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Food allergies and babies: the signs you need to know

Food allergies and babies: the signs you need to know

You may already be aware of some of your baby’s allergies or they currently may not have any at all. When introducing solid foods into your baby’s diet, it is worth knowing the common food allergies to look out for and how you can introduce these into the baby’s diet gradually. Understandably, allergens can make parents nervous so we have put together a basic guide of the key allergens and symptoms to look out for. But always consult with a healthcare professional, especially if there is a suspicion of serious allergies. 

Here are the top 9 common allergens:

  • Eggs

  • Peanut

  • Tree nuts e.g. almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, and others

  • Sesame

  • Cow’s milk

  • Soya

  • Shellfish

  • Gluten

  • Fish

When introducing foods to your little ones, there are key common signs or symptoms to look out for and two different types of reactions. 

1. Immediate (known as IgE-mediated)

This happens immediately or up to 2 hours after eating the food and is easy to spot

Signs of an immediate reaction

Mild/moderate

  • Sneezing

  • Swollen lips, face or eyes

  • Tummy pain/Vomiting

  • A red and itchy rash

  • Runny or blocked nose

  • Wheezing and coughing

Severe allergies

  1. Worsening of asthma, noisy or difficulty breathing

  2. Persistent cough, hoarse cry, swollen tongue

  3. Pale, floppy, unresponsive

2.  Delayed (known as non- IgE- mediated)

This usually happens from 2 hours and even days after eating and is harder to spot than an immediate allergy.

Signs of a delayed reaction

Gut symptoms like tummy pain, discomfort, constipation, loose stools or blood and mucus in the stools. Other signs can include food refusal or aversion to certain foods.  

More severe symptoms can include worsening and persistent eczema or a reaction to the skin like reddening or itchiness. 

Please note that if you are unsure about any allergens and reactions, don’t just rely on Google or your neighbour. Contact your local GP for medical advice. 

Introducing allergy foods into your baby’s diet

The best thing is to introduce the common allergen foods one at a time and in small amounts. Try and keep an eye on the child carefully for at least 2 hours afterward. 

Examples of small amounts would be ¼ of a hard-boiled egg or ¼ teaspoon of peanut butter with water and puree to test any reaction from a child. Or if you’re feeling nervous, try the tip of the teaspoon, and then you can build it up over time. Once you have introduced it, try and keep it up in the diet the help maintain tolerance.

We hope this introduction to allergens helps you feel more confident in your feeding journey.


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