Sunday, December 1, 2013

How To Tell if Your Baby Has a Food Allergy

My Beautiful Baby Claire at 8 Months Old

Babies can't talk so they can't tell you why they're irritable or whether they have a stomach ache, so how can you tell if he or she has a food allergy?

First of all, it's critical that you introduce new foods to your baby one at a time, especially if there is a history of environmental or food allergies in your family. Beware especially of the following.

TOP EIGHT Food Allergies:
  • Milk
  • Egg
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts (such as walnuts or almonds)
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Soy
  • Wheat

  • So how do you know if your child has reacted to something? Reactions vary from mild to severe, but all reactions should be taken seriously because you can't immediately tell what's happening internally. When you introduce a new food, wait three days to see if there are any reactions, then add a new food. Once a food is determined safe, you can keep it in the child's diet.

    SEVEN Signs of a Food Allergy:
  • Hives or welts
  • Flushed skin or rash
  • Face, tongue, or lip swelling
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

  • I'd planned originally to keep my daughter off the EIGHT most common food allergens until she turned three, but that didn't end up happening. Her daycare gave her oats since that's a typical, "safe" first food. When I went in to see her in the afternoon, I asked her caregivers if she had fallen because her face was bright red and blotchy, just like mine gets thirty to sixty minutes after eating barley, oats, or rye.

    They at first thought it was dry skin from her drool, but I doubted it since that had never happened before.

    The redness grew worse over the afternoon. Here's how she looked later that day when we came home:

     Claire (8 Months Old) with a Reaction to Oats

    So, I took her off oats, rye, barley, and wheat and the rash cleared up. I'll try it all again when she's three, when she can say, "Tummy ache."
    I ended up trying most of the other common food allergens, nuts, eggs, milk, and soy, and at first she reacted to eggs (developed hives) and carrots seemed to cause a diaper rash. But, I reintroduced both and as far as I can tell, she seems fine with them now. I still haven't tried shellfish since my husband is allergic to crabs and we rarely eat shellfish. I've offered her fish, but she hardly ate any of it.
    Do you have a child with food allergies? Please share your story in the comment section below.

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