When my little one turned 6 months and she was ready to start solids, I was so nervous about introducing allergen foods to her.
I was still paranoid and gave her her first lick of peanut butter in the car, while parked in the hospital parking lot.
I was absolutely terrified that she would have an anaphylactic reaction to peanut butter and I wouldn't be able to help her. Not because we have a family history of allergies, purely because I'm a paranoid parent.
I even asked the doctor if I should buy an EpiPen just for incase, to have on hand before I introduce peanut butter. Other than an EpiPen costing over a thousand rand and that I could possibly kill someone with it, the doctor also explained to me that babies very rarely have an anaphylactic reaction on first exposure, it usually starts with a mild reaction like a stuffy nose or rash and gets more serious with every subsequent exposure.
I was still paranoid and gave her her first lick of peanut butter in the car, while parked in the hospital parking lot before we went in for her 6 month checkup. Nothing happened tho.
Once your baby is ready for solids, you can gradually start to introduce allergen foods, keeping in mind that an allergic reaction can occur on first exposure or the 20th (basically at any later stage).
I introduced one allergen food per meal and then waited a day or two to see if there is a reaction. I only gave one allergen per meal so that I can be sure what she reacted to if she did. I also introduced it in the morning so that there were plenty of day time to visit a doctor if needed.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction to watch for:
- Hives on the skin.
- Rashes or eczema on the skin (can be itchy)
- Swelling of the mouth, face or body.
- Sneezing, runny nose or congestion.
- Wheezing or trouble breathing.
- Throat tightness.
- Nausia and / or vomiting.
- Circulation problems and light-headedness.
- Pale skin
- Loss of consciousness.
Common Allergen Foods:
- Wheat (Grains)
- Peanuts (Legumes)
- Tree Nuts
Other Possible Allergens:
Fruits (Strawberries, Mellon, Peaches, Kiwi, Banana etc) - usually raw fruits and can be linked to Oral Allergy Syndrome or Birch Pollen Allergy.
People with Oral Allergy Syndrome often react to certain raw vegetables as well.
With this long list of possible allergens it mostly means that parents have to be mindful of the possibility of allergies and be observant of their babies, if they do have a reaction or start to act unusual. Especially since an allergic reaction can occur at any encounter.
If you do have a family history of food allergies, you need to consult with your doctor on how to introduce them to your baby. Some doctors prefer to have you come into their consulting rooms and introduce them there.
The South African FB Group to join for Food Allergy Support is: