The idea of your child having food allergies is terrifying, especially because there’s nothing a parent can do to stop a child from eating. Most pediatricians recommend introducing new foods to babies around 6 months of age.
Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control reports that food allergies are on the rise. So what’s a new parent to do? Some simple and widely-held advice can at least grant you a little peace of mind.
- Introduce one new food at a time. While most allergic reactions will become apparent within a few minutes to several hours of consumption, wait a few days between offering your baby new things. If your baby tries squash and avocados at the same time and suffers painful gas for the next three days, you don’t want to be unsure which one was the culprit. Intolerances are much easier to identify if they’re isolated.
- Be aware of the Top Eight. Though humans can be allergic to one of dozens of foods, the following are responsible for 90% of allergic reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. Exercise the most caution with these items, especially if asthma or allergies are prevalent in your family.
- There’s no such thing as an unimportant reaction. Foods allergies are detected through any number of bodily reactions- including a skin reaction like hives or eczema, facial or mouth swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing or wheezing, difficulty breathing and dizziness or fainting. Finally, the most severe reaction is anaphylaxis, the constriction of the throat.
Even if your baby exhibits something mild like a rash or tummy trouble, contact your pediatrician to set up a plan. Sometimes allergies that start out as mild can become much more problematic with age. Take note of anything abnormal so you’re not kicking yourself down the road.
- Educate yourself. You cannot be too informed about something that could potentially harm your baby. Read up on all this information and more so you can get the maximum enjoyment from watching your child try new things.
Most importantly, follow your instincts when it comes to any changes in your baby. Food allergies are a frustrating and scary part of life, but the right precautions can allow any child to have a fulfilling diet.