A small number of babies develop allergies to certain foods. If baby’s brother or sister, or either parent has a diagnosed allergy, then your baby has a higher risk of developing an allergy as well.
Allergy NZ is an organisation which provides more information about allergies.
Signs of an allergic reaction might include skin rashes, breathing difficulties, and swelling. These signs may not appear straight away, they can sometimes take a couple of hours to become obvious. In very rare cases serious food allergies can lead to anaphylaxis, which can cause swelling of the throat and mouth, restricting the airways and can be life threatening.
Among other benefits, breastfeeding may lower the risk of allergy in babies:
- Breastfeed –breastfeed your baby for at least the first six months, and continue to breastfeed for as long as you can after you have introduced solids. Don’t introduce solids before 4 months.
- Take it slowly –when your baby starts solids, introduce just one new food at a time. Try a new food for 2-4 days to see how your baby tolerates it, then you can try another food.
There is no reason to delay introducing any foods to your baby unless you know they have a diagnosed allergy to a certain food.
If you do suspect your baby has a food allergy, make sure you talk to your health professional or a dietitian before you start changing their diet - you don’t want your baby to miss out on important and nutritious foods for no good reason.