As your baby’s diet becomes more varied, it’s a good idea to look out for the signs of allergies. You can never be too careful.
Look for the symptoms
Symptoms of a food allergy are due to the body’s immune system trying to tackle the food. They can include diarrhea, breathing difficulties, swelling and rashes. These symptoms may occur right away, or several hours after eating.
In very rare and serious cases, food allergies can lead to anaphylaxis, which can cause swelling of the throat and mouth and can be life-threatening. If you suspect anaphylaxis, contact an emergency center immediately.
Is your baby at risk?
Most babies and toddlers can eat a varied diet without any problems. But, your baby is more likely to have a food allergy if either parent or their siblings have a history of food allergies, or suffer from eczema, asthma or hay fever. Your health care provider will be able to guide you if your family has a history of food allergies.
What’s likely to cause an allergy?
There are certain common foods likely to cause allergies – these include milk, eggs, wheat, nuts, sesame seeds, soy, mustard, fish, and shellfish. If there is an allergy concern, avoid giving these foods until 6 months, and then introduce them one at a time so you can monitor your baby's reaction. Whole nuts should be avoided until your child is four years old because of the risk of choking.
Avoid possible peanut allergies
If your baby’s close family have eczema, asthma, hay fever of any other food allergy, it might be an idea to avoid peanuts when you’re breast feeding. It’s also wise to wait until your little one is at least 6 months old, before giving them any foods that may contain peanuts. Make sure you check packets for any traces of peanut.
Always check labels
If a product contains one of the common allergens, it will be clearly labelled in the ingredients list by its common name. Make sure you check!
The top 10 common food allergies:
- Seafood (fish, crustaceans, shellfish)
- Tree nuts