baby food intolerances

Baby Food Intolerances: What You Need To Know

Posted in Baby Food Safety, Baby Health, Introducing Solid Food, Mum and Baby, Preparing for Solid Foods

What do you need to know about food intolerances when you start solids for your baby?

Should you worry about baby food intolerances?

Some babies may develop intolerances to food. But unlike food allergies, food intolerances:

  1. Are not due to an immune system reaction and so unlikely to cause severe anaphylactic reactions
  2. Result in symptoms that are dose related; the strength of the reaction is proportional to the amount of culprit food consumed
  3. Often don’t produce an immediate response, making them harder to understand and more difficult to diagnose with a simple test

The food intolerance culprits

Food intolerances are a reaction to the natural and/or added (artificial) chemicals in food. Naturally occurring food chemicals that cause food intolerances tend to be found in the highest concentration in the tastiest foods. Sensitivity to food chemicals is often at it’s greatest in babies and reduces as they grow and mature.  This may be the reason many prefer blander flavoured foods when first starting out on solids.

Good first feeding practices

When starting solids introduce new foods one at a time and every 2-3 days so any reactions can be clearly seen. In the event of a food reaction (see The Signs below), avoid the suspected food and reintroduce it again in another month or so. If baby continues to react to food or a series of foods make an appointment to see your doctor or local Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD).

The signs of intolerance

The signs of food intolerance in children include:
•    hives
•    diarrhoea
•    irritability and restlessness
•    tummy upset

Food intolerance reactions are often difficult to pinpoint because signs rarely occur immediately after the food is consumed, as is the case with food allergies. A special diet known as the Elimination Diet is used to diagnose food intolerances and can be carried out under the guidance of an APD.

Dealing with food intolerances

Babies and young children will vary in their degree of sensitivity to food, which may or may not lessen as they mature. Because food intolerance reactions are dose related, managing them relies on limiting the ‘dose’ or amount of the culprit food or foods your baby consumes. A little might be not be problem, a lot may be. If your baby has a number of food intolerances an APD is best able to help you manage these.

Prevention or cure?

Food intolerances in young babies may pass as they grow and their sensitivity is reduced, however this may not always be the case. Food intolerances such as lactose intolerance (intolerance to the sugars in milk) may only be temporary as in the case of babies after a bout of gastroenteritis. This usually resolves after a few weeks. However, as is the case with food allergies, there is nothing specific you can do to prevent food intolerances and they are best managed with the help of your doctor and an APD.

More information?

About the Author

About the Author: Rafferty’s Garden is a brand brought to life by our love of good food and by our belief in ensuring Australian babies get an amazing start to their food journey. .


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