By William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears
Once babies are ready to eat solid foods, parents often become concerned about food allergies. A food allergy is an allergic reaction to a particular food. In addition to food allergies, your baby may also experience food intolerance. Food intolerance is not an allergic reaction, but it is any other undesirable effect experienced as a result of eating a particular food. Allergies may manifest from something in the air, something that touches the skin, or from a certain kind of foodi.
Common questions asked by parents such as, what symptoms will my baby show if he/she has food allergies, what precautionary measures should be taken and how can I track down food allergies, will be addressed in the section below.
The Signs & Symptoms of Food Allergies
The following is a list of signs and symptoms often caused by food allergies or intolerance:
Please note that the above symptoms may be attributed to other causes and should be diagnosed by a medical professional. The following are a list of the most common food allergens and those that seldom cause allergies.
Most Common Food Allergens
Least Common Allergenic Foods
Preventing Food Allergies
Tracking Down Food Allergies
An elimination diet is key to tracking down your child's food allergies. By eliminating certain possible allergens systematically, you will be able to see if the symptoms clear up.
The first step is eliminating the most common food allergens such as milk and dairy products, wheat, eggs and citrus fruits. In order to eliminate these foods from your baby's diet, it is necessary to read labels carefully, watching for dairy and wheat products.
After a week of elimination, you should see some improvement in your child's symptoms. If you don't, it may be necessary to eliminate more foods the next week. Once you do see an improvement, reintroduce the eliminated foods back into your child's diet slowly, one food at a time. If any allergic symptoms reappear, this food is the probable cause and should be forbidden from your child's diet.Some children may tolerate allergenic foods as long as they are not eaten too frequently. These children may be placed on a rotation diet, meaning certain foods are not eaten more than once every two to four days.Some people find it helpful to track down food allergies by keeping a detailed diary of what their child eats and their reaction to it. This can be particularly helpful as new foods are introduced into their diet.
Tracking down your child's food allergies is not an exact science. It may take several weeks or months to pinpoint exactly how much of a certain food your child can eat without a reaction.
From THE BABY BOOK by William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N. Copyright ¬© 1993 by William Sears and Martha Sears. Published by Little, Brown and Company, Inc.