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Healthy & Safety Info
Baby Food Allergy Must-Knows
As your baby starts munching on new solids, keep a lookout for allergic reactions. If food allergies or eczema run in your family, your baby might be predisposed to develop them. Symptoms vary, but some common allergic reactions include itching, redness, or GI problems such as vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea. In severe cases, which are thankfully rare, a reaction can cause anaphylaxis, or severe swelling that can restrict breathing; if you see your baby gasping, wheezing, or swelling, call 911.
To reduce your baby’s risk of an allergic reaction, your doctor will have you hold off on introducing certain foods, such as egg whites, cow’s milk, and peanut butter until his digestive and immune systems are more developed. (An immature immune system is more likely to recognize certain proteins in foods as foreign substances and attack them, triggering an allergic reaction.) It’s also smart to introduce solids one at a time, giving baby a few days to adjust to each new food. If you do notice an allergic reaction, you’ll know which food caused it.
One food-related condition whose symptoms might not be immediately apparent is celiac disease. It’s a reaction to gluten, a protein found in many grains and cereals — one reason why most pediatricians suggest that babies start solids with a gluten-free, rice-based cereal. Babies who can’t digest gluten might experience symptoms such as diarrhea, gas, vomiting, and overall fussiness. While fewer than one in 100 people have celiac disease, the chances that your baby will be diagnosed with it jump to one in 22 if an immediate family member has it, so watch your baby for symptoms after introducing oatmeal or other grains, and let your doctor know if the condition runs in your family.
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