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    Baby food allergies

    Baby food allergies Vs intolerances—things to consider

    Baby allergies and intolerances can develop at any time. An allergy is our immune system’s reaction to a substance it thinks is harmful. The severity of the reaction can vary among people and many children outgrow some types of food allergies. A food intolerance is different from an allergy and is not caused by an immune reaction. Food intolerance causes discomfort, but it’s not dangerous.   Here are some tips on spotting the signs of allergies in babies versus the signs of intolerances in babies, as well as other things to consider.

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    • Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your infant developing food allergies or intolerance.
    • Be aware of the foods that cause food allergy most often, called common food allergens. These includes: Milk (and milk products); egg; peanut; tree nuts (e.g. almonds, cashews, walnuts); Soy; Seafood (e.g. fish, shellfish, crustaceans); wheat; sesame.
    • Don’t delay introducing any foods to try to prevent allergy when you start introducing solid foods to your baby at around 6 months.
    • When introducing common food allergens, offer one at a time and no more than one per day in small amounts so you can spot an allergic reaction more easily.
    • Once an allergenic food is introduced and your child is tolerating it, try and include it on a regular basis in your child’s usual diet, as this can minimize the risk of a future allergy.
    • Signs of allergies in babies can occur straight after a food is eaten, or several hours later.
    • Be aware of the common allergy signs, for example: swollen face, lips or tongue, wheezing or difficulty breathing, itchy skin, throat, tongue, or eyes, rash/hives, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, and a runny or blocked nose.
    • A severe allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis, is serious so it’s worth knowing what to do next.
    • If you suspect your baby is having an allergic reaction, try to stay calm and seek medical help as soon as you realize something is wrong.
    • If your child is showing signs of a severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis, call the emergency services immediately.
    • If your child has a food allergy, make sure you read food labels carefully and avoid any foods where the ingredients are unclear.
    • A food intolerance is not an allergy and is not caused by an immune reaction. Food intolerance will cause discomfort, but it’s not dangerous to your child.
    • Remember that signs of intolerances in babies can appear more slowly, making them harder to diagnose.
    • Look out for intolerance signs, for example: bloating, loose stools, gas or other symptoms after eating a specific food. Even though intolerance is not dangerous, you may want to avoid foods that cause discomfort.
    • The best thing to do if you’re concerned that your baby may have a food allergy or intolerance is to speak to your doctor.
    • Learn more about baby allergies and intolerances here.

    Sources

     

    Canadian Paediatric Society. Caring for Kids. Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance: What is the difference and can I prevent them? https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/food_allergies_and_intolerances Accessed September 2020.

    HealthLinkBC. Reducing Risk of Food Allergy in Your Baby. https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthy-eating/reducing-baby-food-allergy-risk Accessed September 2020.

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