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Introducing Chocolate - When Can I Give My Baby Chocolate?

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Question: Introducing Chocolate - When Can I Give My Baby Chocolate?
Chocolate allergy is actually quite rare, though it can still occur. It is not in the big 8 list of food allergies, though ingredients commonly found in chocolate are in this list and make chocolate a food to exercise caution with when it comes to your infant.
Answer:

It's often recommended that you do not give your baby chocolate until after they are a year old and sometimes this comes with a warning about children frequently being allergic to it. In reality, however, there is not much evidence to support this. This advice is likely a carry-over from years past when allergic reactions were attributed to chocolate, but were really a result of allergy to other ingredients (like soy, peanuts, tree nuts and dairy) that chocolate frequently contains. Food labeling requirements were not strictly enforced until 2004-2006 so many parents and health care providers assumed chocolate was the culprit. Education about cross-contamination has also exonerated chocolate from its status as a highly allergenic offender.

To be on the safe side, you can wait until your child is a year old (especially if you have a family history of allergies) but if you choose to introduce it earlier, choose types that don't contain other potential allergens. The darker chocolate varieties contain less of these ingredients, especially dairy.

Whether or not you have a history, the first time you introduce chocolate, be sure to watch for the signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficulty breathing or asthma symptoms, swelling of the mouth or throat, vomiting or diarrhea and loss of consciousness), know how to respond and be ready to call 9-1-1 immediately.

Do you have a question you'd like to see answered? You can send your questions to me at babyparenting@aboutguide.com and I will answer them here on the site.

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