How to Know if Your Baby Has Food Allergies

As exciting as this time can be, when introducing your baby to new foods, you may be concerned about food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances and that’s a very valid concern. One in four kids has food allergies and the percentages are growing.  My son is one of these kids. He developed eczema early around 4 months. I knew that this wasn’t just a skin condition and could be an early sign of a food allergy. My husband and I were so worried when we saw hives break out on our son’s face after eating certain foods. It wasn’t until later that we learned that he, in fact, has egg and nut allergies.

Under the guidance of the FDA, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act identifies the following eight foods as major food allergens:

Milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans

When introducing these foods, start by offering a small amount at first and watch your baby for any negative reaction. Signs include: rash, hives, gastrointestinal distress like vomiting or diarrhea, teary eyes, face or tongue swelling or difficulty breathing within a few minutes after consuming the food. Often times, a rash can simply signal a skin irritation and could be the result of sensitive skin versus a true allergy. If you feel the reaction is life threatening, seek help immediately. If you see any moderate reactions, discontinue the food and speak to your pediatrician.  They most likely will refer you to a pediatric allergist. There you will be able to determine what your baby may or may not be allergic to and develop a game plan.

Fast forward a year from our first appointment, my son can now tolerate eggs in baked goods and it appears as is if his tree nut allergies have subsided. We worked hard to decrease his inflammation by feeding him nurturing foods including probiotics, bone broths, healthy fats and limiting his sugar and dairy.  I’m still learning more and seeing various specialists. But everyone’s journey and experience is different and the good news is that there is much more awareness, food products,  and resources for parents going through this. I work with this often in my practice and understand that parents need a game plan, some resources and ways to get creative in the kitchen!

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