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Understanding Common Food Allergies in Babies

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Approximately 3% of children under one and about 8% of all children have a food allergy. In addition to common food allergies, many children have food intolerances. Understanding food allergies in babies is tricky; babies don’t possess the language to tell us what’s bothering them. Some signs of food allergies are hives, acid reflux, diarrhea, stuffy nose, and itchy or watery eyes. Fear of potential food allergies makes some parents nervous about introducing high-allergy foods. Food allergies tend to run in families, so if you or your partner have a food allergy or you already have one child with food allergies, caution makes sense. However, following simple guidelines and steps when starting solids and introducing high-allergy foods to your baby can decrease worry and alert you to potential dangers.

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Starting solids can be easy! Easily track what your baby is eating with Baby Daybook. Log new foods, choose from different food groups, and note your baby’s reactions. Download the Baby Daybook app today and enjoy this milestone with your little one!

Most Common Food Allergies in Babies

Cow’s milk, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, and eggs are the five most common food allergies in babies and young children. Tree nuts include almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, filberts, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts. Other common food allergies include fish, shellfish, and gluten (wheat). 

90% of food allergies are caused by:

  • Cow’s Milk
  • Soy
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Gluten (wheat)
  • Sesame

Cow’s milk is the number one food allergen for infants, and most babies allergic to milk, eggs, wheat, and soy eventually outgrow their allergies. While most food allergies are caused by the list above, it is important to know that any food can cause an allergic reaction. Therefore, knowing the signs and symptoms of food allergies is crucial for parents and caregivers. 

Signs and Symptoms of Food Allergies

Most symptoms of a food allergy in babies are mild. Symptoms may show up immediately or take up to an hour to appear. Any time you introduce a new food to your baby, observe them for up to one hour after eating to ensure no allergic reaction.

The Baby Daybook App is the perfect tool for parents to log new foods, record potential allergic signs (if any), or simply record their baby’s reaction to a new food; did they like it or make a face? Logging symptoms such as rash, colic, reflux, etc., and tracking weight gain is easy. The app also allows parents to log diaper changes and add notes about the diaper’s contents.

Parents can easily log foods, choose from different food groups, add personalized notes, and capture pictures to keep a visual record of their baby’s meals. 

Common Food Allergy Symptoms

The most common food allergy symptoms include:

  • Itchy skin or hives
  • Swelling or itching of the mouth or tongue
  • Coughing or hoarseness
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Stuffy or runny nose, sneezing
  • Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting
  • Acid reflux
  • Pale skin
  • Turning away from or pushing away food
  • Spitting food out

If you notice your baby has a mild reaction to a new food, record the food with the Baby Daybook Feeding Tracker. Record what was eaten, when, and what the reaction was. You can use this log to discuss potential food allergies with their pediatrician at their next visit. 

The Baby Daybook app: symptom log makes it easier to spot potential food allergies in babies.
The Baby Daybook app lets you track symptoms

More severe symptoms known as anaphylaxis include:

  • Trouble breathing or wheezing
  • Feeling as though your throat is closing
  • Swelling of the lips or tongue
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Itching of the palms or soles of the feet
  • Feeling faint
  • Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain
  • Fast pulse
  • Low blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness

If you notice any signs of anaphylaxis, call 9-1-1 immediately.

How and When to Introduce High-Allergy Foods?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breastfeeding babies exclusively for the first six months. However, not all parents can breastfeed, and some choose to supplement breastfeeding with formula. If supplementing or replacing breastmilk with formula, pay attention to the ingredients in the formula. 

Most formulas are cow’s milk; soy is the most common plant-based option. Baby formulas also contain a fat source, usually a blend of vegetable oils, such as palm, coconut, safflower, sunflower, etc. 

Tracking your baby’s feedings and meals is important, especially when introducing high-allergy foods. However, there is no specific order you need to introduce solids. Many parents first choose baby cereal, which they can mix with breastmilk or formula. 

Baby Daybook allows one to record baby food, attach pictures, and note reactions and symptoms to spot potential food allergies in babies.
Tracking new foods with Baby Daybook

If you’re starting with cereal and using it as a primary solid, the AAP recommends you vary the type of cereal between rice, oat, barley, and multigrain because of the increased risk of arsenic in rice cereal.

Parents can also begin mixing different fruits, veggies, and meat purees into cereal or as a solo option. 

Introducing A New food

If your family has a history of food allergies, avoid introducing those foods to your baby and ask your pediatrician about an allergy test first. If you have no reason to suspect a possible allergy, there is no reason these foods cannot be introduced alongside other solids. The AAP says introducing your baby to peanut products before six months may reduce the chance of allergies. 

Whenever introducing a new food, follow the one-food-at-a-time method. This means you only give your baby one new food every three to four days. If you do not notice any signs of food intolerance or allergic reaction, this food can become a regular part of your child’s diet, and you can introduce another new food. 


The top nine allergens cause 90% of food allergies in babies. Nonetheless, any food can cause an allergy, so parents must know the signs and symptoms of food allergies and track new foods and meals. The Baby Daybook App is useful for recording each new food your baby tries, their reaction, and any signs or symptoms of allergies. Tracking new foods ensures your little one stays safe and healthy and gives you peace of mind when introducing high-allergy foods. 

Download now!
Starting solids can be easy! Easily track what your baby is eating with Baby Daybook. Log new foods, choose from different food groups, and note your baby’s reactions. Download the Baby Daybook app today and enjoy this milestone with your little one!


Note: Our writers strive to maintain accuracy and quality in all content produced. However, it’s important to note that the information provided on our blog should not be considered professional medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. It’s highly recommended to consult a qualified healthcare provider for any medical concerns or questions.

Article by
L. Elizabeth Forry
L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with fifteen years of classroom teaching experience. She holds a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education, a Bachelor of Arts in English and Theater, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music. She has taught children in Japan, Washington D.C., Chicago, and suburban Maryland. She is trained as a reading therapist, has a TEFL certification, and has done extensive work with children regarding mental health, social-emotional development, and gender development. She has written curricula for children and educators and has led training sessions for parents and educators on various topics on early childhood development. She is the mother of two boys and resides outside Annapolis, Maryland.
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