If you have a family history of food allergies, eczema, asthma or hay fever, you may need to be particularly careful when introducing solid foods, because babies are more likely to have an allergy if there is a history of these conditions in the family. A food allergy typically causes an immediate reaction after eating the food – usually seconds or minutes after eating it.
Signs and symptoms
Introduce the foods that are common food allergens (see list below), individually, and in the morning or early afternoon so that you can look out for any reaction to that food.
The signs to look out for include:
- Any changes in breathing – breathing heavily or shortness of breath
- Itchy skin/ hives or a rash
- Runny or blocked nose
- Coughing or vomiting
- Worsening of asthma or eczema symptoms
It is important to seek medical advice if your baby shows any of these signs.
If your baby displays any of these signs: a tightening of the throat, difficulty breathing, feeling faint or a pale and clammy appearance, and swelling of the face, around the eyes, lips, or tongue – call 111, your GP or visit A & E.
Common food allergies
- Cow’s milk
- Fish and shellfish
- Gluten products including wheat, rye, barley
Other foods that can cause a reaction
- Citrus fruits (e.g. oranges), Seed fruits (strawberries) and Kiwi fruit
The effects of a food intolerance
- Stomach pain or colic
- Diarrhoea and occasionally vomiting
The most common food intolerances are the same foods as for allergies, however intolerances do not involve the immune system.
It may help to chat to other parents on our forums to find out how they are dealing with this issue within their family life. You can also talk to us via our live chat service, email us at email@example.com or call us on our helpline on 0808 800 2222 to speak to trained family support worker.