Feeding Baby: How to Avoid Food Allergies
Starting to feed a baby solid foods is an exciting milestone for parents -- and one that also comes with a lot of new questions and concerns. What’s the best way to avoid food allergies once your baby has mastered single-grain cereals and is ready to move on to new foods? What foods are most likely to cause allergies in babies?
Start Gradually to Identify Any Food Allergies
It’s important to introduce baby to new foods gradually, and one at a time, in case of food allergies. Otherwise, you’ll 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.
It doesn’t matter all that much which foods you introduce to your baby, or which order you introduce them in, as long as the foods you are offering are healthy and well-balanced. But each time you offer a new food, you should wait three to five days before adding another to the menu. Don’t eliminate all the other foods your baby is already eating during that time -- just don’t add anything else new.
Babies and Allergies: The Top 8 Allergenic Foods
With each new food, you’ll want to be on the lookout for allergic reactions. There are more than 160 allergenic foods, but these eight foods and food groups are the culprits 90% of the time. You may want to wait until 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 if you have any questions about a food.
- Tree nuts (such as walnuts or almonds)
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:
- 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
If your baby is having trouble breathing, has swelling on her face, or develops severe vomiting or diarrhea after eating, don’t take time to call your pediatrician. Call 911 immediately. Severe allergic reactions can be fatal very quickly.