March 21, 2022

How To Introduce Allergens To Your Infant

How To Introduce Allergens To Your Infant

Written by Vanessa McNamara, The Travelling Dietitian.

The guidelines for when and how to introduce food allergens to babies have changed significantly in the last 5-10 years. It is little wonder that parents are confused about when to introduce foods such as egg, peanut, soy, tree nut, shellfish etc. 


A landmark study in 2015, called the LEAP study (Learning Early About Peanut) provided significant evidence to support a real shift for the early introduction of foods. This study was the first randomized controlled trial (a gold standard in research terms) to show that early introduction of peanut can be an effective preventative strategy against the development of peanut allergy. 

Current guidelines around the world for all infants now suggests:

  • Exclusive breastfeeding for around the first 6 months of life
  • From around 6 months, but not before 4 months, introduce complementary foods alongside continued breastfeeding
  • Pureed vegetables, fruit, starchy foods and protein are suitable first foods
  • Excluding egg and peanut from your baby’s diet may increase their risk of food allergy
  • Include common allergy-causing foods by 12 months in an age appropriate form.
  • Once introduced, continue to give twice weekly to maintain tolerance
  • For infants at high risk of developing food allergies, please speak to your doctor before introducing food allergens. High risk infants include those who have severe eczema and/or those who already have a food allergy (particularly egg).

Food allergens:

The following allergens are the foods that most often cause food allergy and anaphylaxis and should be introduced before 12 months:

Tree nuts
Sesame and other seeds

How to introduce peanut: 

  • Never give whole or coarsely chopped nuts or chunky peanut butter if under 5
  • Use smooth peanut butter or grind whole peanuts to a fine powder
  • Mix with pureed fruit/vegetables, yoghurt, porridge, baby cereal etc.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon of smooth peanut butter with 1 tablespoon warm (boiled) water or baby’s milk or pureed fruit/vegetable
  • Offer
    • Day 1 – 1/4 teaspoon
    • Day 2 – ½ teaspoon
    • Day 3 – 1 teaspoon

How to introduce egg:

  • Boil an egg until hard boiled and cooked through
  • Mix both yolk and white with vegetable puree, warm milk or cooled boiled water until smooth
  • Offer
  • Day 1 - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Day 2 – ½ teaspoon
  • Day 3 – 1 teaspoon


How to introduce

Tree nuts

Never give whole to children under 5.

Use finely ground nuts or nut butter (eg. Almond or cashew butter). Mix with pureed fruits/vegetables or add to yoghurt, porridge or milk.

Cow’s milk

Plain yoghurt or add fresh cow’s milk to meals, pureed fruit/vegetables or porridge.


Wheat-based cereal, well cooked pasta shapes, toast fingers, couscous


Pureed, flaked or mashed cooked fish (eg. white fish or salmon) or seafood (eg. Prawns, crab, mussels)


Tahini (mixed with puree or in hummus), crushed seeds added to pureed fruit/vegetables, yoghurt or porridge.


Silken tofu mixed with pureed vegetables/fruit or cereal mixed with fortified soy milk


Taleii’s Top Tip:

Add ¼ teaspoon smooth peanut butter (no added sugar or salt) to Taleii’s Pear, Oat, Flax and Vanilla as a tasty way to introduce peanut to your infant.

Mix ¼ teaspoon well cooked boiled egg with Taleii’s Broccoli, Pear, Quinoa for a delicious and well-balanced meal containing iron, protein and as a way to introduce egg to your infant.

To introduce soy, mix one teaspoon of silken tofu with Taleii’s Zucchini, Mint and Pea for a creamy delicious meal high in iron, protein and calcium.


Written by Vanessa McNamara, The Traveling Dietitian.