Some babies are sensitive to certain foods, but how do you know which foods? Certain reactions, perhaps a rash, diarrhea or vomiting, are tell-tale signs that a food doesn't agree with your baby. Food sensitivities and food allergies are not the same. Understanding the difference between them is important, especially in children, because it could have important nutrition implications in growing kids. A food allergy is a reaction by the immune system by a food that sees it as a threat. Food sensitivities can be harder to pinpoint because they have a delayed response in the body. Unfortunately, there are no clear tests to identify a food sensitivity.
The good news is that most babies outgrow these reactions once their immune and digestive systems mature. In the meantime, monitor your baby for food reactions.
- Keep track of everything your baby eats. It’s a good idea to keep a log of symptoms, such as rashes, stomach aches, headaches and bowel movements along with daily food intake. Until you know which foods upset your baby, serve single-grain infant cereals and plain fruits, vegetables and meats instead of mixed varieties. If your baby has a reaction to a certain food, stop serving that food.
- As you introduce new foods, offer one at a time. Wait a couple of days before introducing another new food. That way if your baby has a problem, you'll know which food caused it.
- If any food causes a significant and ongoing problem, talk to your baby's doctor. Together, you can establish a plan that is best for your baby. The best protocol is to consult your pediatrician or allergist and seek help from a registered dietitian nutritionist. An RDN can give you advice on safe foods to include, as well as well-rounded meal plans to ensure that your child gets optimal nutrition every day.