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Juice Abuse: What You Need To Know

Child Drinking Juice

We understand that juice is sweet, refreshing, tastes great, and that your child loves it. We also understand that knowing what to give your child to drink has never been more confusing. Sure, your child no doubt prefers sweet, tasty juice to drink…and many fruit juices are fortified with vitamin C. But are they healthy? Should you offer juice as a beverage during mealtimes?

Read on for dietitian Kelly Stellato’s recommendations!

Juice Abuse: A Dietitian Answers Common Juice-Related Questions

“Wait a minute…isn’t juice healthy? After all, it come from fruit, and fruit is healthy.”

KellySThis is a common question. The answer is that juice can be healthy, in moderation. Most fruit juice contains no fat, fiber, or vitamins (with the exception of vitamin C). So, when you give your child 2 or more cups a day, you are essentially giving him a lot of sugar and calories. The calories in juice are what we nutritionists call “empty calories”. This means that the calories are not providing valuable nutrients and are also not filling your child up.

“How much juice is healthy, and how much is too much?”

After your child is a year old, if you offer juice, you should give no more than 4 oz. of juice for an entire day (not just per meal!). When you give your child more than that, the extra sugar and calories will really add up. All fruit contains sugar, so even if you are making your own juice, you can’t escape the fact that it will be high in sugar. More than 4 oz. of any juice per day is too much.

“My child loves juice, though – it’s all she wants to drink!”

I understand your child loves juice but, that doesn’t mean you need to give it to her every time she asks. You are the care giver. It is your responsibility to provide what is best for your child, even if that is not what she wantws. Giving your child too much juice can result in stomachaches and diarrhea; this is the result of over consumption of a specific type of sugar commonly found in juice. In addition, fruit juice is acidic. This can damage tooth enamel and cause decay. Even if you are providing homemade or sugar-reduced juice, tooth damage can result from over consumption. Finally, be aware that offering sugary drinks – including juice – can increase your child’s risk of becoming overweight or obese.

So, when your child asks for a second cup of juice for the day, a healthier choice would be to give them a piece of fruit instead. Whole fruits, while they do contain sugar, also contain fiber and nutrients, which makes them a much better source of nutrition.

“So, if juice should be limited…what should I be giving my child to drink?”

Well, breastmilk or formula should be your child’s primary source of nutrition, and it provides all the liquid your child needs. You can offer water after your child is 7 or 8 months old, but offer that sparingly. After your child is 12 months old, it’s best to offer whole milk and water.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

Questions about your child’s juice consumption, or tips for other parents? Share them below!

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Your Baby’s Start On Solid Foods: an e-Book Bundle!

StartSolidFoods

Introducing solid foods to your baby is an exciting milestone…but it can also be a source of stress for many families! We’ve worked with so many families who have unanswered questions like these about starting their babies on solids:

  • What’s the right age to start my baby on solids?
  • When’s the best time of day to start feeding my baby solid food?
  • My baby hates vegetables…what do I do?!
  • How is starting solids going to affect my baby’s sleep?
  • Is it better to buy baby food, or make my own?
  • Should I start with purees, or is baby-led weaning a better choice?

The e-Book You Need Is Finally Here!

thumbnailFortunately for you, we answer all these questions – and more – in our latest e-Book, Your Baby’s Start On Solid Food: A Comprehensive Guide. Within the pages of this e-Book, you’ll find everything you need to give your baby the healthiest start possible, including…
 
 

  • Tips on when and how to start solid foods.
  • Sample age-based feeding schedules.
  • Advice on which foods to offer when (and how much to offer).
  • Recommendations on how to spot and address food sensitivities and food allergies.
  • Step-by-step instructions on preparing your own baby food.
  • Feeding product recommendations.

Supplemental Materials for an Even Healthier Start!

But that’s not all – your e-Book bundle also comes with supplemental materials designed to help you give your baby the healthiest possible start. These bonus products provide you even more help in giving your baby a nutritious start to solid food, and are designed to give you the practical, actionable tips you need. Your supplemental materials include…

  • The Top 5 Mistakes Parents Make When Starting Their Babies On Solids, along with tips from a registered dietitian for avoiding these mistakes.
  • A guide to recognizing, dealing with, and preventing constipation as a result of starting solid foods.
  • A dietitian-approved guide for making and storing your own baby food.
  • A weekly meal-planning booklet, created by a registered dietician, that includes 7-day menu plans for babies age 6 months through toddlers age 13 months.

Who’s Helping You On This Journey?

NicoleBlueSweater_webNicole Johnson, co-author of Your Baby’s Start On Solid Food, is Founder and Lead Sleep Consultant at The Baby Sleep Site®. As an expert baby and toddler sleep, Nicole is the first to point out that feeding and sleep are directly connected – so connected, in fact, that she wrote this e-Book in order to ensure that parents everywhere know how to start their babies on solids in a way that won’t hinder sleep! In this e-Book, Nicole draws on her years of working with families to bring you up-to-date nutritional information and recommendations.

 

KellySNicole is joined by Kelly Stellato, a registered dietician and certified lactation consultant who has years of experience helping families make the best nutritional choices for their children. Kelly brings her wealth of experience and wisdom to this e-Book, outlining her top recommendations and guidelines for starting your baby on solid food.

The bottom line is simply this: your baby deserves the best, most nutritious start to eating solids foods – and our e-Book package provides exactly that.

Your Baby’s Start On Solid Foods e-Book Packaage

  • Instant download of Your Baby’s Start on Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide
  • Top 5 Mistakes Parents Make When Starting Solids article, by Kelly Stellato, RD
  • Guide to Treating and Preventing Constipation
  • Weekly Menu Planning Guide, by Kelly Stellato, RD
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5 Steps To Recognizing and Handling Your Baby’s Food Allergies and Sensitivities

If you’ve been following our food allergy series, you might be starting to feel like an expert at this point! After all, you know the difference between food allergies, food sensitivities, and food intolerances. You know the symptoms of each, and you know when to try an elimination diet and when to seek a medical diagnosis. Finally, you know all about egg and dairy allergies, as well as nut, wheat, and soy allergies.

Feeling smart yet? You should be. 😉

We’re wrapping up our food allergy series with today’s article. In it, we’ll lay out 5 steps you can take to recognize, diagnose, and manage your baby’s food allergies or sensitivities.

5 Steps to Recognizing and Handling Your Baby’s Food Allergies and Sensitivities

1. Introduce new foods one at a time, and watch for warning signs.

It’s best to introduce new foods to your baby one at a time, and to wait a few days between foods. This way, if your baby does have a bad reaction to a particular food, it’ll be much easier for you to sort out which food is causing problems.

Warning signs to watch for include:

  • Skin issues (rash, hives, itchiness)
  • Breathing issues (swelling of tongue and airways, wheezing, coughing, difficulty breathing)
  • Stomach issues (gas, bloating, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea)

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for those hard-to-spot symptoms, too:

  • Lethargy and exhaustion
  • Sleeplessness
  • “Brain Fog” and trouble concentrating
  • Frequent illness (as a result of suppressed immunity)
  • Irritability

It can be a good idea to write down your observations, especially if you suspect that your baby may have a food allergy or sensitivity. If you keep a written record, it’ll be easier for you to share important information with a healthcare provider, and it’ll ensure that you don’t leave out or forget any pertinent facts.

2. If you suspect a food allergy or sensitivity, confirm your suspicions.

If you see a few warning signs and begin to suspect that your little one may have a food allergy or sensitivity, then take appropriate steps:

  • Try an elimination diet. Remember, an elimination diet allows you to carefully test how your baby responds when you remove a certain food from her diet and then reintroduce it later. An elimination diet is a great diagnostic tool to use if your baby’s symptoms aren’t acute and life-threatening. Remember to consult your healthcare provider before trying an elimination diet at home.
  • Seek medical help if necessary. If your baby’s symptoms are acute and serious, skip the elimination diet and seek medical attention right away. A healthcare provider will be able to perform a variety of tests (including skin prick and blood tests) to give you a diagnosis.

3. Notify all childcare providers.

Once you have confirmation of your baby’s food allergy or sensitivity, be sure to let your childcare providers know. This includes anyone who takes care of your baby. It’s important that the people who will be feeding and supervising your little one know exactly what he can and can’t eat.

If your baby’s food allergy is acute and serious, communicate that to childcare providers. And don’t be afraid to insist on special accommodations being made for your baby. Today, most daycare centers and schools have procedures in place to accommodate severe allergies.

4. Research your options.

Just a decade ago, there were so few food alternatives for people with food allergies and sensitivities. Today, that’s definitely not the case! There are a variety of alternatives to milk, and even a few for eggs! And there are a number of nut, wheat, and gluten alternatives, too. Research your options and adjust your grocery shopping accordingly.

5. Consider re-introducing foods after awhile (with a healthcare provider’s approval)

With the exception of peanut and tree nut allergies (those tend to be life-long), most children tend to outgrow their food allergies and sensitivities. Many outgrow them by age 5; almost all outgrow them by age 10. For this reason, doctors recommend re-introducing allergenic foods after some time has passed. There’s even some research indicating that feeding your child very small amounts of a food they’re allergic to may help them outgrow their allergy faster.

Of course, you should never re-introduce foods without the approval of your child’s healthcare provider. This is especially true if your baby’s allergy is acute and serious; even a tiny amount of the trigger food could cause a life-threatening reaction.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

Does your baby have a food allergy or sensitivity? What steps have you taken to diagnose and manage it?

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Common Childhood Food Allergies: Nut, Wheat, and Soy Allergies

Welcome again to our our article series on food allergies! We’ve covered a lot of ground up to this point. We’ve examined the differences between food allergies, food sensitivities, and food intolerances. We’ve also looked at the symptoms of each, as well as how to get a diagnosis. If you haven’t read those articles yet, be sure to go back and take a look. .

Today’s article is part 2 of our Common Childhood Food Allergies article. In part 1, learned more about dairy and egg allergies; today, we’ll examine nut, wheat, and soy allergies in more detail.

NOTE: If you believe your child has a nut, wheat or soy food allergy, intolerance or sensitivity, please consult with your child’s doctor for further testing and information.

Peanut and Tree Nut Allergies & Sensitivities

If your baby has a nut allergy, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Nut allergies are usually divided into two categories: peanut and tree nut. Tree nuts include macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, beechnuts, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, and pine nuts. And peanuts are actually legumes; they aren’t nuts at all!
  • Tree nut allergies are less common than peanut allergies, but they can be just as severe.
  • Children who are allergic to peanuts are more likely to be allergic to tree nuts as well (and vice versa.)
  • Doctors usually advise patients with peanut and tree nut allergies to stay away from ALL nuts; there’s a high likelihood of cross-contamination at facilities that process nuts, since they usually process all nuts on the same equipment.
  • Children who have peanut allergies are more likely to have other food allergies, too.
  • Peanut allergies in kids are on the rise — the rates of children with peanut allergies tripled between 1997 and 2008.
  • You shouldn’t offer your baby any peanut or nut products (including nut butters) until after she’s a year old.
  • Peanut and tree nut allergies are usually severe and acute, and they cause anaphylaxis more often than other food allergies. If your toddler has a nut allergy, you should carry an Epi pen with you at all times.

Wheat Allergies & Sensitivities

If your baby has a wheat allergy or sensitivity, remember the following:

  • Wheat and gluten allergies are often considered interchangeable, but they’re not the same thing. If your baby’s allergic or sensitive to gluten, the problem is the combination of protein fragments found in grains like wheat, rye, oats, and barley. If he’s allergic to wheat, then the problem is just with the wheat protein.
  • A gluten allergy is called Celiac disease. Celiac is a chronic, life-long condition; those who have it will never outgrow their sensitivity to gluten.
  • Some babies and toddlers may have acute and severe wheat allergies; others may have wheat sensitivities that cause chronic, less severe symptoms.
  • Many, many foods contain wheat; this makes it difficult to know which foods are safe and which to avoid. Use this list to help you make food choices for your baby, and read labels carefully.

Soy Allergies & Sensitivities

If your baby has a soy allergy or sensitivity, consider these points:

  • True soy allergies are relatively rare. Soy sensitivity is much more common; it causes mild, chronic symptoms that aren’t life-threatening or severe.
  • Soybeans aren’t a major staple in the average American’s diet, but soy is used as an ingredient in a huge variety of foods. Use this list to help you as you may food choices for your baby, and remember to read labels carefully.
  • Most parents first detect their babies’ soy sensitivities when the babies react to soy-based infant formula.
  • Soy milks and cheeses are commonly offered as an alternative to children with dairy allergies; this can be complicated if the child also has a soy allergy.

Outgrowing Peanut, Tree Nut, Wheat, and Soy Allergies & Sensitivities

Most children outgrow their wheat and soy allergies before adulthood. Many outgrow them before starting kindergarten; almost all have outgrown them by 10 years old.

Peanut and tree nut allergies are a different story, however. These are usually considered lifelong allergies, since only 20% of children outgrow their peanut and tree nut allergies.

Peanut, Tree Nut, and Wheat Substitutes

Peanut, tree nut, and soy allergies might not present huge challenges when you’re cooking, but a wheat allergy?! That’s a tough one to work around. Thankfully, food allergy sufferers have more substitution options than ever before.

Peanut and Tree Nut Substitutions

Nut Product Substitution
Peanut Butter WOWButter® is made from roasted soybeans*, and it’s processed in a facility that’s 100% nut-free, so there’s no risk of cross-contamination. SunButter® is another option; it’s made from sunflower seeds and is also produced in a facility that’s completely nut-free. )

Wheat Substitutions

Wheat Product Substitution
Breads, Cereals, and Pastas There’s an increasing variety of gluten-free and wheat-free products available. Check your local grocery store for gluten-free and wheat-free items; if you can’t find them there, try sources like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s (or even Amazon.com!)
Flour When you’re baking, for 1 cup wheat flour, you can substitute 7/8 cup rice flour, 5/8 cup potato starch flour, 1 cup corn flour, or 1 cup soy* flour + 1/4 cup potato starch flour.

*Remember, soy is itself an allergen; if your baby also has a soy allergy, don’t use these as substitutes.

For extensive information on cooking for babies and toddlers with food allergies, visit the Kids With Food Allergies Foundation website.

My Baby Has Food Allergies/Sensitivities: How Do I Handle Them?

We’re glad you asked? That’s the topic of the last post in our Food Allergies & Sensitivities series:

Part Five: Handling Your Baby’s Food Allergies and Sensitivities

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

Is your baby allergic to nuts, wheat, or soy? If so, how did you find out? What were your baby’s symptoms? What substitutions do you use in your kitchen?

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Common Childhood Food Allergies: Dairy and Egg Allergies

Welcome back to our food allergy series! We’ve covered a lot of ground up to this point. We’ve examined the differences between food allergies, food sensitivities, and food intolerances. We’ve also looked at the symptoms of each, as well as how to get a diagnosis. If you haven’t read those articles yet, be sure to go back and take a look.

Over the course of the next 2 articles, we’ll be learning about the 5 most common childhood food allergies: dairy, egg, wheat, nut, and soy allergies. In this article, we’ll look specifically at dairy and egg allergies.

NOTE: If you believe your child might have a dairy or egg allergy, intolerance or sensitivity, please consult with your child’s doctor for further testing and information.

Dairy Allergies & Sensitivities

If your baby has a dairy allergy or sensitivity, here are a few things to remember:

  • Dairy is the most common allergy among babies and toddlers in the U.S., affecting about 2.5% of children under age 5.
  • The vast majority of children with “dairy issues” have dairy sensitivities as opposed to true dairy allergies. These babies and toddler usually experience symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea. You may also notice other symptoms, like eczema and skin rashes, suppressed immunity, lethargy, and irritability.
  • Occasionally, a baby or toddler will have a true dairy allergy. Symptoms can include wheezing and shortness of breath, or full-blown anaphylaxis. It’s rare, however, for dairy products to cause such severe reactions.
  • Dairy allergies range in their severity. Some children can’t tolerate any dairy products at all; others can’t drink milk but can eat foods that have been prepared with dairy products (like baked goods, sauces, etc.) Babies and toddlers with less severe dairy allergies may be able to handle dairy products that have been cooked or baked.
  • It can be hard to distinguish between true dairy allergies and sensitivities, and dairy intolerance (otherwise known as lactose intolerance.) However, lactose intolerance is quite rare in babies and toddlers (although it’s very, very common among adults.) If you’re unsure as to whether your baby’s reactions to dairy are due to a sensitivity or not, consider visiting your healthcare provider for more insight.

Egg Allergies & Sensitivities

If your baby has an egg allergy, keep the following points in mind:

  • Egg allergies are one of the most common childhood allergies in the U.S. Egg allergies typically involve skin reactions, like eczema and rashes/hives. Occasionally, egg allergies can produce vomiting and (rarely) anaphylaxis.
  • An egg allergy isn’t always an allergy to the whole egg. Some babies may be allergic to egg whites, while other are allergic to egg yolks. However, if you know that your baby is allergic to one and not the other, doctors still don’t recommend that you feed your baby the “non-allergic” part of the egg (for example, feeding your baby yolks if he’s allergic to whites.) Doctors advise this because it’s impossible to completely separate egg yolks from egg whites.
  • Egg allergies vary in intensity from one baby to the next. Some babies will be extremely sensitive to eggs; others will be able to tolerate some foods that contain traces of eggs (for example, cookies or breads baked with eggs.)
  • If your baby has an egg allergy, strive to read food labels carefully. Eggs are hidden in a surprising number of foods, from canned soups to salad dressings to pre-packaged meatballs. Remember, too, that egg substitutes (like Egg Beaters®) contain egg proteins and aren’t safe for babies with egg allergies.
  • Talk to your doctor about whether or not your baby should have a flu shot. Flu shots are prepared using egg-based ingredients, and they can pose a problem for babies and toddlers who are severely allergic to eggs.

Outgrowing Dairy and Egg Allergies

Here’s some good news: the majority of babies and toddlers with milk or egg allergies will outgrow them. The numbers vary, but statistics indicate that a large percentage of children have outgrown their allergies by the time they reach kindergarten, and virtually all have outgrown them by the time they’re 10 years old.

Experts are noticing, however, that children are outgrowing their allergies more slowly than they did in the past. This, coupled with the fact that more and more children are being diagnosed with food allergies each year, have doctors concerned, and reveal the need for more research into the question of what exactly causes food allergies.

Dairy and Egg Substitutions

If your baby has a dairy or egg allergy, you know first-hand that cooking for your little one can become a real challenge! Not to worry, though; today, children with food allergies have far more options than they did in the past.

DAIRY SUBSTITUTIONS

Dairy Product Substitution
Milk Soy milk*, rice milk, almond milk, and coconut milk are all safe replacements are available at many grocery stores. (Note: goat’s milk and sheep’s milk are very similar to cow’s milk and aren’t considered safe substitutes for children with dairy allergies.)
Butter Earth Balance Buttery Spread® comes highly recommended and contains no milk products at all. (Note: watch for margarines that are made with vegetable or olive oil; many of them still contain milk solids.)
Yogurt So Delicious® yogurt (made with coconut milk or almond milk) is a good option. So is Silk Live® (made with soy milk*).
Cheese Soy cheese is made with soy milk* and is a safe substitute for dairy cheese. Tofutti® cheese products are made with tofu and is safe for those with dairy allergies, too. Be warned, however — these substitutes taste nothing like “real” cheese and don’t melt well.
Sour Cream / Cream Cheese Tofutti® makes tofu-based cream cheese and sour cream.* (Contains soy.)

EGG REPLACEMENTS**

Egg Product Repacement
Commercial Replacement Ener-G Egg Replacer® comes in powder form and is great for baking.
Homemade Replacements You can used pureed banana or applesauce in place of the egg in some recipes. You can also mix a little ground flaxseed with water.

*Some dairy substitutes contain soy. Soy is also a common allergen, so if your child has both a dairy and a soy allergy, be sure to avoid all soy dairy substitutes.

**Products that are labeled as “egg substitutes”, such as Egg Beaters®, contain egg ingredients and aren’t safe to use for children with egg allergies.

For extensive information on cooking for babies and toddlers with food allergies, visit the Kids With Food Allergies Foundation website.

What About Other Types of Allergies?

Dairy and egg allergies are common, but so are other types of food allergies. We’ll be examining other common allergens in our next post, along with 5 tips to handling your baby’s food allergies and sensitivities:

Part Four: Wheat, Nut, & Soy Allergies

Part Five: Handling Your Baby’s Food Allergies and Sensitivities

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

Does your baby suffer from a dairy or egg allergy? What are your baby’s symptoms? How have you modified your cooking? Share your tips!

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Recognizing and Diagnosing Your Baby’s Food Allergies and Sensitivities

We’ve already started the discussion about food allergies and sensitivities on this blog; if you haven’t read the overview article yet, you can find it here.

If you’ve read that article, you have a nice foundation of knowledge about the difference between food allergies, food sensitivities, and food intolerances. You also know a bit more about the potential causes of your baby’s food issues, as well as the the likelihood that your baby will outgrow his food allergies or sensitivities.

That’s all well and good. But what about practical, useful tips to help you deal with your baby’s food allergy or sensitivity?

That’s what we’re starting today. In this article, we’ll examine the spectrum of symptoms that food sensitivities and food allergies can cause; we’ll also look at how to diagnose your baby’s food allergies and sensitivities.

NOTE: If you suspect your child has a food allergy or intolerance, please check with your pediatrician for testing and additional information.

Symptoms of Food Allergies, Food Sensitivities, and Food Intolerances

If only there were a nice, tidy set of easy-to-recognize symptoms that would help us recognize and identify our babies’ food allergies and sensitivities.

Unfortunately, there’s not!

Instead, symptoms of food allergies and sensitivities tend to span a broad spectrum. Some symptoms are easy to detect; others are subtle and easy to miss.

SYMPTOM CHART

Body System Affected FOOD ALLERGIES FOOD SENSITIVITIES FOOD INTOLERANCES
Skin Skin rashes, hives, itching, eczema Skin rashes, hives, itching, eczema None
Digestion Nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea Nausea, bloating, gas, diarrhea Nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea
Airways and Lungs Swelling of tongue, swelling of airways, shortness of breath, chest pain None None
Immunity None Chronic nasal congestion, chronic ear infections, suppressed immunity None
Other Anaphylaxis “Brain Fog” (inability to concentrate), increased irritability, muscle/joint aches, headaches, fatigue, sleep disorders None

Notice that the symptoms of food intolerance and the symptoms of food allergies and sensitivities overlap a bit. This can make it very difficult to know whether your child has a true food allergy or sensitivity, or whether she has a basic food intolerance.

Notice, too, that the symptoms of food sensitivities are so widespread and varying — everything from vomiting to eczema to fatigue! No wonder food sensitivities can be so hard to diagnose.

How To Tell if Your Baby Has a Food Allergy or Sensitivity

Maybe your baby’s suffering from terrible diarrhea and diaper rash, and you suspect milk may be to blame. Or, perhaps your baby seems lethargic and grumpy all the time, and you’re wondering if a wheat allergy might be the cause.

But how can you know for sure? How can you tell if your child has a food allergy or sensitivity?

First, make note of this: if your baby has a violent, acute, or dangerous reaction to a food (like a sudden wheezing or shortness of breath), seek medical help immediately. Then, consult your healthcare provider about the reaction.

Most people don’t have dangerous reactions to foods, however — it’s likely your baby’s symptoms will be less severe. If this is the case, you have two options:

1. Consult with a healthcare provider.

Remember, this is a must if your baby’s reactions are serious.

While most doctors readily admit that there’s lots of room for improvement in the detection and diagnosis of food allergies and sensitivities, we’ve come a long way in the past few years.

In 2008, the National Institute on Allergy and Infections Diseases created a set of guidelines for defining, diagnosing, and managing food allergies and sensitivities. These guidelines recommend that doctors use both skin prick and blood tests to determine if a child is allergic to a particular food.

A positive skin prick or blood test can provide definitive information about your baby’s food allergies or sensitivities, eliminating the need for you to make guesses about whether or not your baby has an actual allergy.

2. Try an elimination diet.

Skin prick and blood tests don’t always provide the whole story, however. And they can be painful and invasive (most doctors won’t even perform skin prick tests on babies and toddlers, since the test tends to be very uncomfortable.)

Many experts agree that best way to determine if your baby has a food sensitivity is to try an elimination diet at home. It’s best if you do this under the supervision of a healthcare provider; that way, you can ensure that your baby isn’t missing out on any vital nutrients.

(Note: if your child has serious allergic reactions, don’t mess around with an elimination diet. Go straight to a healthcare provider. Elimination diets are a good idea for food sensitivities that don’t produce acute, dangerous reactions.)

Using an elimination diet at home is relatively simple:

  1. Eliminate the suspected trigger food from your baby’s diet for a period of time (a few weeks to a few months.)
  2. During this time, observe your baby’s symptoms for signs of improvement. Consider keeping a written record for your healthcare provider.
  3. After the period of time is over, gradually re-introduce small amounts of the trigger food back into your baby’s diet and observe his reactions.

If your baby shows no significant signs of improvement with the elimination diet, and if re-introducing the trigger food has no noticeable effects, then you can probably rule out the possibility of a food sensitivity.

However, if you notice that your baby improves during the elimination diet, then it’s likely that she has a food sensitivity. This is especially true if your baby reacts badly when you re-introduce the food. Some parents find that their babies have a strong reaction (vomiting, for example) once the trigger food has been re-introduced; this likely happens because the long break from the trigger food has made the body especially sensitive to it.

If you suspect that your baby may be allergic to several foods (for example, milk and wheat), doing an elimination diet gets a little trickier. In this case, don’t try to do an elimination diet at home; instead, ask a healthcare provider for guidance.

My Baby Has a Food Allergy/Sensitivity — Now What?

In our next two articles, we’ll be examining common food allergies and sensitivities which affect children, along with steps that parents can take to deal with their babies’ food allergies and sensitivities.

Be sure to check them out here:

Part Three:  Dairy & Egg Allergies

Part Four:  Wheat, Nut, & Soy Allergies

Part Five:  Handling Your Baby’s Food Allergies

Does your baby or toddler struggle with a food allergy or sensitivity? What were his/her symptoms? What was the diagnosis process like?

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Food Allergies and Sensitivities: An Overview


It’s affects 6 million children in the U.S. It can be life-threatening. And it’s becoming more widespread.

We’re talking about food allergies.

Childhood food allergies are becoming a growing public health concern, mainly because rates of food allergies appear to be on the rise. That means that a growing number of parents have babies and toddlers who are struggling with food allergies. And it’s likely that some of you, our readers, are dealing with this very thing in your own homes.

But what are food allergies, exactly, and how are they different from food sensitivities, or food intolerances? What causes food allergies? Do they ever go away?

We’ll be tackling those questions (and others) in this article.

Food Allergies vs. Food Sensitivities vs. Food Intolerances

First, let’s get our terms straight. True food allergies are different than food sensitivities. And both are different than food intolerances. Let’s take a look at the differences between each.

Food Allergies

A true food allergy involves a person’s immune system — a particular food triggers an immunological reaction. True food allergies produce a fast and noticeable reaction, like swelling, hives, tingling of the mouth, shortness of breath, or abdominal cramps.

Some people (a small percentage, usually) have allergies so severe that they experience anaphylactic shock. During anaphylactic shock, a person’s immune system has a hyper-reaction to a particular food and releases an enormous amount of histamine, which causes swelling and inflammation. During anaphylactic shock, a person’s airways can swell shut, causing death within minutes.

Anaphylactic reactions are rare, but most people who suffer from food allergies experience acute and serious reactions if they’re exposed to a trigger food. What’s more, true food allergies can be set off by as little as 1 molecule of a particular trigger food.

Food allergies are quite rare, affecting 1-2% of the U.S. population. Food sensitivities, however, are far more common.

Food Sensitivities

Food sensitivities, like food allergies, involve the immune system. In this way, food sensitivities are considered food allergies. But while food allergies produce immediate results, food sensitivities often have delayed symptoms. A person with a food sensitivity may eat a trigger food and not have symptoms for hours, or even days.

What’s more, food sensitivities produce complex reactions in the body. While food allergies usually affect a person’s skin and airways, food sensitivities can affect every organ system in the body. This, combined with the delayed symptoms, make food allergies very difficult to detect and diagnose.

Food sensitivities don’t produce the same kinds of acute, dangerous reactions that food allergies do; the side effects of food allergies are usually more chronic and prolonged. In addition, it takes more than a molecule of trigger food to produce symptoms; some people with food sensitivities have to ingest large amounts of a trigger food before noticing symptoms.

Food sensitivities are more common than food allergies — it’s estimated that they affect 20% – 30% of the U.S. population.

Food Intolerances

Food intolerances are in a different camp altogether. Food allergies and sensitivities involve a person’s immune system; food intolerances don’t.

Rather, food intolerances involve a person’s digestive system. When a person eats a trigger food, her body isn’t able to digest is properly, so it sits in the digestive tract, fermenting and causing gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

The classic example of food intolerance is lactose intolerance. A person who’s lactose intolerant has a hard time digesting lactose, a sugar that’s found in milk and other dairy products. Someone who’s lactose intolerant will develop symptoms like gas, bloating, and diarrhea after eating dairy products.

Food intolerances are quite common. For example, it’s estimated that around 33% of Americans are lactose intolerant.

What Causes Food Allergies and Sensitivities?

Currently, no one knows exactly what causes food allergies. Many food allergy factors are genetic, meaning they’re passed on from parent to child through genetic mutations.

Some people speculate that our modern food (with its many preservatives, additives, and other artificial ingredients) might be to blame. Others wonder if increased hygiene might play a part. They suggest that we’ve become so good at killing germs, our immune systems are less robust and hardy than those of our ancestors, making us more vulnerable to allergies.

There’s probably no definitive cause of food allergies, to be honest. It’s more likely that food allergies are caused by a number of factors. That means causes are complicated (if not impossible) to trace.

What we do know, however, is that food allergies affect far more children than adults (more on that in the next section.) We also know that rates of food allergies and sensitivities are on the rise. A CDC study released in 2008 showed an 18% rise in food allergies from 1997 – 2007; the same study revealed that peanut allergies in children tripled in those 10 years.

Is There A Cure for Food Allergies and Sensitivities?

Unfortunately, no. There’s no “fix” for food allergies and sensitivities, except to avoid foods that trigger the allergy.

There’s good new for parents of children who have food allergies, however — a number of children outgrow their allergies. This is why more children have food allergies than adults — most children outgrow their allergies before they reach adulthood.

About 85% of children will outgrow their milk and egg allergies, and almost all children outgrow allergies to wheat and soy. Almost all of these children will outgrow their food allergies by age 10; many will outgrow the allergy by age 5.

Nut and shellfish allergies, however, are usually considered lifelong. Only 10-20% of children will outgrow these allergies.

Help for Dealing with a Food Allergy

We offered a lot of information in this article, but we didn’t offer many practical tips to help those of you whose babies are struggling with food allergies. Not to worry, though — we can help!  For more information about how to recognize and manage your baby’s food allergies, read the rest of our Food Allergies and Sensitivities series:

Part Two:  Recognizing Your Baby’s Food Allergies

Part Three:  Dairy & Egg Allergies

Part Four:  Nut, Wheat, & Soy Allergies

Part Five:  Handling Your Baby’s Food Allergies

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

Does someone in your home struggle with food allergies or sensitivities? What have you done to cope? Share your tips below!

 

 

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Should You Feed Your Baby Cereal From A Bottle?

When it comes to feeding a baby, you’ll find that everyone (from your grandmother to your aunt to the stranger on the street) has opinions on how babies should be fed, when babies should be fed, and what babies should be fed.

Some opinions are based in solid, researched evidence (for example, there’s plenty of evidence to indicate that breastfeeding is a healthier option for babies than formula-feeding.) Other opinions, however, will be based less on facts and more on past experience. You may hear a number of people say, “My mom did this with me!” or “My grandmother had 8 children, and she always did this…”

Putting Cereal In Your Baby’s Bottle

For example, you may have friends or family members suggest that you feed your baby cereal in a bottle. People often suggest this to parents whose babies don’t sleep, or whose babies don’t seem to be gaining much weight.

So, is this a good recommendation? Will putting cereal in your baby’s bottle help her sleep well, or eat more, or gain weight?

Is Putting Cereal In Your Baby’s Bottle A Good Idea?

Probably not. There are many risks associated with feeding your young baby (under 6 months) cereal from a bottle. Some of those risks include…

  • Choking. Adding cereal to a bottle thickens the milk. This makes it harder for young babies to swallow, increasing the changes that they’ll “aspirate” (or inhale) the thickened milk and choke on it.
  • Increased food allergies. There’s lots of evidence to suggest that introducing solids to a baby before 4 months of age significantly increases the risk that the baby will develop food allergies. This is because a young baby’s digestive system isn’t mature enough to handle solid foods until 4-6 months of age. We discuss food allergies in more detail in this post; check it out for more information.
  • Habitual overeating.Babies who take cereal from a bottle tend to drink more than babies who drink straight breastmilk or formula. This is the idea behind putting cereal into the bottle in the first place — that baby will take in more food.The problem is that when a baby routinely and consistently takes in large quantities of thickened milk, it can lead to a habit of overeating. And since childhood obesity rates are already problematic (and are on the rise), we definitely don’t want to teach our little ones to overeat from birth!
  • Lower nutrient intake. When parents add cereal to a bottle, they often reduce the amount of breastmilk or formula they put into the bottle (to make room for the added cereal). This is dangerous. For the first 6 months of life, breastmilk and formula provide all the nutrition a baby needs, while cereal provides little nutritional value until after 6 months. So if your baby is taking in less breastmilk and formula, he’s getting less of the vital nutrients he needs.

Will Putting Cereal In Your Baby’s Bottle Help Her Sleep Better?

This is usually the number one reason that parents even consider putting cereal in their baby’s bottle — friends and family members assure them that a little cereal in the bottle will help baby sleep longer and better. And for exhausted, sleep-deprived parents, even a little extra sleep sounds too tempting to pass up!

However, before you go racing to fill your infant’s bottle with rice cereal, you should know something — there’s no evidence that feeding your baby solids (whether by spoon or by bottle) will help her sleep better. That’s because when babies wake at night, they’re not just waking from hunger — they’re waking for a variety of other reasons (like sleep associations.) So adding cereal to your baby’s bottle likely won’t make a difference in her sleep, but it will put her at risk for a variety of complications.

Will Putting Cereal In Your Baby’s Bottle Help With His Reflux?

If your baby struggles with reflux, you may have heard friends and family members suggest adding cereal to his bottle as a way to thicken the milk and help it say down. Is this a good idea? Does it work?

The reviews on this are mixed. Some pediatricians actually recommend this to parents, and many parents claim that mixing cereal into their babies’ bottles reduces spitting up. However, other pediatricians caution that while adding cereal might reduce episodes of spitting up, it doesn’t actually cure the reflux. Others advocate for using a special reflux formula.

The bottom line: if your baby suffers from reflux, check with your pediatrician before making any changes to his diet.

Our Recommendation

Here’s our advice, for all parents: don’t add cereal to your baby’s bottle unless your doctor has advised you to. There are far too many risks associated with feeding your baby cereal from a bottle, and there are no actual benefits. Instead, stick with feeding your infant breastmilk and/or formula, and hold off on offering solids until close to 6 months of age.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

What are your thoughts on feeding a baby cereal from a bottle? Share them below!

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Baby Food Recipes: 11 Months

Time to face facts: your 11 month old baby is barely a baby anymore! Remember those early days of feeding your little ones drippy, runny purees and watching her spit them back at you? How far we’ve come! Now, your 11 month old should be getting better and better at feeding herself finger foods. In fact, you may have started offering her entire finger food meals! And your baby doesn’t need those single-ingredient dishes anymore; now she’s completely ready to tackle real food, with lots of ingredients.

Cereal Recipes

Infant cereal is a very small part of your 11 month old baby’s diet now. Instead, your 11 month old baby will be getting the grain servings he needs from foods like bread, crackers, and pasta. You may still want to offer your 11 month old a small serving of infant cereal every now and then, however. You can purchase ready-made, powdered cereals at the grocery store, but you can also make your own (for a lot less money!) Visit our Baby Cereal Recipes for step-by-step instructions on how to make your baby’s rice and oatmeal cereal from scratch.

Fruit Recipes

Visit our Baby Food Fruit Recipes to see a sampling of delicious fruit purees and your 9 month old baby is sure to love.  At 11 months old, your baby can eat all kinds of fruits, including the strawberries and tomatoes that you’ve probably been waiting to offer. (And yes — tomatoes are fruit!)

Vegetable Recipes

Visit our Baby Food Vegetable Recipes for a listing of veggie purees and mashes that’ll keep your 9 month old on the path to healthy, nutritious eating.  Your 11 month old can now eat all kinds of veggies, including corn.

Protein Recipes

By 11 month old, your baby is eating beans, eggs, meat, and poultry, and maybe even tofu! Now that he’s older, he’s finally ready to sample fish and nuts. Visit our Baby Food Protein Recipes for tips on easy ways to prepare white fish.

Meal Recipes

Your 11 month old may be getting bored with those single-ingredient means; she may start showing a preference for real food. You can continue to offer her more and more table food; you can also continue creating special dishes just for her. 🙂 Visit our 5 Great Recipes page for meal ideas. We’re betting your 11 month old won’t be able to get enough of the whole wheat chocolate muffins!

Feeding Fact

Get ready for a transition — it’s time for your baby to stop relying on you to feed him every bit and to instead learn to feed himself (that is, if he hasn’t already!) Whenever possible, encourage your baby to feed himself small pieces of finger food. Consider making one or more meals “finger food meals” to give your baby plenty of practice at self-feeding.

Is your baby already a finger-feeding expert? If you’re feeling brave, give your baby a small plastic dish of food, a spoon, and let her practice spoon feeding. Try something like pudding or yogurt, which’ll stick to a spoon easily. Take note: this experiment will be less painful for you if your baby’s wearing only a diaper (no messy clothing to wash later!) and if you put down a splash mat over your nice floor 🙂

For ideas that’ll help you create a feeding and sleeping schedule for your 10 month old, check out the recommended 11 month schedule available at BabySleepSite.com.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

What are your 11 month old baby’s favorite foods?  Share your recipe and feeding ideas below!

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7 Steps to Successful Baby-Led Weaning


We’ve written about the basics of baby-led weaning before — what it is, why some people prefer it, and whether or not you should try it with your baby. If you need a good, foundational understanding of those basics, check out this “What is Baby-Led Weaning?” post.

Here, we’ll explore 7 steps to get started successfully with baby-led weaning (or BLW). As with anything else in life, planning and preparation is a key part to getting off on the right foot with baby-led weaning. So use our 7 steps below, and start your baby-led weaning journey today!

7 Steps to Successful Baby-Led Weaning

1. Educate yourself.

Before you embark on something brand new, it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about it. Same goes for baby-led weaning. Here are a few resources to help you educate yourself about all things BLW:

2. Don’t start too soon.

While it’s possible to start spoon-feeding your baby purees before she’s six months (although it’s not recommended), you really can’t start BLW until the 6 month mark. It’s generally recommended that you wait to start until your baby is able to sit up unassisted (meaning he doesn’t need to lean against the back of the highchair for support.) Some babies are able to do that at 6 months; many don’t develop that skill until later.

If the idea of waiting until your baby’s 6 months or older has you feeling anxious (“But doesn’t he need to eat solid food?”), take heart. Remember that “food is fun before age one!” In other words, for the first year of life, breastmilk and/or formula is your baby’s primary source of nutrition. Food is for practice. As long as your little one is nursing or taking his bottles well, he’s likely getting the nourishment he needs.

3. Start big and small.

Yes, that’s a contradiction in terms. 😉 Here’s what we mean…

Start Small
In the beginning, offer one “meal” a day. You don’t want to overwhelm your baby with food right off the bat! And offer the meal between nursings or bottle feedings; this’ll ensure that your baby isn’t so hungry that she quickly becomes frustrated.

Place very little food on your baby’s highchair tray — a few pieces at most. Remember, she’s new to this! Having a few pieces of food will be less distracting and will help her focus on learning to feed herself.

Start Big
In the beginning, offer large pieces of food. That might seem counter-intuitive (“Won’t my baby choke?”), but this is the safest way to start. At 6 or 7 months, your baby won’t have developed his pincer grip and won’t be able to pick up small pieces of food. Instead, you’ll want to give him large chunks of food that he can pick up and gnaw on. Think whole carrots, whole apples, long strips of meat, etc. Later, once his pincer grip is developed, you can move to small pieces of food that he’ll put into his mouth whole.

4. Don’t offer (much) help.

The biggest difference between BLW and traditional methods of starting solids is that BLW puts control in the hands of your baby, right from the beginning. Instead of you feeding your baby, your baby starts off by feeding herself.

A general BLW rule of thumb is that you should never put food into your baby’s mouth for her. You can help guide her hand (filled with food) to her mouth, and you can mime the chewing and swallowing motions you want her to do, but you shouldn’t be the one actually feeding her.

5. Supervise, supervise, supervise!

Now, just because you’re not feeding him doesn’t mean you should set a few celery stalks on your baby’s highchair tray and then walk away. Remember, one of the goals of BLW is to reinforce that mealtime is a social time. Sit with your baby while he eats (and even better, eat something yourself!)

You’ll also want to stick close to watch for gagging and choking. Lots of babies gag in the early stages of BLW, and while this is a normal and safe reaction, you’ll still want to be nearby to ensure that your baby isn’t actually choking.

6. Work in the utensils (eventually).

Once your baby has gotten good at hand-feeding himself, start incorporating a spoon into his meals. Offer him a dish of something “spoon-able” (like applesauce or yogurt) and a spoon, and see what he does!

At first, he’ll probably get far more food on himself (and the walls, and the floor) than he’ll get in his mouth. But as long as you give him lots of opportunity practice, you’ll find that he gets better and better at feeding himself with utensils.

7. Embrace the mess, friends!

In case you haven’t come to this conclusion yet, let us offer it here: BLW is a sticky, goopy, drippy, messy process. Food is messy after all; hand it to a novice with no self-feeding experience, and it becomes exponentially messier!

But this is okay. It’s part of the learning. Instead of trying to avoid the mess, embrace it. Arm yourself with a high-chair that’s easy to wipe clean. Feed baby in a room that has wipe-able flooring. Consider stripping baby down to his diaper at meal time (if it’s warm enough), or wrapping her in a large, cover-all style bib.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

Anything to add? What steps have you taken to do baby-led weaning with your baby?

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