The most awaited time of your baby has now come. Your baby has completed the first 6 months and he is ready to be introduced to the solid foods. This time is cherished like anything by you, as a parent and suggestions keep on pouring from all corners but be cautious as it may at times bring certain adverse reactions to the body of your baby in the form of allergies. Food allergies are very common in babies and can be very troublesome for your baby. Your baby is the most prized possession so be gentle and calm while introducing food to him. Observe his likings, taste, and acceptance to serve him the best.
Any harmful symptom or an adverse reaction exhibited by the body over a food is known as food allergy. The food causing such reactions is called allergens. Though the immune system fights body infections, when it gets exposed to a particular substance it releases certain chemicals to defend the same. These chemicals are called histamines. They are the cause of the adverse reaction over the body of your baby. Allergies could be mild as well as life- threatening. Allergies are often confused for food intolerance which does not produce the symptoms as drastic as allergy and is not so quickly unveiled. They may cause symptoms like diarrhea, bloating and headaches.
At the onset of an allergy due to a certain food, the body of your baby will reveal these symptoms immediately:
1. Fever which could be mild or high as per the manifestation of the allergens.
2. Red spots or rashes all over the body or on a certain part of the body.
3. Swelling of the face, tongues or lips.
4. Vomiting, diarrhea, loss of water from the body.
5. Hives which is a skin reaction with red marks and heavy itching.
6. Loss of consciousness.
Most of the allergies outgrow as the time passes and your baby enters into 9-10 year of his age. They may fade away to a very large extent or may be gone totally until then be cautious and take care of your child. In order to understand the cause of the allergy, it is essential to keep these pointers in mind and follow these preventive measures:
1. Introduction to food must be gradual and not to be rushed. Start one ingredient or food group at a time and let your baby get accustomed to the same for 5-6 days. If your kid gets comfortable with it, take the next step. It is important for you to observe his reaction towards the same. This would allow your baby to cherish the taste of a particular food item.
2. It is necessary to maintain a time gap between two foods. The minimum time gap between different foods must be at least 3-4 hours. Keep your excitement at bay and do not try sweet and citrus foods together. While starting fruits, always give one fruit at a time. Do not mix alkaline and acidic fruits together. The process is time-consuming but it is worth a wait for your little one as you do not want your baby to suffer.
3. Do not force food items to your baby, you may consider it as a tantrum when he refuses something but he may have felt uneasy while consuming it. Be patient in your approach, try a very small portion of the food item and look for some discomfort, uneasiness or any visible sign over his body. After few days again try it, he may accept the same.
4. There are certain food items which need to be given after completion of a certain age. Certain nuts lie in this category. They may at times cause an inflammatory reaction in your baby. It is advisable to talk to your doctor before starting any such food into your baby’s diet. Though food is to provide nutrition still it may cause more harm if not given at a right time.
5. Lastly, a family history of allergy needs a special attention as it may travel down to the future generation. Try to keep these foods at bay as they may trigger some allergic reaction in your baby too. Try other foods initially you may introduce that food after the consultation with a doctor. Inheritance and genes play a major role in such reactions.
We have talked about allergy and reactions but it is necessary to list few of the foods that top the list for causing allergy or intolerance in babies and they are as follows:
1. Peanuts and walnuts
3. Milk and milk products
7. Few vegetables like colocasia, brinjal
9. Certain fruits
These are few items that you must introduce with caution. Before the introduction of solid foods it is advisable to consult the pediatric for a proper food chart for your baby.
In case you notice a sudden reaction in your baby to any food item, do not hesitate to rush to the nearest doctor. He will examine the probable causes and will check your baby thoroughly and may prescribe the treatment accordingly. Follow his instructions religiously as allergies at times can have serious implications. The course of medication would depend on the seriousness of the allergy. The doctor must be well versed with the family history so that he may administer the problem and the medication accordingly. If your baby is diagnosed with an allergy, it is good to be well aware of to do things even before going to the doctor.