Is your little one breaking out in hives or having a difficult time breathing after you breastfeed? If that's the case, it might be time for you to change your own diet. Nearly 6 million or 8% of children have a food allergy. In fact, young children are often affected most. An allergic reaction can include a slight tingling sensation around the mouth or escalate to the point of death. It's possible that a mom's diet can expose a baby to allergies through breastfeeding or skin contact.
Keep reading to learn more about food allergies in babies and how to recognize the signs.
Are you concerned about passing an allergy on to your baby? Whether you're still breastfeeding or starting them on solid foods, it's sometimes difficult to recognize which foods are triggering a reaction. As you introduce your baby to new foods, keep an eye out for allergic reactions. (We've listed some of the signs your baby is experiencing a food allergy below.)
According to the CDC, eight types of food account for 90% of allergic reactions. Food allergies occur more often in children than in adults. Children who have a food allergy are also two to four times more likely to have a related condition such as asthma. Here are some of the most common food allergies in babies:
When your baby is ready to eat solid foods, try adding a variety to their diet. As you introduce a new food, wait three to five days before trying a new one. This will give you time to recognize if your baby is experiencing a food allergy—and which food caused the reaction.
Food allergies in babies usually present symptoms soon after they've eaten. The timeframe can range between a few minutes to a couple of hours. Here are some of the allergy symptoms in babies to look out for.
Many infant food allergies present as skin reactions. These symptoms can include:
To soothe your baby's skin, try an oatmeal bath or nonsteroid lotion. In severe cases, your pediatrician might prescribe a steroid cream or antihistamine. A baby at high risk of allergies has at least one parent with their own food allergy concerns. Breastfeeding can help reduce these skin reaction symptoms if your baby is at risk. A hypoallergenic hydrolyzed formula can also reduce your baby's symptoms.
If your baby is crying all through the night, it can impact your health and theirs. After all, you both need rest. Some babies with colic have a cow's milk allergy that causes acid reflux. Your baby will respond to their pain the only way they know how—by crying. Check with your pediatrician to see if a reflux medication is right for your baby. They might also suggest you try a different baby formula.
Your baby's stomach problems could present with:
If your baby is experiencing abdominal pain, they might cry or pull their knees to their chest. Check with your pediatrician if your baby experiences chronic vomiting. If there's blood or mucus in their diaper, your pediatrician can run tests to pinpoint the exact cause.
As adults, we often associate allergies with a runny nose or watery eyes. Pets, dust, and other allergens can all cause these symptoms. If your baby experiences these allergy symptoms right after trying a new food, remove it from their diet. After a few weeks, reintroduce it to determine if the new food was the culprit.
While anaphylaxis is a rare symptom for babies, your little one may still experience this symptom after they try new foods. Watch out for:
If your baby experiences any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Anaphylaxis is life-threatening, so don't delay in getting help. Protecting Your Baby. There are two strategies you can use to protect your baby from a potential food allergy. For starters, try eliminating items one-by-one from your diet (if you're breastfeeding) and your baby's. This will help you determine which food is triggering their allergy. You can also ask your doctor about taking a skin test.
Don't worry, there's no studying necessary! Rather, an allergist will prick food-protein extracts against your baby's skin. Then, they'll recognize which foods cause an allergic reaction by noting any red bumps. Once you determine which foods are causing your baby's allergies, clean out the kitchen. Try to steer clear of their trigger foods. If you're breastfeeding, eating those foods yourself can cause your baby's allergic reaction. Skin contact can also trigger a reaction, so it's best to avoid these foods for the time being.
You can also ask your doctor about feeding your formula-fed baby a hypoallergenic formula instead. Your insurance might cover the cost of the formula, so there's no harm in asking. While thinking about food allergies in babies might seem scary, they don't always last forever. Many kids grow out of their allergies with time.
Still, it's important to recognize if your baby is experiencing a food allergy. That way, you can prevent their symptoms so they can grow up happy and healthy! Identifying & Avoiding Food Allergies in Babies The PB and J you ate for lunch could be causing that red rash blooming on your little one's skin. Now that you know how to identify and avoid food allergies in babies, keep an eye out. Remember, you can always eliminate foods from their diet (and your own) to pinpoint the culprit. Book an appointment with us today to determine if you, your baby, or another family member has a food allergy.