What do you need to know about food allergy when you start solids for your baby?

Should you worry?

Some babies will develop allergies to food. Those that come from a family with a history of allergies (of any kind) tend to be at highest risk. However children with no family history of allergy may also develop food allergies.

Good first feeding practices

When starting solids for your baby, introduce a new food every 2-3 days and introduce new foods one at a time so any reactions can be clearly seen. In the event of a food reaction, avoid further contact with the food and seek the advice of your doctor.

The culprits

It’s only a handful of foods that are responsible for most food allergies: nuts (peanuts and tree nuts), sesame seeds, milk, eggs, fish and shellfish, wheat and soy.

The signs

The first sign of a food allergy can vary greatly but may include:

  • skin rashes (eczema)
  • hives
  • swelling of lips, eyes and tongue
  • breathing difficulties/asthma
  • tummy upset

The most severe type of allergic reaction is anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal reaction. If your baby has trouble breathing or shows any sign of swelling of the lips or face after eating a new food don’t delay in seeking urgent medical attention.

Prevention or cure?

Breastfeeding before and throughout the time you introduce solids is thought to be the best you can do in the prevention of food allergy. Avoiding or delaying the introduction of specific foods is not recommended, and may in fact increase food allergy risk. There is no cure for a food allergy but children may ‘out grow’ them.  This is especially so for allergies to egg and milk.

Need more information?

Visit the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) Infant Feeding Advice website.

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  • Thanks for posting the link to ASCIA. I liked this article, really helpful advice and the ASCIA website does too.


  • A friend of mine was allergic to one particular vegetable as a baby and always vommited even if he only had a teaspoon of it after he had been on solids for a few weeks.


  • Thank you for sharing this. It is something I do worry about all the time.


  • we are going through this at the moment… not great


  • introducing the foods slowly and using the recommended guidelines for ages to try foods.


  • The biggest problem with allergies is others not taking them seriously. Our family has a few allergies and we were aware of them and introducing new foods in controlled ways. At a friends place she was given food by another child (from kids food container so out of my and my friends control). Luckily no reaction! Allergies are not intolerances, and many people don’t understand the difference. Education and respect are so important on this topic.


  • We had never experienced allergies in our family, but when our son had his first taste of peanut butter, he developed a rash around his lips and minor swelling. We did not introduce peanut butter again for quite a while, but we did monitor it over time. My son has no issues or allergies to peanuts. We tried similarly with egg and tried it over time to ensure he was okay with it.


  • Really lucky my kids don’t have allergies like in my family only my eldest gets hives from Tom tams and lollies


  • Thanks for the article very good information..


  • Thank you for the helpful tips.


  • Thankfully our daughter doesn’t have food allergies


  • It’s good we know information on allergies and babies, really interesting.


  • So blessed my daughter has no known allergies. My heart goes out to those who have this unfortunate challenge.

    • It can be a challenge and you have to be so vigilant.


  • GREAT ARTICLE Karen thanks for the info.


  • Food allergies are awful and protocols and management plans need to be in place for kids.


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