transformative for parents navigating the complex landscape of food allergen introduction.
A graduate in Psychology from Kenyon College, Dr. Swanson earned her MD and MBE (Master’s in Bioethics) at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School Of Medicine and then completed her residency at Seattle Children’s Hospital with the University of Washington. She practiced community pediatrics with The Everett Clinic for 12 years. Dr. Swanson is a media contributor and functions as an official spokesperson for a number of leading pediatric organizations.
Sesame Included as Top Allergen
"There are1.5 million Americans living with a sesame allergy. I am thrilled to see sesame added as the 9th top allergen. Parents often forget about the importance of getting sesame into the diet early, around 4-6 months of age. My hope is this will empower parents to feed sesame and serve as a reminder that early and routine feeding of common allergens can reduce food allergy risk."
“We want parents to feel confidence when feeding their babies, not fear. My hope is that you give your babies ALL types of foods and raise them to be adventurous eaters. I’m talking fruits, veggies, meats, fish, shellfish, eggs, dairy, the whole kitchen sink. Don’t go slow, get lots of different foods in their diet every single day.”
New USDA Infant Feeding Guidelines
“The new USDA infant feeding guidelines are historic and truly embrace science and new data. Their shift to recommend early and routine feeding of common allergens beginning around 4-6 months of age will only benefit children. We now know that the inclusion of common allergens (peanut, tree nut, fish, dairy, shellfish, soy, egg, & sesame) are so important to reduce risk. I realize this is a complete reversal. Pediatricians, like me, used to say wait and go slow. That is no longer the case and I advise for early and routine feeding of common allergens.”
How To Reduce Food Allergy Risk
“There is one primary way to reduce food allergy risk: early and routine allergen feeding. Exposing our babies - in their gut - is how we do it. Make every single bite count. Don’t just get the basic rice cereal and banana purees in their diet. Add all the other amazing foods that will keep them healthy like eggs, peanuts, and shellfish. Sneak those allergens into those little bellies as often as possible to build up their immune system. Let’s raise fearless eaters who are able to travel the world and eat anything they want. What an amazing gift to be able to give our children.”
Pacing Food Introduction
"Slower exposure isn’t in our baby’s best interest. In fact, going slow or delaying actually increases food allergy risk. We need to get over our fear of foods, grow confidence, andstart exposing babies as early as possible to peanuts, eggs, shellfish, soy, milk, sesame, wheat… and everything else too."
"Research shows that babies with eczema can be over 600% more likely to develop a food allergy. In fact, it’s the number one risk factor for developing food allergies – representing an even bigger risk than having a family history of allergies."
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