Your child is born with no idea they have food intolerances or sensitivities. Unless the symptom is very clear or your child is allergic, these sensitivities quite often go undetected even though your child, may still be suffering.

I often see many parents frustrated and not sure where to turn to find answers for their childs’ unexplained  symptoms including digestive upsets, irritability and skin irritations such as eczema.

Parents will often visit their local doctor looking for advice on food allergy testing hoping to find an answer for their child, only to be left feeling a little disappointed when the tests returns negative for what was once thought to be a possible food allergy.

Food sensitivity is often given a low priority in the investigation of symptoms.

If your child’s food allergy test has returned negative for what you first thought was causing all the trouble, this doesn’t mean your child isn’t intolerant to this food. You know your child best, if you feel certain foods are contributing towards your child’s behaviour, asthma, eczema or irritability, I would listen to your mother’s intution and continue investigating by eliminating one food group at a time, for 21 days before reintroducing again.

Remember, food allergies are very different to food sensitivities and may still be creating a lot of discomfort for your child.

Here are some symptoms that your child may experience with a food intolerance:

1)  Irritable after breastfeeding if you have eaten particular foods.

If your baby is allergic or intolerant to traces of foods being consumed in your diet, then he may have adverse reactions/symptoms.

2) Stomach bloating, cramps or nausea

Bloating may create a feeling of fullness without the consumption of a large amount of food. A delayed feeling of cramps or nausea may also be experience with food sensitivities.

I had a child visit my clinic once, he was suffering car sickness in the mornings on the way to school. We soon discovered the consumption of morning breakfast cereal with a spash of milk was causing his nausea.

3)  Irritable bowel syndrome

Also known as IBS, this is a syndrome and is classified when your child presents with a few of the well known symptoms such as flatulence, tummy pains, nausea and changes in bowel habits including smells.

4)  Loose or soft poo

If you find your child can suffer from constipation and complains of stomach pains one day and then the following week they have loose bowel motions, this is a great sign to  start a food diary and investigate with a practitioner further.

5)  Irritability/mood swings/poor behaviour

Terrible two’s, three’s, four’s. Consumption of certain food groups, may play a big role in the emotional rollercoasters of children. It’s very well known certain additives and preservatives create behaviour problems and the same thing goes with common food sensitivities such as dairy, sugar or gluten.

6)  Asthma

A life threatening condition for some children but quite often children may experience some wheezing without the asthma attack.

7) Skin conditions including eczema 

Food Sensitivies can create inflammation in your child’s bowel,  also referred to as “Leaky Gut.” Inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema can flare up and create long term skin problems, particulary when the food is consumed on a regular basis.

Everyone can have food sensitivities, keep in mind that our digestive system and our tolerance to certain foods can be quite limited in the case where intestinal permability AKA “Leaky gut” may be present.

Do you have a child with food intolerances? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

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  • I often think to how I feel when I have an upset tummy or feel blah, and then it’s easy to see that our little bubbas can’t tell us if they feel the same way. Something has to give – it will be in their behavior to help us figure it out.


  • Great article. I have a few food intolerances so when my daughter presented with some symptoms we had her tested through my regular herbalist. It’s been great, some I guessed (dairy) & some I would never had thought. Cutting them out/down has made a difference & when I do let her have those foods occasionally (because she begs) I can see the difference, & she can feel it.


  • Definitely something to be concerned about and a definite link has already been established. As a first time mum this is definitely something I am weary of! Thanks for sharing and highlighting this issue

    • Absolutely welcome, education is the best tool to have as a mum. Enjoy your journey with your little one.


  • It’s amazing how food affects different children. You might have one that eats lollies and goes and has a rest afterwards meanwhile the other one is bouncing off the walls. I have been able to pinpoint quite a few foods that arent even particularly “nasty” foods – they just cause behavioural reactions in my children. A lot of people are in denial about it though, which is sad.

    • Correct, i think sometimes life is so busy people don’t have the time or patience to sift through the different foods which could be causing the behavioural issues.
      21 days elimination tests are a great way to trial foods and their reactions.


  • My little grandson is nearly 6 weeks old and has suffered terribly with tummy troubles. Pain, wind, constipation, diarrhoea. The health nurses kept saying colic, try these drops (3 different ones so far!) change his teats, try massage. Nothing helped. Mum and dad have decided to try him on lactose free formula. So far so good, he’s calmed right down, fingers crossed it continues. Sad that he had to suffer (along with mum and dads sleeplessness) for do long before a solution was found


  • I haven’t experienced any allergies with my daughter thankfully. Beginning to eliminate as many preservatives as possible though, just incase they’re having an affect on her behaviour at present.


  • great article, my son has eczema and we are unsure of the cause to his flare ups

    • Choose 3 different food groups ( Dairy, Wheat/Gluten, additives) Start with 1 group and do 21 day elimination with a 22nd day reintroduction.
      Make a diary of his symptoms and behaviour for those 21 days and also for 3 days after the reintroduction of the food.
      Go through food groups until you see changes. The changes may not stand out too much in the 21 day elimination but generally the symptoms will flare on the reintroduction if there is an intolerance. Good luck x


  • This is such an important issue. Thank you.


  • Such a great article and having kids with allergies I can relate to this

    • It can be tough having children with allergies. The hardest part is finding out the particular foods they are sensitive to. The outcome from removing those foods can be outstanding though. Well worth the effort. Great job x


  • I always find this articles interesting to read. I know for my kids, they are sensitive to sugar and additives. Just eat real food!


  • I’m interested in finding out if certain foods are causing my youngest to behave the way she does sometimes…not so great. Sometimes she’s an angel and so polite, other times she’s drawing on the walls and the floor. Maybe it’s sugar?

    • Best way to start would be a 21 day elimination of the chosen food and then a reintroduction of that food on day 22nd in a decent amount. Write down your events, behaviours and struggles within those 21days and rate them mild to severe. Once you reintroduce the food you can compare notes.

      Good luck x


  • Clear article. My eldest 2 both don’t cope very well with gluten. We had lots of tummy bloating, constipation and super loose stools. Since they’re on a gluten-free diet these symptoms have greatly improved.

    • It can be tough to begin with but the benefits are well worth it. I’m sure your children will be very thankful x


  • Very good information in this article – thanks for sharing it.


  • Thanks for the interesting and informative article.


  • What a nightmare.
    Thankfully the only one I had an issues with was my eldest who thanks to her Nana (My Mum) we discovered that she could not handle chocolate. Easily eliminated


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