Food allergies in babies. As a parent, one exciting milestone you expect to go through is that moment when you start feeding your baby solid foods. However, this same moment is fraught with questions and concerns about what’s alright, and what isn’t and even about food allergies. Many of you may have had lots of talk about food allergies, so it’s perfectly normal to be concerned about what you can feed your baby.
Today we’ll be looking at all the little details you should be aware of regarding food allergies as well as the kinds of foods that are likely to cause allergies in your baby.
First of all, what are food allergies? Food allergies happen when the child’s immune system mistakes food as something harmful and results in a reaction – from mild to severe.
Whenever you introduce any new food, its best to be on the lookout for any allergic reactions in your baby. Research shows that there are more than 160 allergenic foods with some being worse than others. This means that there are some foods that have a higher probability of causing allergic reactions than others. The following foods have been known to cause allergic reactions almost 90 percent of the time:
- Milk and/or Cow milk
- Fish and/or Shellfish
- Peanuts and/or Tree nuts like almonds and walnuts
These foods are known as common allergen foods.
How do you know if your baby is at a high risk of developing food allergies?
If you, your partner or a sibling of your baby has an allergic condition like eczema, hay fever, asthma or food allergies, your baby is likely to have a high risk of developing food allergies. But if there is no history of allergies in the family, your baby has a low chance of developing food allergies.
WHAT TO DO TO IDENTIFY FOOD ALLERGIES
When you are introducing new foods to your baby, its best to do it gradually, one at a time. If you don’t do it this way, you’ll likely miss out on identifying the specific new food that your baby is reacting to. For example, if in one day, you give your baby four new foods and he develops an allergic reaction, you’ll have no idea which of the foods caused it.
Don’t worry about the type of food you are introducing or the order in which you are doing it, as long as the foods are well balanced and healthy for the baby. What really matters that you should pay attention to is the fact that whenever you add a new food to your baby’s diet, wait for 3 to 5 days before adding another new food. Of course, it doesn’t mean you should just eliminate all the other foods your baby has been eating up until that point – after all the baby hadn’t reacted to any of those – just make sure you don’t add anything new in that period.
HOW TO IDENTIFY AN ALLERGIC REACTION
Signs and symptoms of food allergies usually appear between a few minutes and up to a few hours of the baby eating the food. Although in some rare cases, the symptoms may appear after a few days. These symptoms may be mild or severe.
If you are giving your baby a new food, these are the symptoms you might want to watch out for to know if your baby is having a food allergy.
- Flushed face or skin rash
- Swelling of the face, eyes, tongue or lips
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Wheezing or coughing
- Vomiting and/or stooling
- Weakness, paleness or fainting
- Loss of consciousness
Very severe allergic reactions can be very fatal very quickly, so if your baby is having hives that are spreading, having difficulty breathing, develops severe diarrhea or vomiting or passes out after eating, stop giving the food and get to your baby’s doctor right away for immediate attention.
On the other hand, if it is a mild allergy characterized by a rash or a flushed face, consult your doctor for a simple physical exam and diagnostic test.Food allergies in babies
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR BABY AGAINST FOOD ALLERGIES
It is recommended that any potential allergens should be introduced to your baby early enough so that you can help prevent your child from developing food allergies.
For example, cow’s milk should be introduced when your child is at least one year old, if you’ll be introducing eggs, wait until your child is 2 years and introduce egg yolks first before the whites and introduce oats when your baby is at least 6 months old – but only if there is no family history of allergies.
It is best to breastfeed your baby until they are about four to six months to prevent milk allergies. Don’t forget that breast milk is higher in nutrition but if you’ll be opting for whole milk, let your doctor be aware. Yogurts and some soft cheese are alright because the proteins in them are already broken down and are less likely to result in tummy troubles.
If your baby is at a high risk of developing allergies, medical experts recommend that peanuts should be given between the fourth and sixth month. These kinds of babies are usually those with egg allergies, eczema or both. The theory behind this is that if you introduce your baby to these foods when they are older, it makes the reactions a bit more manageable. Avoiding or waiting even longer to introduce these foods will not prevent food allergies. Food allergies in babies.
Generally, as a parent, you don’t need to worry so much about food allergies except when there is a family history of it. However, it is advisable to start feeding your baby solids that have a bit of allergic reaction starting from 4 to 6 months. The most common food to start with is rice cereal which can be found in any supermarket or pharmacy.
If you have any further concerns about food allergies, consult your baby’s doctor.