Food allergies are somewhat mysterious because anyone can have it for no apparent reason. The fact that allergens (substances that triggers an allergic reaction) can be different from one person to another makes them very unpredictable. But there are ways you can help your baby from developing food allergies based on research.
One thing to keep in mind is that food allergy is not a disease. It’s just that your baby’s immune system mistakes something like food or food substance as pathogens causing unwanted allergic reactions like rashes, itching, or vomiting. What causes allergy to one baby may not necessarily cause allergy to another.
The medical community is divided on what really causes food allergy in children. Some pediatricians would recommend avoiding food that are known to cause allergies in most children, especially during their early years. These include fish, seafood, eggs, and nuts. But later studies prove otherwise. It could in fact increase the risk of food allergies since your baby’s immune system had not been trained to deal with it at an early age.
So what’s the solution? First of all, don’t panic. Know that your baby’s immune system is doing exactly what it’s designed to do – keep unwanted visitors out. It is strongly recommended that you start introducing food aside from breast milk only during his four or six month onwards. Try different fruits and vegetables as well as meat and fish, but do it ever so slightly while your baby’s immune system slowly adapts.
Watch out for signs like itching, rash, vomiting, difficulty breathing, or fever. Constipation, diarrhea, or flatulence are generally not regarded as allergic reactions. It’s just that your baby’s tummy cannot handle the food just yet.
Another factor that seems to prevent food allergy in children is that mothers continue breastfeeding until the age of two. Mother’s milk contains antibodies that fight infection. It also enhances the immune system’s ability to recognize between the ‘good buys’ and the ‘bad guys’. By the time your baby weans, his body ‘knows’ that healthy food is no cause for harm.
In some cases however, food allergies becomes inevitable because some allergies could run in families. In other words, if either or both parents have food allergies, there’s a chance that their baby might also develop one. When in doubt, you can talk to your pediatrician about it. Most likely they would advise you against these allergy-causing foods if you already have one.
But for the most people who don’t have known food allergies, they have a better chance of preventing food allergies to be developed in their children. As a rule, always choose natural and refrain from using processed food as much as possible. Don’t stop breastfeeding even if your baby has already started taking food. Breast milk is nature’s way of ensuring your baby gets all the essential nutrients while protecting him from common diseases.