The fear of food allergies can be great for parents of new babies. Being able to identify food allergies in your baby and knowing what you can do to protect your baby from food allergies can help you keep your baby safe.

How can you tell if your baby has food allergies?

Babies with food allergies will have symptoms similar to adult food allergies. Common allergic reactions to foods include:

  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Swollen lips or tongue
  • Vomiting
  • Wheezing
  • Diarrhea

In extreme cases, babies with food allergies may find it difficult to breathe, and some may even lose consciousness.

Which babies are most at risk for food allergies?

It's believed that allergies have a genetic component because families with parents who have allergies will often have children who also have allergies. It's believed that children are most at risk for allergies if both parents have allergies, and if siblings have allergies.

How can you tell which foods your baby is allergic to?

Parents who are just beginning to feed their children solid foods are encouraged to introduce new foods one at a time, and to wait several days between new foods. This way, any reactions to new foods will be detected and linked to each new food. Introducing more than one new food at a time can make it difficult to discover the true source of the allergy.

Which foods are most problematic for babies?

Some of the most problematic foods for babies include peanuts, shellfish, milk, fish, soy and wheat.

What can you do to help your baby avoid food allergies?

Researchers have a hard time agreeing on the best way to help babies avoid food allergies. For example, doctors used to routinely recommended that parents avoid giving their babies peanut products because they believed this could help children avoid having a peanut allergy. However, new research shows that giving your child peanut products before age 1 will help your child avoid peanut allergies. Still, some research shows that breastfeeding your child for at least 4 months can help prevent or delay the onset of food allergies.

If your child is at high risk for food allergies, take him or her to an allergist for early examination and discussion of the best ways to help your baby avoid severe allergies. Your child's doctor will be able to tell you which symptoms to look for and what you can do to help prevent a food allergy from being a problem.