Can Babies Have Food Allergies?

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Having a new baby is exciting and terrifying, with so many things to learn and prepare for. Roughly five percent of babies have food allergies. Whether if you are expecting or just had a baby, learning about food allergies and the role they can play in their life is very important.

Is my baby at risk for food allergies?

Genetics can play a role in your babies risk of food allergies. If you or any of the baby’s siblings have any allergy, including hay fever, eczema, allergic asthma, and food allergies, your baby is more likely to have food allergies. Talk to your baby’s health care provider about their risk for food allergies. When pregnant, there is no need to avoid specific foods to prevent food allergies. In fact, restricting your diet can reduce the calories and nutrients you need to support your baby’s growth.

How do I introduce food allergens to my baby?

The most common food allergies for babies are the top eight allergens. A study suggests that the risk for food allergies can be prevented or delayed by breastfeeding for at least four months. Roughly eighty to ninety percent of babies outgrow common food allergies by age five.

Talk to your doctor to form a plan for your baby, even if you do not have a family history of food allergies. Every baby is different and requires different guidelines. It is universally accepted that you should wait at least till one or two years old to introduce honey, which can cause infant botulism. Food allergens should be introduced at six months of age.

Here are a few steps you can generally take in introducing food allergens:

  • Go Slowly – Only introduce one allergen to your baby at a time, even if its not a highly allergenic food.

  • Monitor Your Baby – Whenever feeding your baby food allergens, monitor them closely. Do not feed them the allergen and then leave them alone or need to leave your house. Even if your baby doesn’t show any signs when they first eat the allergen, keep a close eye on the first three to four times they eat the food.

  • Start Small – Introduce the allergen to your baby in a very small amount. If your baby doesn’t show any allergic reactions, slowly increase the quantity during their next few meals.

What if I notice allergic reactions in my baby?

If your baby shows the signs of food allergies, contact your doctor immediately. Call 911 if your baby has trouble breathing, welling on their face and lips, or severe vomiting or diarrhea. If your baby does have food allergies, here are some articles that will help you and your family learn to live with the food allergy:

Are you expecting or just had a baby? Do you have a plan for your baby and food allergies? Comment below and share your stories with us!