Get expert tips on recognising food allergies in your toddler when introducing solids.
WORDS JOANNA ONG
How do I Recognise Food Allergies? What should I do if Baby Develops an Allergy After Consuming the Food?
Dr Low Kah Tzay, paediatrician, Mount Elizabeth Hospital states that the most obvious symptoms will be rashes, eye swelling, wheezing and breathing difficulties. Other less obvious symptoms will be vomiting, bloating and loose stools.
Parents are urged to keep a food diary when they start the weaning process.
Do not introduce more than one new food item at a time. Try the new food item consecutively for three days
to see if there is any reaction. If there is a reaction, avoid the food item for a few months.
If the symptoms include eye swelling or breathing difficulty, seek medical assistance immediately.
Meave Graham, paediatric registered dietitian, Child Nutrition Singapore adds that parents should also watch out for symptoms such as coughing, itchy skin or throat, swollen lips or throat, and runny or blocked nose.
Avoid highly allergenic foods before six months of age like peanut, egg, fish and shellfish as well as undercooked eggs and honey as these may lead to bacterial infections for the very young, Dr Christelle Tan, specialist in Paediatric Medicine, Raffles Specialist @ Raffles Holland Village cautions. In a healthy infant with no allergies and no family history of allergic diseases, cooked egg yolk can be introduced in the first few months of weaning around eight months of age. Egg white carries a higher risk of allergic reaction compared to the egg yolk and hence should be introduced after the egg yolk. There are no strict recommendations on the introduction of egg white but it can be done around nine to 12 months. For children with a history of allergies or a strong family history of allergies, parents can discuss this directly with their paediatrician.
If you’re thinking of delaying the weaning process because of fear of allergies, recent research has suggested that delayed introduction of food allergens may not be as protective as previously thought, Dr Rajeev Ramachandran, consultant, Division of General Ambulatory Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, National University Hospital explains. There is some preliminary evidence suggesting that exposure to food proteins in early life might help in preventing the development of food allergies.