Baby food allergies are an increasing concern for many families. You’ll learn how the timing of starting different foods for your baby relates to developing allergies and eczéma. When is the safest time to start strawberries for a baby? Yogurt? Peanuts?
Baby Food allergies
Allergies There is scant evidence, as we’ve seen earlier, that when moms avoid specific foods during pregnancy they reduce allergies to those foods in babies.
The issue of whether or not avoiding peanuts during pregnancy reduces allergies in children has been quite controversial.
Diet high in plant foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, legumes, and nuts), moderate amounts of dairy products and eggs, and very little red meat. The diet is also high in olive oil and fish.
Some of the most common problems new parents encounter involve sleep issues. We’ll discuss the changing, two-way relationship between food and sleep.
How do sleep habits affect eating? How do eating habits enhance or disrupt sleep theirs and yours?
Yet there is some evidence for reducing allergies by eating certain
foods. Three food choices in particular seem to be beneficial:
- Probiotics: I’m a big fan of probiotics (beneficial bacteria, such as those found in yogurt or kefir) for pregnant women because their consumption is linked to decreased eczema and other allergies in the babies.
- Omega-3 fats: Foods rich in omega-3 fats, such as wild salmon, omega-3 eggs, walnuts, and flaxseed.
- Organic milk: Studies of organic milk have found healthier fat profiles in the milk more omega-3s and CLAs (conjugated linoleic acids), which may help reduce body fat and hinder tumors and inflammation.
Studies of nursing mothers who switched from conventional to organic milk found more of these healthier fats in the mother's’ breast milk.
One study of pregnant and nursing women who switched from conventional to organic milk found a third less eczema in their babies.
Advised to prevent or lessen allergies
Food Allergy Some food allergens, including cow’s milk protein, peanut, and egg, can come through breast milk. At various times it has been recommended that nursing women avoid these to prevent allergies.
To date, there is no convincing data that mother’s avoiding anything while nursing prevents food allergies in the long run.
If a food allergy in the baby already exists, though, mother’s avoiding that food while nursing is helpful.
For formula-fed babies, a hydrolyzed formula may help prevent some food allergies.
Is Your Baby Allergic? How do you tell if your baby is allergic or intolerant to something?
Usually, you will not see a quick, visible response to a formula or food. Instead, you might see eczema or another skin rash, fussiness, loose stools, hard stools, or blood in the stool.
In the case of celiac disease, which is an intolerance to the grain protein gluten not a true allergy you might see diarrhea, smelly stools, irritability, and poor weight gain.
Allergy testing can be done in babies. At this age, a negative result doesn’t tell you much either way, but a positive result likely indicates a real allergy (as opposed to tests done at age four, when a negative result is likely real, and a positive result may only indicate a possible culprit).
There is also specific testing for celiac disease. If you think your baby may have an allergy, consult your healthcare provider.
Allergies There is scant evidence, as we’ve seen earlier, that when moms avoid specific foods during pregnancy they reduce allergies to those foods in their babies.
How to diagnose baby food allergies?
How can i tell if my infant has a food allergy ?
Nobody knows for sure, but Baby food allergies could be quite common. The gut lining lets in more proteins in the first three months of life, and some foods can trigger a process that later causes allergic reactions.
However, some people tend to blame all symptoms on food allergies, and some children (and adults) are fed very restricted diets when there is no real evidence of an allergy.
What causes food allergies in babies?
What are the most common food allergies ? In young children, the most common are:
■ allergy to peanuts and other nuts
■ celiac disease (wheat/gluten allergy)
■ cow’s milk protein intolerance (this often clears up by the age of two). What is the difference between food allergy and food intolerance? Both terms mean that eating a food causes a reaction.
Allergy means that the immune system is at fault. Intolerance means there’s no hard evidence of the immune system being involved.
What symptoms can food allergies cause? Symptoms range from mild to severe, and can include:
■ rashes (such as eczema and hives)
■ diarrhea or vomiting
■ failure to grow or put on weight
■ coughing or wheezing
■ anaphylactic shock .
Do food allergies run in families? Allergies are more prevalent in some families than in others, so food allergies can be familial, but this is not necessarily always the case. Is diarrhea always the result of a food allergy?
No. Although diarrhea can result from food allergy, it isn’t a common cause. Diarrhea can also be the effect of the form or texture of a food item rather than the ingredient itself.
This happens with many foods, especially corn and whole-wheat bread. Leave the suspect food out of your baby’s diet for a few days; if the diarrhea resolves, you can always try again, but mash or sieve the food more finely next time.
Baby Food allergies rash
A rash around the mouth may be caused by an allergy or just by food irritating delicate skin. Wipe the face gently with cotton balls and water and see if the rash subsides. Next time your baby has this food, try wiping her face as soon as she is done eating.
Which foods and drinks should i avoid when breast-feeding ?
A In general, there’s nothing you should avoid as long as you eat wholesome food, but if there are allergies in your family, then it’s best to avoid peanuts and peanut oil in any form. This may help prevent your baby from becoming allergic to peanuts later.
Some women find that eating very spicy food, citrus fruit, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, or beans upsets their baby’s digestion, causing crying, excess gas, or looser stools. Citrus fruit juice can also cause problems.
If so, you should try cutting these foods out of your diet and seeing if it makes a difference to your baby. A few mothers believe that onions and garlic put babies off breast milk, but this is unlikely if they’re cooked.
Baby Food Allergies and Intolerances Now that your baby has been introduced to the world of solid foods, the world must seem like a giant buffet to her.
And while many of the foods are safe for babies (or will be, once she makes the transition to solid foods), there are some that she needs to steer clear of for health and safety reasons either because the foods in question pose a serious choking , food poisoning risk, or because they could trigger an allergic reaction.
Food intolerances are the most common food reaction in babies.
A food intolerance is when the body has trouble tolerating a particular food or food additive such as an artificial flavor or color. Typical symptoms include wheezing, diarrhea, rashes, itching, and headaches.
Only 8 percent of babies have full-blown food allergies (a.k.a. “food hypersensitivities”) and half of them will outgrow these allergies when they reach three years of age.
Here are some important facts that every parent should know about food allergies, whether or not their own child is affected.
- Eight foods are responsible for 90 percent of food allergies in children: peanuts, tree nuts (e.g., hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews), wheat, cow’s milk, strawberries, fish, and eggs.
A child can experience an allergic reaction to a food within minutes or the reaction may occur up to 72 hours later. That Lovin’ Spoonful: Introducing Solids 69
- Symptoms of a food allergy may range from a runny nose, itchy eyes, and a skin rash to full-blown anaphylactic shock (when a child’s mouth or throat swells, the child has difficulty breathing, and, should medical assistance not be administered, the child goes into shock). Anaphylactic shock can be life threatening, even fatal, if help is not received in time.
This is why children with known food allergies to peanuts—the prime cause of anaphylactic shock reactions should be fitted with a MedicAlert bracelet listing food allergies and should carry a dose of epinephrine in a pen-style injector that caregivers can be taught to use in the event of an emergency
. • Even being exposed to these foods (as opposed to eating these foods) can trigger a reaction in children who are severely allergic (e.g., being kissed by a playmate who has just eaten a peanut butter sandwich or being massaged with a nut-based oil).
- Certain types of food allergies tend to run in families. If there’s a history of food allergies in your family, your health care provider may have recommended that you avoid certain types of products like peanuts and peanut butter, for example while you were pregnant or breastfeeding.
Likewise, your health care provider may recommend that you avoid introducing any cow’s milk products to your baby’s diet (e.g., no yogurt or cheese) during baby’s first year, just to play it safe.
Just realize that what people tend to broadly describe as “food allergies” are more accurately described as “food intolerances.” Your health care provider can help you to put these issues in perspective when you’re making dietary decisions for yourself and your baby.
For additional resources related to food allergies, see Appendices A, B, and C. If you suspect that your baby is allergic to a particular food, have your suspicions confirmed by your healthcare provider.
its recommend avoiding the problem food for a couple of years and then bringing your child back for a challenge test, in which your child is re-exposed to the food in a medically supervised environment.
That test will determine whether your child has outgrown the allergy (in which case your child will be able to eat the food again) or whether your child will need to continue to avoid that food.
Nuts and nut products
Avoid peanuts and tree nuts (e.g., hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews) as well as nut products (e.g., peanut butter) and any products that may have come into contact with these products.
Egg whites are the problem. You can give your baby well-cooked scrambled egg yolks starting at age nine months, however. If there’s a history of egg allergies in your family, talk to your doctor before introducing eggs to your baby’s diet.
Also avoid egg substitutes as well as foods containing albumin, globulin, ovomucin, or vitellin.
Note: Flu shots contain egg products.
Foods That Pose a Choking Risk for Babies
Choking hazard can’t be eliminated. Avoid.
Cut into tiny strips or wedges. Don’t give any pieces that are penny- or marble-shaped.
Candies hard as well as soft and jellied : Choking hazard can’t be eliminated Avoid
Carrots, raw :
Puréed carrots make a good first food for babies. Then move on to mashed or finely chopped cooked carrots and then finely shredded raw carrots.
Wait until the late toddler years before introducing very finely cut carrot sticks and even then, don’t give your toddler any carrot pieces that are thicker than her index finger.
Choking hazard can’t be eliminated. Avoid.
Choking hazard can’t be eliminated. Avoid.
Olives Remove pit and slice into tiny pieces.
Choking hazard can’t be eliminated. Avoid.
cherry Cut into tiny strips or wedges. Don’t give any pieces that are penny- or marble-shaped.
Slice into thin strips lengthwise and then chop into bite-sized pieces crosswise. Do not cut into penny-shaped pieces. Not recommended until baby is older and should be served only in limited amounts due to high salt content.
Foods That Should Be Avoided for Other Reasons Honey Cow’s milk That Lovin’
Introducing Solids 71 Slice into thin strips lengthwise and then chop into bite-sized pieces crosswise. Do not cut into penny-shaped pieces.
Not recommended until baby is older and should be served only in limited amounts due to high salt content. Slice into thin strips lengthwise and then chop into bite-sized pieces crosswise.
Do not cut into penny-shaped pieces. Not recommended until baby is older and should only be served in limited amounts due to high salt content.
Honey can contain botulism spores. An adult’s gastrointestinal system is hardy enough to deal with the problem, but a baby’s isn’t, so babies shouldn’t eat honey until after their first birthday.
Cow’s milk is difficult for a baby’s gastrointestinal system to process because cow’s milk is biologically different from breast milk or infant formula.