Signs of food allergy may show up minutes or hours after your baby's first bite, but your little one may not react until they have had the food a few times. Watch your baby after they eat a new food for these symptoms and stop feeding it and call your doctor if you suspect an allergy.
- Their cry changes to become shrill or hoarse-sounding
- Persistent or excessive crying that only happens after eating certain foods
- Runny nose, congestion, cough or sneezing
- Difficulty breathing (Call your doctor right away!)
- Skin irritations such as rashes and hives
When to check with the doctor first
- Your baby has severe atopic dermatitis, an allergic skin rash, and it is poorly controlled.
- They have recently reacted to other foods.
- A sibling has a peanut allergy.
- Your baby has a diagnosed food allergy.
Introducing foods with common allergens
Avoiding the common allergens beyond 4-6 months is no longer encouraged. Now experts recommend offering common food allergens - in developmentally appropriate forms - before your baby's 1st birthday. New research suggests that introducing allergenic foods at the right time may help reduce your baby's risk of developing an allergy.
Foods most likely to trigger an allergic reaction:
- Tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts)*
- Fish (such as bass, cod, flounder)
- Shellfish (such as crab, lobster, shrimp)
Tips on how to introduce these foods:
- Wait until several other foods have been added to their diet.
- Try foods most likely to cause a reaction at home, rather than at a daycare or restaurant. In some cases, particularly with peanut products, the reaction occurs the first time the baby is exposed.
- Offer your baby a small amount the first time a new food is given.
- If your baby doesn’t react, slowly increase the amount you offer them.
- Wait 3 to 5 days after feeding one food until you introduce another, to make it easier to pinpoint where the allergy is coming from.
- Make sure the foods are in a developmentally appropriate form.
Following the doctor’s advice about introducing new foods may help your baby have a safer, happier start to their feeding journey.
*Peanuts and tree nuts should never be introduced until you have the okay from your baby’s doctor due to the risk of aspiration; however, developmentally appropriate peanut-containing products may be introduced earlier.