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Posted by on Dec. 31, 2014 at 12:56 AM
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Starting to feed a baby solid foods is an exciting milestone for parents. However, it comes with a lot of questions and concerns, especially about food allergies. What foods are most likely to cause allergies in babies? How do you avoid them?


Start Gradually to Identify Any Food Allergies

It’s most important to introduce a baby to new foods gradually, one at a time, in case of food allergies. If not, a parent may have trouble tying an allergy to a specific new food. For example, if you give your baby three new foods over the course of a day and she develops an allergic reaction, you won’t know which of the foods provoked it.

The type of food or the order in which food is introduced is not much of a concern, as long as the foods you are offering are healthy and well-balanced for the baby.  Each time you offer a new food, you should wait three to five days before adding another new item to the menu. Don’t eliminate the other foods your baby is eating during that time; you already know these are safe because the child has not had any food reactions up until now.  Just don’t add anything else new.


Babies and Allergies: The Top 8 Allergenic Foods

With any new food, you’ll want to be on the lookout for any allergic reactions. There are more than 160 allergenic foods; certain foods may be more allergenic than others. The following eight foods and food groups are known to possibly cause problems 90% of the time. You may want to wait until the baby is older to try some of these foods, especially peanuts. In fact, many experts suggest waiting until your child is 3 before trying peanuts. Ask your pediatrician questions about a food if you are unsure about it.


  • Milk
  • Egg
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts (such as walnuts or almonds)
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Soy
  • Wheat

Food Allergy Symptoms to Watch for in Your Baby

Food allergy symptoms usually appear very soon after the food is eaten -- within a few minutes to a couple of hours. If you’re introducing a new food to your baby, keep an eye out for these symptoms:

  • Hives or welts
  • Flushed skin or rash
  • Face, tongue, or lip swelling
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

Severe Food Allergy Symptoms: When to Call 911

Severe allergic reactions can be fatal very quickly. If your baby is having trouble breathing/wheezing, has swelling on her face/lips, or develops severe vomiting or diarrhea after eating, immediately call 911. You can inform your pediatrician at a later time. 


Dealing With Mild Food Allergies in Baby

If you see mild symptoms, such as hives or a rash, contact your pediatrician for further evaluation. Once your baby’s specific allergies are identified, the doctor will give you an action plan for managing the allergies (usually, eliminating the food from your baby’s diet) and dealing with accidental exposures.

Remember, just because a baby’s initial allergic reaction to a new food may be mild, it may get worse upon following exposures. Talk to your pediatrician about any food allergy symptoms in your baby.

Some allergies go away with time. Egg and milk allergies often go away as children get older, but peanut, tree nut, and shellfish allergies tend to persist. 


The Family Food-Allergy Connection

Until very recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that parents wait until age 1 to introduce dairy products, age 2 to introduce eggs, and age 3 to add peanuts, tree nuts, and fish. In early 2008, however, the AAP amended these recommendations, which were based on expert opinion rather than specific evidence.

The new AAP guidelines state that unless there is a significant history of food allergies in a child’s family, there’s no evidence that waiting until after a year to introduce these foods reduces his/her risk of developing allergies. In fact, there is some evidence that early introduction of some of these foods, such as peanuts, may make your child less likely to become allergic. Ask your pediatrician for guidance.

Protecting Baby Against Food Allergies: Easy Does It

Many pediatricians still recommend waiting until your baby is a bit older -- 9 or 10 months -- before offering the 8 allergenic foods. Even if there’s no added risk of causing an allergy, they note that an allergic reaction may be easier to manage in an older baby. Some pediatricians, concerned about the particular severity of allergic reactions to peanuts and shellfish, still suggest staying away from them until your child is at least 3 years old.

Whole cow's milk should not be given to babies younger than 1 year of age, because the proteins in whole milk can irritate the stomach. However, yogurt and soft cheeses are fine, because the proteins in these dairy products are broken down and less likely to cause tummy trouble. You should also wait until at least age 1 (some experts say age 2) to introduce honey, which can cause a potentially serious disease called infant botulism.

by on Dec. 31, 2014 at 12:56 AM
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by on Dec. 31, 2014 at 11:21 AM

 Good post

by Nicole on Dec. 31, 2014 at 11:56 AM

This is a great post for new moms.

I always introduce one food at a time for 4 days before adding a new one and only do one food at a time. No one in our family has food allergies but my oldest his grandma did so i wait a while before introducing things she was allergic too.

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