Can you recognize food allergies so they won’t become food emergencies?

As you begin transitioning your baby to solid foods, you might notice unusual reactions during or after feeding. The fact is, any food can cause an allergy, and reactions can vary greatly. Some allergies can go away as your baby grows older, but even mild allergies can develop into serious ones.

By feeding your baby new foods one at a time every three to five days, it can be easier to identify if any food allergies exist.

If you think your baby is allergic to a food you have fed him, wait a week before trying it again. If he then has a similar reaction, such as fussiness after eating, he's probably sensitive to that food.

What are the most common food allergies in babies?
  • Milk and other dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Soy products
  • Wheat

Other problem foods for babies

Fresh strawberries sometimes cause food reactions in babies. Cooked strawberries usually do not. Other potentially high-allergen foods usually not fed to babies are fish, shellfish, peanuts, and tree nuts.

Baby food allergy symptoms

Allergic reactions usually appear within a few minutes to several hours after eating, and can take many forms. Typical and extreme signs of a true food allergy are:

  • Skin rash or flushed skin
  • Blood and/or mucus in the stool
  • Swelling of the face, tongue, or lips
  • Excessive spit-up, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

If you see anything unusual in your baby when you add a new food, call your healthcare professional. If your baby is having difficulty breathing or loses consciousness, call 911 immediately.

Visit the Tummy Trouble Tool to troubleshoot almost any feeding issue.

Treating a food allergy in babies: When should you call your healthcare professional?

Call your healthcare professional if your baby:

  • Is crying excessively and you have ruled out hunger, wet diaper, exhaustion, being overly warm or cool, or external pain
  • Has a rectal temperature higher than 100.4°F (for infants younger than 2 months)
  • Refuses food for longer than is typical
  • Vomits excessively or has excessive diarrhea

If your baby is having difficulty breathing or loses consciousness, call 911 immediately.

Listen to your instincts and talk to your healthcare professional about any concerns.

Should you switch baby formula?

Your healthcare professional might recommend switching to a formula that is easier for babies with milk allergies to digest. Switch your infant’s baby formula only when you and your healthcare professional have identified a problem and believe a different baby formula could help. Learn about the Similac® Tummy Care Guarantee™

Keep in mind that it can take a week or longer before an infant’s symptoms change after switching baby formula.

Did you know?

Nutrition is key to how your baby develops in her 1st year of life. Learn how OptiGRO™ helps support your baby’s overall growth, brain, eye, and immune system development.