Is my baby at risk for food allergies?

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Highlights
  • Food allergies happen when the body’s immune system tries to “fight” against a certain food, causing an allergic reaction.
  • The most common allergic disease in infants is atopic dermatitis, a baby food allergy rash or eczema.
  • Infants with a family history of food allergy may be more likely to develop an allergy.
  • Having your baby drink only breastmilk for the first 4 to 6 months of life may help lower the chances of having of atopic dermatitis.
  • When formula-feeding in the first 4 months of life, certain formulas may also help lower the chances of having milk allergy for some infants.

Your baby’s digestive tract and immune system can be especially sensitive during the first four months of life. A food allergy can develop when a baby’s immune system tries to “fight” a certain food by making antibodies that trigger an allergic reaction. Because these antibodies stay in a child’s body, this allergic reaction can happen each time she eats or comes in contact with that food. Feeding choices may be able to lower your baby’s chances of developing a food allergy. This is one reason many experts suggest having your baby drink only breastmilk for at least the first 4 to 6 months of life and starting appropriate solid foods when she is at least 4 months old. 

Atopic dermatitis is the most common allergic disease in infants.

The most common baby food allergy is atopic dermatitis (AD), a type of skin rash or eczema that most often appears on the face, scalp, limbs, and knees. The number of infants with AD has gone up 2 to 3 times over the past 30 years, and nearly 1 in 5 infants will develop AD by 6 months of age. While any baby may develop AD, infants with a family history of allergy may be more likely to get it. This means that if baby’s parents or siblings have ever had symptoms of allergy such as hay fever, asthma, AD (allergic eczema), or food allergies, then she may be at risk. 

Allergy Risk Assessment Quiz

To find out if your Gerber Baby has a family history of allergy or may be at risk for developing AD, complete the Allergy Risk Assessment Quiz.


Breastmilk is the ideal food for babies and it contains a perfect balance of nutrients and antibodies to nourish and help protect your baby. Plus, if your baby drinks only breastmilk for at least the first 4 to 6 months of life, she may be less likely to develop AD.
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