Before starting your baby on solids, discuss any family history of allergies or food intolerances with your child’s pediatrician. It is important to note that your baby can have an allergic reaction to a food even if there is no family history. Introduce foods one at a time for about 3 days each so if your baby has an adverse reaction, you will know what caused it. Before combining foods, make sure your baby has tried each one individually.
If you suspect your baby is having an adverse reaction to a certain food, discontinue the food immediately and call your child’s pediatrician
Food intolerance is a digestive system issue. It happens when the digestive system can’t break down the food properly because of a reaction to a naturally occurring chemical in the food, a lack of the proper digestive enzymes or if your baby’s body has an adverse reaction to a certain food additive. Food intolerances are not life threatening, but they should be brought to your pediatrician’s attention for further guidance. You will most likely be able to reintroduce the food when your baby is older. Signs your baby could be suffering from food intolerance:
Food allergies are an immune system issue. When the immune system reacts negatively to a certain food protein, it produces antibodies called immunoglobulins and an allergic reaction occurs. Roughly 6% of children in the United States have diagnosed food allergies.
If your child does have a food allergy, it is very important to advise caregivers, friends, family, daycare and anyone who will be caring for your child. Be sure they are aware of the allergy and how to handle a reaction should one occur. If your child would require an EpiPen or Twinject, make sure the caregiver knows how to use it.
An allergic reaction may occur within a few minutes or may take a few hours. Food allergies can range from mild to very serious, even life threatening. Signs of a possible food allergy include:
Loss of Energy
Rash, Hives or Itchy Skin
Nausea, Vomiting or Diarrhea
Coughing or Wheezing
*If you notice that your baby is having difficulty breathing, hoarseness, swelling of the tongue or mouth or has a sudden loss of energy call 911 immediately because it could be anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a life threatening reaction to a food that requires immediate medical attention including the administering of an EpiPen or Twinject.
The foods listed below account for 90% of food allergies:
Tree nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc)
*Wheat*A wheat allergy is not the same as actual gluten intolerance. A child can outgrow a wheat allergy, whereas gluten intolerance lasts a lifetime and needs to be carefully managed.
The majority of children with cow’s milk, soy, wheat or egg allergies will eventually outgrow them. You will most likely be able to reintroduce these foods with a pediatrician’s guidance when the time is right. However, some allergies, like peanut, tree nut and shellfish may last a lifetime.
The subject of children’s food allergies is one of great importance. Currently, there are no conclusive answers as to why the percentage of American children with food allergies is on the rise. I recommend discussing the introduction of these foods with your pediatrician to decide what is right for your baby.
For more information on food allergies and intolerances:
www.Foodallergy.org, Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network
www.AAP.org, American Academy of Pediatrics
www.AAAAI.org, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
www.celiac.org, Celiac Disease Foundation+ Add to my Recipe Box