Preventing Childhood Food Allergies: An Allergist-Mom’s Guide

Preventing Childhood Food Allergies: An Allergist-Mom’s Guide

Have you heard the theory, “No peanuts before the age of one!” New studies are showing that is not the case any longer. We had the opportunity to meet Dr. Katie Marks-Cogan and speak with her about food allergies in children. What a privilege this was and we learned so much about the company Ready, Set, Food! Please read what Dr. Marks-Cogan has to say about her experience with food allergies.

As a board-certified allergist, I’ve seen firsthand how families struggle with food allergies. Fortunately, recent landmark studies have shown that you can reduce your baby’s risk of developing common food allergies by feeding them allergenic foods early and consistently, starting between 4-11 months of age. But introducing babies to allergens can be challenging because many 4-11-month-olds are picky eaters. In fact, many infants aren’t developmentally ready for solid foods as early as 4 months of age.

To help make early allergen introduction easier for busy families, I’ve compiled 6 tips for food allergy prevention, based on findings from the recent studies.

  1. All Babies Can Benefit From Allergen Introduction

Food allergies are on the rise, with 1 in 10 suffering from a food allergy today. But over half of children with food allergies have no family history. That’s why early, sustained allergen introduction is recommended for all babies, regardless of family history. (If your baby has severe eczema, consult your pediatrician before feeding your baby allergenic foods, to determine if an allergy screening is required first).

  1. Start Early, Between 4-11 Months

Scientists believe that between 4-11 months of age, babies’ immune systems develop either a positive or negative response to food proteins. Consistently introducing allergenic foods during this critical window promotes a positive immune response to these foods, and helps reduce your baby’s risk for developing a food allergy. But delaying this allergen introduction may put your child at a greater risk for developing a food allergy, according to studies. So, start introducing allergens early, between 4-11 months of age.

  1. Make Sure Baby Is Healthy

When you’re ready to introduce allergens, choose a time when your baby is healthy. Also, make sure that an adult can closely monitor your baby for at least 2 hours, to watch for any signs of a reaction.

  1. Consistently Feed Your Baby Allergenic Foods

Feeding your baby allergenic foods only once or twice is not enough to help reduce their risk of developing a food allergy. Instead, your baby needs consistent exposure for their immune system to develop a positive response to these foods. In the landmark studies, infants consumed allergenic foods 2-7 times a week for 3-6+ months. (In fact, in the LEAP study, babies were exposed to allergens for 4 years.) Thus, make sure to feed your baby allergenic foods multiple times a week, for several months.

  1. Breastfeeding Alone Is Not Enough

Breastfeeding provides a wealth of benefits for your baby, but breastfeeding alone has not been conclusively proven to prevent food allergies. If you choose to breastfeed, you will also need to feed your baby allergenic foods early and often, to help reduce your baby’s risk of developing food allergies by up to 80%.

  1. Don’t Give Up!

As a mom, I know firsthand how challenging early, sustained allergen introduction can be. When my son David was 5 months old, I prepared an egg, peanut, and yogurt snacks for him to eat several times per week (peanut, egg, and milk comprise over 80% of all childhood food allergies). Unfortunately, this process was time-consuming and frustrating. Most of what I offered ended up either on my kitchen floor or on David’s bib. This difficult experience inspired me to find a solution that would make early and sustained allergen introduction easier for all families.

I worked with a team of physicians, leading allergy experts, and parents to create Ready, Set, Food!, an innovative system that can help reduce your baby’s risk of developing a food allergy by up to 80%.

Our gentle, guided system:

  • Follows the precise dosing used in landmark food allergy prevention studies. This eliminates the stress of guessing and preparing the right amounts of allergens for your baby.
  • Starts with a low dose to maximize safety, and then increases over time to a higher dose to maximize effectiveness.
  • Introduces one new food at a time, based on pediatric guidelines.
  • Dissolves into breastmilk, formula, or your baby’s favorite puree, making allergen introduction easy, even if your baby isn’t yet ready for solid foods.
  • Contains only organic, non-GMO peanut, egg, and milk – no added sugar or artificial additives.
  • Can help reduce the risk of developing peanut, egg, and milk allergies by up to 80%.
  • Is recommended by 200+ pediatricians and allergists.

We’ve partnered with Educated Nannies to make allergen introduction even easier! Use the code EDUCATEDNANNIES20 to receive $20 off any Ready, Set, Food! subscription.

To learn more about Ready, Set, Food!, and to take advantage of this exclusive offer for the Educated Nannies community, visit their website here.

About Katie Marks-Cogan, M.D.: Dr. Marks-Cogan is board certified in Allergy/Immunology and Internal Medicine, and treats both pediatric and adult patients. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she received her M.D. with honors from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She then completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Northwestern and a fellowship in Allergy/Immunology at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP). After finishing training, she moved to Southern California and currently works in private practice. She is Chief Allergist for Ready, Set, Food! She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, 3 year old son, and 8 month old daughter where she enjoys hiking, building LEGO castles with her son, and cooking with her family.

Is Motherhood Killing Your Sleep? How to thrive during Momsomnia!

Is Motherhood Killing Your Sleep? How to thrive during Momsomnia!

As a mom, horrible sleep is part of the job description. Whether it is nighttime breastfeeding, pregnancy discomfort, a kid with a nightmare, waking up in a cold sweat thinking of all the things you need to accomplish tomorrow, waiting up for your teenager to get home…there is a lot of disrupted sleep and a lot of tossing and turning. I call this Momsomnia. 

Some of your momsomnia is biological. Women have evolved to be lighter sleepers. This makes sense. Women already sleep worse than men, but motherhood adds another layer to this. Sorry ladies, it gets even worse with age.


So, what do you do with yourself when you are tossing and turning at 3am? 

Bottom line is you have some nighttime hours to kill and they could be spent doing something better than scrolling social media. Turning your momsomnia into a win-win makes is much better for your health in the long run and might make these tough years more bearable.

Here are 6 ways you can nighttime self-care. Some of them take pre-planning but, Mama, you have a little “me time” on your hands. That’s precious commodity in mommyland, so don’t waste it…

  1. Meditate: Have an meditation app pulled up on your phone and ready to go. If you struggle to find quiet time to meditate during the day, this is perfect for you.  You might fall back asleep or might gain a little zen. Either way, you win.
  2. Read a book. Don’t turn on your phone. Screen time stimulates your brain to wakefulness. Pick something inspirational or life-giving that will feed your soul.
  3. Get some creative work done.(Heck, when do you think I write these blogs?) The middle of the night can be a great time for creativity.
  4. Journal: This is particularly great for calming those racing thoughts that keep you up.
  5. Do work you would have done tomorrow. Instead of stressing about the work you’ll be too tired for tomorrow, take a quick moment to reorganize your schedule. If you are awake and alert now, do the work and schedule a midmorning nap tomorrow.
  6. Yoga: Some poses are designed for bringing peace and calm.

Self-care as a mom takes a lot of flexibility and creativity. Your schedule is going to be out of whack. What worked for you before children might not work now, and you can’t control your schedule as well as you could before. Turning these stressful moments into wins will help you not just survive motherhood, but thrive.

Author: Dr. Charlynn Ruan, clinical psychologist and founder of Thrive Psychology Group for women.

Unplugged Holiday Fun!

Unplugged Holiday Fun!

Here are some tips for kicking “Holiday Break Boredom” to the curb, and making the most of your time off together as a family.

Make Holiday Decorations
Making ornaments can be a fun and simple way to build memories that last a lifetime. All you need is paint, popsicle sticks, a clear ornament (and Pinterest of course), and you’re all set!

Families celebrating Kwanzaa can practice Zawadi as a fun family activity. Pasta necklaces are a no-mess way to celebrate this African custom of gift giving for kids. Using a fishing line or string, add red, green, and black dry pasta noodles of different shapes, and give them to friends and family members.

Volunteer At A Local Food Pantry
This is a great introduction to having conversations with your kids about helping those in need in and around the holiday season. This can also be a way for your family to engage with others who may come from different backgrounds and home origins. It teaches your kids to value others, regardless of their background. You might end up making a new friend!

Christmas Caroling At A Local Nursing Home
What a better way to show appreciation and spread holiday cheer than singing loud for all to hear? Gather your family and some friends, and organize a day at a nursing home in your community. You can spend time with the residents while singing Christmas carols, playing games, and brightening the day of those who may not have a lot of people to celebrate with during this holiday season.

Build A Gingerbread House
Whether you build one together as a family or make it a contest, this is a timeless holiday activity. Stores like Michael’s, Whole Foods and Target have DIY gingerbread houses that come pre-assembled (or, if you’re feeling up for the challenge, you can build one yourself). Gingerbread house building allows your kids to express their creativity. You might even discover you have a future architect or designer on your hands!

Family Excursion Day
Perhaps you didn’t have time for everything you wanted to do this summer. Use your child’s holiday break as a way to fit in some quality family time. Go to the ballet. See a play for the first time. Check out the local zoo or aquarium. Take the opportunity to do that one last thing as a family before the year is over!

The perfect holiday gift for your nanny!

The perfect holiday gift for your nanny!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Hanukkah and the Christmas holiday season is quickly approaching, and many parents are still searching for that perfect holiday gift for their nanny, housekeeper, teachers, and tutors. Educated Nannies has some great holiday gift ideas to share with you! 

Year End Bonus (most popular): A bonus for a nanny is an extra special “Thank you!” for dedicating time all year long to your most precious littles. A typical bonus is either one or two weeks pay depending on how long the nanny has been working with your family. If you aren’t able to afford the same bonus as you gave last year, have an open conversation with your nanny. Any monetary gift is much appreciated! 

Gift Cards:  Is there a special restaurant, retail or online store your nanny likes to shop at?  Would she enjoy an afternoon at the spa or getting a mani or pedi, but would never splurge on herself?  Gift cards make the perfect gift for a nanny who is always putting the needs of others first!  

Lessons or Memberships:  Does your nanny enjoy dancing, drawing, or learning a second language?  Does she/he workout, enjoy cooking, or taking photographs?  Gym memberships, enrichment classes or lessons are another way of treating your nanny. You may even want to gift your nanny a membership to the International Nanny Association or pay for the conference in New Orleans in 2019! 

Unique or Homemade Gifts:   Etsy offers a variety of unique gifts for everyone.  Perhaps a homemade scarf and matching hat?  Maybe a special pair of earrings or a necklace that will remind her of your family.   Framed photos of the kids, or a Shutterfly photo book filled with memories shared with your family.

Fun Holiday Options: If your budget permits, fun holiday options include: frequent flier miles so she/he can go home for the holidays, a week vacation at your time-share, a gas card or help to buy a new iPad or computer. If your budget is limited, consider a gift of time and pop home a few hours early to take over for your nanny so she/he can get a jump start to their weekend.

Last but not least, remember the taxes: While this can sometimes be overlooked, please keep in mind that all bonuses (cash or gift), are taxable income to the employee and must be reported on all employment tax documents.

If you have any questions regarding holiday, year-end gifts or bonuses for your nanny, please feel free to reach out to us at We are always happy to help and be of service!

Professional Career Nanny Social Media Expert for the Nanny Doctor!

Professional Career Nanny Social Media Expert for the Nanny Doctor!




Are you extremely knowledgeable about what it means to be a professional career nanny? Are you a wiz at social media? Do you love writing about all things nanny? Would you like to supplement your income with an additional $1000/month?

We’re looking to keep our member online community engaged with the latest and greatest in parenting articles, kid gadgets and crafts, and pressing childcare related news.

Lindsay Heller, The Nanny Doctor, is searching for a brand new part-time Social Media Maven. You must have a great working knowledge and proficiency in Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Experience writing a blog is a definite plus and is required of the position. Check out some of our past blogs on our website:

Pay is $1000/month USD for outlined requirements.

Candidates outside of Los Angeles WILL be considered for this position.

TO APPLY   E-mail the following to

Your cover letter – Why are you the best person for the job? (with pertinent social media experience)

Childcare resume (professional nanny experience is a MUST)

10 Tweets you would expect to see on The Nanny Doctor Twitter feed

A 300 word sample blog you would expect to see on The Nanny Doctor Website

Due to the high volume of responses received, we will only be able to respond to those who fit the criteria. Thanks and looking forward to reading your entries!



Welcome To The Blog!

As one of the premier nanny referral agencies in greater Los Angeles and as parents ourselves, the safety and happiness of children is always our priority. On this nanny blog, we further our commitment to strengthening families by sharing resources and nanny articles we hope you’ll find helpful. We will also let you know when we’re having upcoming events, because we’d love to see you! Thanks for reading!