5 steps to prevent food allergies in baby

Follow these steps to give bubba the best chance of avoiding food allergies, which can make weaning tricky.

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Chicken eggs, cow’s milk, peanuts, soy and wheat. Those are the top five most common allergens among children in Singapore. Gleneagles Hospital paediatrician Dr Liew Woei Kang adds that an allergy to shellfish is commonly seen in older children or adults.

Needless to say, weaning becomes more challenging for you and bubs if he has a food allergy You’ll also need to pay closer attention to store-bought processed foods — including baby foods like purées and cereals — as some products may contain traces of eggs or peanuts.

Incidentally, if you have a food allergy, it does not mean that your baby will have it, too. In fact, Dr Elizabeth Tham, an associate consultant in paediatric allergies at the National University Hospital, notes that there is currently no evidence to suggest food allergies are hereditary.

 

“Around 60 to 80 per cent of children with egg and milk allergies do outgrow their allergies by the age of 5.”

However, children with moderate to severe eczema are at a higher risk of food allergies. Dr Tham explains that the defective skin barrier causes your baby’s immune cells to be extra-sensitive to foreign substances like food — this results in an allergic reaction when your child is exposed to a specific food trigger.

The good news is your child may eventually outgrow certain food allergies. Dr Tham says, “Around 60 to 80 per cent of children with egg and milk allergies do outgrow their allergies by the age of 5.” But allergies like peanuts and shellfish tend to follow your child well into adulthood.

If you suspect that your kewpie has a food allergy, sticking to single-ingredient baby foods may help you pinpoint what is causing him these adverse reactions.

Dr Tham notes that signs of a food allergy can be immediate or delayed, so be sure to keep an eye on your mini-me for any adverse reactions for at least two hours after feeding him. Dr Tham says the signs can include:

* Immediate symptoms: Oral, facial or body rashes, swelling of the eyes, lips or face and difficulty in breathing after eating.

* Delayed symptoms: Bloody stools, constant vomiting or looking pale and unwell or poor growth.

Do seek medical help as soon as these symptoms show up as allergies can be fatal if left untreated.