How do I know if my baby has an allergy?

If you’re worried your baby has an allergy, don’t panic.

Almost every baby will suffer from allergies and illnesses at one time or another. It’s all part of their development as they’re building up a strong immune system.

What is an allergy?

An allergy is your body’s reaction to a particular food or substance. They’re pretty common, 1 in 4 people suffer and they occur a lot in babies and children.

What are the symptoms of allergies for babies?

Babies react differently to different allergies, look out for these signs to help you catch them early on:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Blocked and runny nose
  • Red, watery and itchy eyes
  • Itchy skin or a visible rash
  • Swollen lips and throat
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach cramps

The good news is most allergic reactions are mild and should clear up on their own or be easily managed. But if your baby is having a severe reaction and is having trouble breathing call 999 for urgent medical care.

Can I reduce the risk of my baby developing allergies?

Breast milk gives your baby the best protection. Its unique nutrients helps to build a strong immune system that is able to fight off allergic reactions as well as illnesses. It also reduces the risk of exposure to food allergens that can be found in cows’ milk based baby formula.

If you choose not to breastfeed, for whatever reason, there are formula milks which helps to reduce the risk of allergies. Speak to your midwife or healthcare provider when choosing the best formula for your baby’s needs.

Why do babies get allergies?

All babies are different, some are born with allergies or intolerances and some can develop them throughout their life. The good news is, babies are resilient and often grow out of their allergies as their immune system develops. But some can suffer longer term into childhood and even adulthood.

Inherited allergies are common. For example, if one or both parents have an allergy such as hay fever or eczema then there is a higher chance that this is passed onto your baby.

Read also What allergies could my baby have?