What About the Littlest Ones? Recognizing Food Allergies in Babies

Posted 1.15.08 | Nutrition Specialist
I read this article by Jessica Snyder Sachs a few days ago in Parenting magazine. I think it’s a great article with a focus on how to prevent allergies in school-age children. It’s definitely worth checking out, but I do wish she had included some information on food allergies in babies.Food Allergies are scary for any parent, but they can be even scarier when your child is too young to tell you what’s wrong.

And pinpointing allergies in babies can be extremely tricky. While some infants can have anaphylactic reactions, most of the time babies’ symptoms look like typical baby ailments.

Note: I don’t want to dismiss the severity of a baby having an anaphylactic reaction – it’s serious and terrifying. But it occurs less often than the type of symptoms we’re talking about here. (Perhaps thanks to the food allergy community’s efforts to inform docs and moms about precautions to take during pregnancy and baby’s first few years of life.)

Here are the most common symptoms to look out for in your baby if you suspect the little one has a food allergy:

  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Blood and/or mucus in the stool
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Respiratory problems
  • Inconsolable crying (“colicky”)
  • Poor weight gain
  • An overall failure to thrive

Babies can have a combination of several of these symptoms or sometimes just one. If you think your baby could possibly have an allergy, check out www.testforallergy.com. It’s a great resource to help parents figure out what steps to take next. As always, I’d love to see your comments below.

Take care,

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Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.