Starting to feed a baby solid foods is something that worries most parents and is accompanied by many questions and concerns, especially about food allergies. Which foods are most likely to cause allergies in babies? How to avoid them?
It is very important to introduce new foods to a baby gradually, one at a time, so that you can find out which foods may be causing the allergy. For example, if you give your baby three new foods during the day and he has an allergic reaction, you will not know which of the foods caused it.
The type of food or the order in which the food is introduced does not cause much concern, as long as the food you offer is healthy and balanced.
However, every time you give him a new meal, you will have to wait three to five days before adding a new food to the menu. There is no need to remove other foods he has already tried, because you know they are safe and are not going to cause any allergic reactions.
Babies and Allergies: The Top 8 Allergenic Foods
There are more than 160 food allergens, but some may be more allergenic than others. The following eight foods and food groups are known to cause problems with allergic reactions in up to 90% of cases.
- Cow’s milk
- Nuts (such as walnuts or almonds)
New nutrition guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics say that you can enter these foods when your baby is ready to eat solid food. There is no indication that waiting until he grows up prevents food allergies. If you think your baby has an allergic reaction to a food and is experiencing symptoms such as diarrhea, rash or vomiting, talk to your pediatrician about the best nutritional choices.
Within a few months of starting solid foods, your baby’s daily diet should include a variety of foods, such as milk, meat, cereals, vegetables, fruits and fish.
Food allergy symptoms to look out for in your child
Food allergy symptoms usually appear very soon after eating – within a few minutes to a few hours. If you are introducing a new food to a baby, be aware of these symptoms:
- Red skin or rash
- Swelling of the face, tongue or lips
- Vomiting and / or diarrhea
- Cough or wheezing
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of conscience
The family food-allergy relationship
If there is a family food allergy, then your child is at increased risk of developing allergies as well – although it is not one hundred percent certain. If you have allergies, your child has a 50-50 chance of having them.
In this case it is best to introduce the 8 allergenic foods gradually, at intervals of one to two weeks over time, so that you can identify if an allergy is developing.
Protecting your baby from food allergies
When you start breastfeeding, you should do so under the supervision of a pediatrician. Yogurt and soft cheeses are a good choice because the proteins in these dairy products are broken down and are less likely to cause stomach problems.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that, in the case of infants at high risk of allergies, peanuts should be imported between 4-6 months. Babies who are at higher risk of developing peanut allergies are those who have eczema or egg allergies, or both.
Other potential allergens, such as nuts and fish, can be introduced between 6 and 9 months of age. Alsoyou will have to wait at least until the age of 1 year (some experts say age 2 years) to import honey, which can cause a potentially serious disease called infant botulism. As for the egg, the instruction of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is that it can be introduced before the end of the 12th month. Ask your pediatrician for guidance.