It’s not uncommon to think that your baby might have a food allergy. Especially since some maternal behavior is tied to allergies in babies, you might worry that any strange behavior or illness your baby is showing is related to an allergic reaction. Between 4.6–11% of children are born with a food allergy, according to a 2011 study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other studies. However, it’s important to know the warning signs of a food allergy so that you can take immediate medical action if your baby seems to be exhibiting any. Even if the cause isn’t allergies, some symptoms are life threatening either way.

Your baby might be allergic to any food, so it’s important to keep track of what you’re feeding once you make the switch to solids. While any food allergy is possible, babies are most commonly allergic to tree nuts, shellfish, dairy and fish. If your baby has an allergy to any of these foods or any other similar food, his reaction will; be a result of his body fighting what it perceives to be an invader. The symptoms could show up immediately after the food was ingested or they could show up hours later. It’s important to look for any rashes such as hives eczema, or patches of scaly and dry skin. Swelling on the face or lips is also a sign of an allergic reaction, and it’s more serious because it probably means the tongue and throat are also swelling. A restricted airway requires immediate medical attention. Diarrhea and vomiting are also symptoms of a food allergy.

Talk to your doctor about any allergy symptoms you notice in your baby. Even if the symptoms are caused by something else, your doctor will be able to help your find the cause and treat them. If the symptoms are not consistently life threatening, he might ask that you start a food diary to keep track of what you’re feeding your baby and when. Doing so might help you trace back the symptoms to a particular food or topping.

When both parents have allergies, there is a 75% chance that their baby will inherit any type of allergy. However, the type of allergy is rarely the same, so parents with allergies should simply monitor every food and allergen ingested as best they can to prevent any fatal or severe allergic reactions.

Source: Janice Joneja: Infant Food Allergy. Journal of Parenteral & Enteral Nutrition Volume 2 Issue 23 May 2011