Babies First Foods, Babies First Food Allergies

Finally, its time to start your adorable baby on solid foods.  It is the moment you have been waiting for.  Your pediatrician gave you the go-ahead! As you get ready to catch another “first” on camera it dawns on you that perhaps your baby has a food allergy.  A slight panic comes over you as thoughts run through your mind like what to do if there is a food allergy and are you prepared just in case?

  Before you get ahead of yourself, look at that adorable baby face and take a step back.  Perhaps taking a look at the latest facts on infants and allergies will help to put things in perspective.  (And remember to always speak to your pediatrician prior to introducing any new food to your child.) 

Food Allergy Facts:

Food allergies are more prevalent in families with a history of allergies, so if your family doesn't have documented allergies there is less to be concerned with.  Knowing this information can be helpful when beginning to introduce foods to your baby. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends introducing fruits and vegetables as the first foods for your infant, between four to six months of age.  Once these are well tolerated additional foods can be added.   The AAP currently states that there is no conclusive evidence that delaying the introduction of foods until after 4 to 6 months of age will have a protective effect on the development of food allergies.

Once your pediatrician feels you may begin to give your baby solids it is safe to start this next milestone. 

Statistics show that only about 8% of all children will experience a food allergy within the first three years of life.  And a large percentage of kids will actually outgrow their allergies well before they are teenagers.

  Cows milk allergies often resolve themselves by 5-6 years of age, and wheat allergies by 3 years of age.  For this reason it is important to have your child allergy tested often as they grow older. (Fish and nut allergies are the least likely to be outgrown.)

While parents often think they need to wait beyond a babies first birthday to introduce the common high allergen foods, research shows this is not necessary.  In fact new studies indicate that offering fish and peanuts between ages 6 to 12 months of age may actually reduce the risk of a food allergy to those foods in particular. (Again, keep in mind this is an important issue to discuss with your pediatrician prior to introducing to your child.)

New foods should not be introduced when your baby has a cold or is under the weather, where their immune system is already compromised.  This may make it harder to recognize true allergy symptoms or may exacerbate the symptoms if they occur.

Some infants show early signs of asthma and eczema.

  These symptoms are often indicative of a food allergy or other allergies. 

Food Allergy Symptoms:

It is often hard to know what a food allergy looks like, as the symptoms can vary greatly and be different on every baby.  Minor symptoms include: fussiness, irritability, itchy eyes, red/watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing and gas.  Greater reactions might include: loose stools, stomach pain, wheezing, asthma-like symptoms and hives.  More serious reactions that require immediate attention are swelling of the lips or tongue, and difficultly breathing.  If your baby is experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is critical to share this information with your pediatrician.  

Experiencing new firsts with your baby isn’t always easy.  But now that you have done a bit more research you can feel more at ease about introducing new foods to your cutie pie.  Take the time to enjoy the reactions as your little one tastes foods for the very first time and is looking for more.  Yum!

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