Infants and food allergies

Food allergies aren't just for adults. Even in the first months of life, some bodies and some foods simply don't get along.

Infants with food allergies may seem cranky and sleep poorly, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). They may also have blood in their stool.

If your doctor thinks that your baby may have food allergies, you'll probably have to try some new things at feeding time.

If you breastfeed

According to the AAP, breast milk is the best source of nutrition for infants throughout the first year of life. But whatever you eat will be in your breast milk in some amount. So if your baby has food allergies, the AAP recommends changing your diet to see if that improves the symptoms.

Your doctor may recommend that you stop eating milk, eggs, fish, nuts or other foods to see how your infant reacts. You may be able to eventually add some foods back in to your diet to see which food or foods your infant is reacting to.

If changes in your diet aren't enough, your doctor may recommend switching your baby to hypoallergenic formula.

If you bottle-feed

Some infants are allergic to both cow's milk and soy formulas. If your child is allergic to formula, your doctor may recommend trying a hypoallergenic formula instead.

If it's in the family

If you have a family history of food allergies, feeding your child breast milk exclusively during the first six months of life may be suggested to help prevent problems. Your doctor may also recommend alternating breast milk with hypoallergenic formula.

Planning your infant's menu

Check with your doctor if you have any questions about how or what to feed your infant, or about symptoms that may be related to diet.

reviewed 12/10/2019

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