There are some common allergies that parents should be aware of when their infant starts solid foods and is given new foods. This is especially true if you have a family history of allergies, such as eczema and asthma, or if the infant has an adverse reaction to cow’s milk or soy formula.
Some foods are more likely to cause allergic reactions than others. The most common food allergies are:
The FDA requires foods containing these ingredients to be clearly labeled so that parents can more easily shop safely for their children. Of these eight foods, the ones that have the greatest impact on children under 4 years of age are milk, eggs, peanuts and nuts.
Infants with milk allergies overreact to the proteins in milk. Milk is the most common base for infant formula, and about 2 to 3 percent of infants are allergic to milk. The good news: most infants grow out of their milk allergy. Some infants are allergic to eggs. Again, most infants grow out of this allergy and can eat eggs again by the time they are five years old.
Common side effects of food allergies in infants include hives, eczema, flushing, digestive problems, runny nose, difficulty breathing, or rapid heartbeat.
Allergic reactions to nuts can be immediate and can be very dangerous. Advice on when it is okay to give nuts to children is mixed. There is some evidence that giving your child nuts early can help them avoid allergies, but it is important to tell your doctor when to give your child foods that have a higher risk of allergic reactions.
You can lower this statistic by reading food labels carefully, introducing your child to these foods at the right time for their age and development, and understanding the signs of an allergic reaction and first aid treatment.
Regardless of your family history, most foods can be eaten one at a time, as long as your baby is old enough to start eating solid foods. Just make sure you’re doing this slowly and carefully. Read the articles below to learn about the best time to introduce solid foods and avoid food allergies.
When to introduce allergenic foods
Milk: Milk should not be used until after your child’s first birthday. Until then, they should be breastfed or formula fed.
Eggs: Previously, parents were told to wait until age 2 before giving their children eggs; however, new research has found no reason to do so. If you’re concerned about your child’s allergies, eat the yolk before the egg whites.
Fish and shellfish: It should never be your child’s first food, but according to the American Association of Pediatricians, you can introduce these foods to infants as long as they are cooked properly.
Tree nuts: Be careful when introducing nuts, because in addition to being a common food allergy, they can also be a choking hazard.
Wheat: There is no reason to delay the introduction of wheat. If you are concerned about wheat allergies because of a family history, then feed your baby oats at six months of age.
Peanuts and peanut butter: When you introduce peanut butter, introduce it separately and watch closely for any reactions.
Soy: Remember that a large number of foods include soy. It is also common for infants who are allergic to milk to be allergic to soy.
In most cases, parents do not need to worry too much about these allergies unless there is a family history. However, it is best to start feeding solid foods when infants are 4 months to 6 months old because these foods are virtually free of allergic reactions. Rice is a common food that you can start with. Root vegetables and avocados are also good choices.