It is important to be on the lookout for food allergies in your baby when you start solids. Allergies are thankfully not all that common, with only a small handful of children experiencing allergic reactions.
Generally it is recommended that you introduce new foods one ingredient at a time and for a few days before moving on to a new item. This way you can pin point the exact food that causes a reaction if one should occur, as opposed to trying to figure out if it was the pasta, sauce, meat, or cheese that was the culprit in the lasagna.
Once your single ingredient passes the allergy test, you can then move on to the next ingredient. If two ingredients do not cause a reaction then you can then combine these ingredients if you like. For example, if your baby is ok with eating carrots and peas separately, then you know it is safe to feed your baby carrots and peas together.
Many people associate allergies with the classic hives or breathing issues however, there are a few more reactions that can be a sign of allergies. Some of these reactions may seem like no big deal but it is important to remember that often times, you or your baby can eat a food with no reaction or even a minor reaction and then later on that same food can trigger one of the “big” reactions.
Recognizing and Avoiding Food Allergies When Starting Solids
Common allergy reactions
Skin Rashes (this includes general rashes, eczema
Dark circles under the eyes, watery eyes, swollen eyelids, red eyes
Diarrhea, mucousy stool
Fussiness, irritability, colic
Poor weight gain, which in this case would be due to malabsorption of food
While any food can trigger an allergic reaction there happen to be only eight foods that account for 90% of all food allergies.
Top Allergy Causing Foods
Tree nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc)
Other potential allergenic foods include: pork, oranges and other citrus fruits, berries, chocolate, tomatoes, corn, and food additives.
If your baby has an increased risk for food allergies (if baby has already known allergies, eczema or if there’s a history of food allergies) then usually it is best to wait to introduce potential allergenic foods until later as opposed to babies who do not have an increased risk. Most of the top food allergens are recommended to avoid until 1 years old (with the exception of shellfish) however, if your baby is at risk or if your family has a history of allergies then it is usually recommended to hold off on these trigger foods until 2 or even 3 years.
The world of food allergies is still being researched. To this day, there is still discrepancy where it is better for a pregnant mom to eat nuts while pregnant or to avoid them in hopes of giving her child a nut allergy free life. The truth is we, still do not know for sure. Until then, it seems best to err or the side of caution and avoid these trigger foods in your babies food until the appropriate age. It is also important, to keep an eye out for signs of allergies. Even the minor reactions are important enough to notice so that you can avoid that trigger food.
While it should be obvious, I will add that if your child experiences any major allergic reaction, you should call 911 or go to the doctor depending on the severity of the reaction.
For more information on food allergies in kids along with keeping up to date on new allergy information, I recommend Allergy Kids.