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 seafoods. If there are allergy concerns, 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 or 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, and always discuss any concern with your health care provider.
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
Whether you’re out for the day or out of the country, travelling with your baby can be a journey of discovery in itself.
There’s a lot to think about. Some things will be obvious. Some not. Here are our top tips to help you on your way and end your journey with a smile.
Milk on the move
It’s always a good idea to carry your baby’s usual milk in an insulated bottle bag with an ice pack – it’ll stay cool and fresh. But remember, don’t put warm, prepared foods in the carrier. They could warm the milk up and might upset your little one’s tummy – not good if you’re travelling!
If you use formula milk, pack empty, sterilized bottles. And ready-to-use cartons are always a handy option.
Keep your little one calm in the car
There’s nothing worse than an upset baby when you’re trying to drive, so it pays to do all you can to keep things calm. Always use a properly secured safety seat. If you need to see to your little one, pull over somewhere safe first. Naturally, if you’re going on a long journey, it makes sense to pack enough food and milk for your little one. To find out more about the law and kids in cars, visit Transport Canada.
Peace on the plane
Airports can be unpredictable places. So it makes sense to pack extra food, clothes and diapers, just in case of delays. Also, take-off and landing can upset little ears so time these with a feed to help them get comfortable. Pack individual bags with wipes and diapers to make changing on the go easier.
Restrictions on liquids can make getting through security tricky so always check with your airline or Canada Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA).
Relax in the restaurant
When eating out, it may be a good idea to call and check if the restaurant has high chairs. A good tip is to always have a booster seat with you. Most places will be happy to heat up your baby’s food – just check the temperature before feeding.
• Finger foods, pouches or jars of baby food
• Bottles/cup and formula milk for bottle feeding
• Weaning spoons and bowls
• Bibs and baby wipes
• Diapers, diaper bags and changing mat
• A change of clothes
• Antibacterial wipes for cleaning surfaces
• Antibacterial hand gel for you
Here’s a handy list of tips to help with this ‘mix and match’ approach to weaning:
• Introduce a new taste every 2-3 days to expand the variety they eat
• Offer individual tastes of pureed foods to teach your baby simple tastes, e.g. green vegetables and orange vegetables. Give them appropriate finger foods of these vegetables at the same time so they can learn their look, feel and texture
• Move onto textures that suit their age stage. Introducing lumps and mashed foods early helps them learn to chew and can help prevent feeding difficulties in older children
• Prepare a mix of puree and appropriate finger foods at the same meal, so your little one can pick up items and self-feed. It may take a while for them to get the hang of it
• All babies develop differently and they may not want to feed themselves until they’re much older. So don’t worry if they’re not interested yet
• Let your little one play with their food and get messy! It all helps them learn to accept lots of different foods
• Babies and toddlers learn from watching you eat. So if they see you enjoying fruit and vegetables with your meal, they’ll learn to love them too
Finger food for little fingers
The following finger foods are quick to prepare, packed with goodness and easy for your little one to grip too:
• Soft-cooked vegetable like carrots, rutabaga, sweet potato and broccoli
• Strips of soft meat such as chicken and fish (check carefully for bones)
• Peeled soft fruits such as melon sticks, banana and peach slices
• Baby biscuits that dissolve without crumbling
At first most of it will go on the floor, but don’t worry! Remember, we eat with all of our senses, so let them enjoy this journey of discovery.
Once your little one reaches 7 or 8 months, they’ll have a firmer grip. This helps them keep hold of foods like broccoli and develop their hand-to-eye coordination. Getting to grips with food is a great way for your baby to learn about exciting new tastes and textures.