Babies aren’t great communicators. During the very early stages of their development, they’re either silent, or they’re screaming or crying. As every parent knows, screaming and crying can mean almost anything. They might be tired or bored. They might be trying to tell you that they need a change, or they’re hungry. A lot of the time, there doesn’t appear to be any reason at all. Trying to understand the reason your baby is crying is all part of the fun and games of being a new parent. It’s a wonder that any of us ever sign up for the job!
Because a baby can’t speak, gesticulate, or otherwise communicate specific facts, it isn’t always easy to spot the signs of a food allergy. That’s a common worry for new parents because severe food allergies can be dangerous, and you won’t know they exist until after your baby has eaten. None of us would ever poison our children deliberately, but even the thought that you might have done so accidentally is extremely upsetting. That’s why you need to know the tell-tale signs of an allergy.
An allergic reaction and rejection or regurgitation of food aren’t the same things. Just as we can’t always be sure why a baby is crying, we can’t always be sure why they’re throwing food back up either. A baby is like an online slots UK game. You can place the same bet on an online slots game ten or twenty times and have nothing happen, only for the jackpot to turn up on the eleventh or twenty-first spin. You can feed a baby the same food ten or twenty times and have nothing happen, and then get a violent rejection of the same meal on that eleventh or twenty-first feed. People tend to be happier with online slots jackpots than unexpected projectile vomit, so this isn’t a perfect comparison, but the comparison stands anyway!
Believe it or not, vomiting isn’t one of the potential signs of a food allergy. Read on, and we’ll tell you what you should be looking for instead.
Foods Babies Might Be Allergic To
It’s possible to avoid the risk of an allergic reaction almost completely if you avoid feeding your baby anything that presents a risk of one, but that would mean keeping them on an extremely restricted diet, which wouldn’t be ideal. There are some foods that present higher risks than others, though, and you should be conscious of when you introduce them to your baby for the first time so you can monitor them closely for any adverse reactions.
As a starting point, babies can be allergic to almost any kind of nut. Giving nuts to babies isn’t advisable anyway because they can get lodged in their throats, but even crushed or pasted nuts like peanut butter can be a problem. They can also be allergic to cow’s milk, which comes as a surprise to some people. This isn’t the same thing as being lactose intolerant (we’ll come to that later) – it’s a full-blown allergy. The other major candidates for potential allergies are eggs, shellfish, wheat, and soy. Keep a feeding diary when you’re giving your infant a food type for the first time, and only use small quantities of these foods in the early stages to minimize the severity of any potential allergic reaction.
Foods Babies Might Not Tolerate
It’s easy to confuse food intolerance with a food allergy, but they’re not the same thing. The effects of eating a food you’re intolerant to tend to be milder than those of consuming food you’re allergic to. They’re still unpleasant, but they’re not as dangerous! Intolerances are far more common than allergies but can be harder to spot.
There are three main types of food intolerance that your baby might experience. Those are lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, and intolerance of additives in food. The latter group is the easiest to deal with because you can avoid additives altogether if you shop smart. Lactose intolerance and gluten intolerance are harder to work with because you’ll probably need to obtain specialist baby food to navigate around the problem.
A baby who is lactose intolerant will probably be bloated and gassy after drinking milk. They might also experience diarrhea. Bloating and upset stomachs are also common with gluten intolerance, but this can also manifest as headaches. Intolerance of food additives is different and might appear as rashes as well as stomach upsets. Because of the rash, it can be hard to distinguish from an allergy at first, which is why it’s important to seek medical advice if rashes appear after meals.
Symptoms Of Allergies
Here’s where things get difficult! Allergies can manifest themselves in a myriad of different ways, and some of the reactions are similar to illnesses like coughs or colds. That’s why we have to be vigilant about watching our children after meals and observing whether the symptoms are present at any time other than shortly after eating. In almost all cases, the symptoms of an allergy will present themselves within an hour of a meal being consumed. In some cases, it will only take a few minutes.
Aside from stomach upsets, an allergic reaction can appear as hives or rashes, a runny nose, coughing, itchiness, sneezing, wheezing, or swelling of the skin that’s been in contact with food, including mouths and lips. In the most serious of cases, an allergic reaction will lead to anaphylaxis, which is extremely dangerous. It’s also extremely obvious. Anaphylaxis appears as disorientation or confusion, chest pain, asthma-like shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, and even loss of consciousness. Should any of these symptoms occur, an ambulance must be called immediately.
We know that telling parents not to worry is pointless, but please do try to avoid losing sleep over the prospect of your baby having an allergy. In the overwhelming majority of cases, allergies manifest as nothing more than a slight irritation. By introducing new foods slowly and carefully and logging responses, you should be able to identify them yourself and plan meals accordingly. If in doubt, though, a doctor or pediatrician should have no problem confirming your suspicions. In most cases, simple antihistamines are enough to deal with any allergic reaction that might appear – so ensure you always have some in your house and seek medical advice if you have any doubts!