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15 Allergies Babies Can Have Without Parents Knowing

Baby allergies are often easy to catch, at least compared to allergies of a toddler or school child. After all, the little one is just starting out with solid food. Following the dietary recommendation of gradually introducing new foods into the diet can help parents catch allergies early on. It’s then easy to take on measures to prevent them or “wean” the little one off of the allergy.

There are cases, however, when an allergy can be quite difficult to catch. In some cases, this is because the allergen is unusual and won’t normally elicit a reaction in kids. However, in some other cases, the allergen is a common one and has passed the initial test of gradual introduction. However, there may be times when the symptoms are delayed. Alternatively, the symptoms are subtle or mimic some common conditions so much that they go unnoticed.

Before anything else, it’s important to know that allergies can present in many different ways. The most common and most recognizable is the itchy systemic rash. However, allergies can also present as something that can resemble a cold. Even asthma can be caused by food allergies in a condition aptly named allergic asthma. Then there are symptoms that parents commonly associate with other things but are actually allergies. These include symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea. It’s therefore important to take note of even the obscure symptoms that could very well be a hidden allergy.

In any case, we’d advise to watch the little one for these fifteen food allergies that babies can get, but may not be immediately detected by even the most stringent of parents.

15 Formula or Cow’s Milk

Formula can be a tricky one to detect. After all, who would suspect that something formulated especially for babies could actually cause any harm? But formulas based on cow’s milk may contain complex proteins that can trigger an immune reaction. After all, babies are not biologically built to take in the milk of an entirely different species. In some babies, a formula or cow’s milk allergy is easy to detect because it consistently triggers stomach pain and diarrhea. However, in others, it may result in subtler symptoms such as constipation. In some cases, parents will attribute these symptoms to other causes and it will go unnoticed as being caused by an allergy.

Parents who suspect that their child has an allergy to formula or cow’s milk might want to try a different formula. One with partially-digested proteins that have a smaller chance of triggering the immune system. Some parents may also want to try soy-based formulas, although as we’ll find out later, those can result in an allergy as well.

14 Wheat

read, cereal and other wheat products are staples on the dining table. If the symptoms of a wheat allergy aren’t too pronounced, it can be difficult for parents to detect it. Since wheat is such a common food, they might continue to give the little one the allergen without suspecting that it is the cause for the baby’s troubles!

This is because 14 percent of wheat is made up of different kinds of plant protein. The little one may be allergic to one of any of these proteins. Among the most famous, perhaps, of wheat proteins is gluten. This is the one that gives bread its body and elasticity. While gluten-free foods are rising in popularity and availability nowadays, it’s important to note that the baby could be allergic to other proteins in wheat and not necessarily just the gluten. If the little one could be allergic to wheat, it’s best to drop it from the diet for the meantime.

13 Nuts

Nuts and peanuts are common allergens. Quite a number of babies are predisposed to developing an allergy to them. However, in babies that don’t have a nut allergy, they’re not exactly restricted fare. As with wheat and milk, it is the proteins in these nuts that can trigger allergies. While it’s fairly easy for the parents of a nut-intolerant baby to restrict nut intake, there are a number of hidden sources of nuts in food that could still cause the little one pain.

In particular, nuts can be found in a number of pre made or ready-to-bake products such as bread and cakes. They may also be found in pancake mixes and cereals! Another thing to watch out for is chocolates. While it is generally ill-advised to give a baby too many sweets, some parents do like giving the little one an occasional treat. It’s best to read the ingredients label to check for any possible nut exposure.

12 Fish

Fish allergies can be tricky to detect, mostly because the little one can be allergic to one sort of fish but not others. This is because each kind of fish can have proteins that are unique to them, but not present in other fish, that can trigger the allergy. It is therefore important, when doing the slow introduction of solid foods to baby, to treat each kind of fish as a different sort of food. That is, the parent mustn’t consider a baby who is able to tolerate tilapia, for instance, to be able to tolerate salmon.

In addition, some surprising food products may actually have fish in them. This includes some dips, sauces and dressings, so it’s best to read the label on whatever your little one is dunking her carrot sticks into. Fish proteins can also end up in fast food and restaurant food, especially if the oil being used in deep fryers has been used to cook fish earlier.

11 Shellfish

Shellfish, a category that includes crabs, lobsters, shrimps and mussels, is another common food allergy. People tend to lump fish and shellfish together, but these two are entirely different kinds of animals with different sorts of allergens. A baby who is allergic to shellfish may be able to tolerate fish and vice versa, and, as with fish, one can be allergic to one type of shellfish but not another.

Like many other allergens, shellfish can also hide in some pretty unexpected places. Many parents, for instance, like giving their babies gelatin-based foods as these are easy to swallow and seemingly harmless. However, it’s still best to check the specific brand of gelatin being used. Some of them are made out of ground fish bones and may therefore trigger a shellfish allergy without the parent realizing. One other thing to note is that gelatin is usually eaten along with other foods, so the parent might mistake the food it’s eaten with as the allergen and not the gelatin itself.

10 Soy

The soybean is another allergen to watch out for. Like other legumes, it’s a pretty common allergy trigger. However, the thing with soy is that it can be hidden in so many places. We’ve already discussed earlier that some infant formulas are based on soy. These formulas are especially made for babies with lactose intolerance, so it’s best to check formula ingredients before deciding on one. The baby’s doctor may be able to help identify an appropriate formula.

Other than milk, however, there are several different sources of soy to watch out for. Any food that has been fried or has oil content should be suspect. Soy oil is, after all, a commonly-used vegetable oil. When ordering food out, it’s best to ask what kind of oil was used. Soy can also be found in cereals and baked goods. It is also often used as a filler for some meat products, which can sometimes make the parent think that the little one has a meat allergy.

9 Mustard

Many parents don’t know that mustard is actually an allergen that can be found in many foods. It used to be deemed an uncommon allergen but in recent years, more and more people have been developing mustard allergies. So much so that Canada has declared it a priority food allergen that must be labelled in all the food that it is in.

When it comes to the parent trying to rule out allergens, however, mustard is usually eaten with other foods and so it may not be one of the usual suspects. Mustard can be typically found in dressings and sometimes even mixed up as a flavoring for mayonnaise. Again, this means that the little one’s sandwiches and carrot stick dips must be suspect. Mustard can also be found as both a flavoring and coloring agent in ready-to-cook macaroni and cheese preparations, as well as many soups. Again, for those who suspect a mustard allergy, the ingredients list is a friend.

8 Meat

Many would not suspect meat to be a common allergen. However, meat is packed full of animal proteins, any of which can cause those itches. When a meat allergy is suspected, many people avoid chicken and poultry. However, red meat is just as likely to cause an allergy. It’s important to note that children who have an allergy to cow’s milk may also have an increased chance of being allergic to beef. Again, slow introduction of foods is best at detecting an allergy.

As many vegetarians will tell you, meat can be found in a number of products. Gelatin, for instance, could be derived from animal bones. This can be found in a number of products, including soups, desserts and even marshmallows. In addition, some prepackaged or baked goods may use lard, which is basically animal fat. For parents of babies with meat allergies, it’s therefore best to look up foods that are considered vegetarian-safe.

7 Avocados

An avocado allergy is both uncommon and unfortunate. After all, avocados are the ideal baby food. After all, it’s soft, mixes easily with milk, easy to swallow and absolutely delicious. Incidentally, babies who develop an allergy to latex, especially if they are repeatedly exposed to it in the hospital as with premature babies, may also have an avocado allergy! This is because some of the proteins in latex resemble those in avocados somewhat.

It’s fairly easy to detect avocado content in foods (guacamole, obviously), but it can also be hidden in some other products. Many parents would not suspect it as an ingredient in cakes and cookies, but many bakeries swear by this as their secret ingredient! In addition, avocados may also be found in some natural lotions and creams. So if the little one has an avocado allergy, it’s best to not only screen what she’s eating, but what’s being put on her bum as well!

6 Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are rich in proteins, and are therefore a common culprit for allergies! It’s also one of those things that can be hidden in many foods. Sesame oil, for instance, is a delicious cooking oil with a nutty flavor. It’s also common in Chinese cooking, so perhaps it’s best to double check the ingredients before giving the little one that congee. What’s more, sesame oil can also be found in some lotions and creams as well!

In addition, sesame can also be found in many baked goods. In the ingredients list, it is sometimes listed under the general term “spices,” which can make it extra difficult for parents to detect. Basically, when it comes to baby food it’s always best to use fresh and natural ingredients so that the parent knows exactly what’s going into it. Ingredients lists are helpful but, in cases such as these, sometimes they can only tell the discerning parent so much.

5 Corn

A corn allergy is another sad thing, mostly because corn can be found in numerous foods. While it will be fairly easy for the little one to avoid corn itself, corn has so many derivatives that it can be taxing for the average parent to look for all of them. There is, of course, the fairly obvious cornstarch and corn flour, found in many baked products and soups. But what many parents don’t know is that some baby powders and diapers may actually contain cornstarch!

Then there’s that popular sweetener high-fructose corn syrup, which is found in loads of stuff such as cereal, juices, baked goods and snacks. But corn in the diet doesn’t end there. The discerning parent might want to look out for ingredients lists that contain possible corn derivatives such as citric acid, monosodium glutamate and sorbitol. Considering all the products that are derived from it, corn is definitely a tough allergy to have.

4 Celery

Celery sticks are classic baby snacks, along with carrot sticks. Unfortunately, some little ones may not be able to tolerate it. It is fairly easy to detect foods that have celery in them. They’re usually placed in ingredients lists and, when in cooked food, they’re pretty obvious.

However, the tough bit about celery is that often the symptoms are pretty subtle. Sometimes the lips will swell just a little bit or the baby might keep on rubbing her mouth because of itching. Because of this, it can be tough for the parent to detect this allergy. In cases such as these, it might help to keep a food diary in which to keep track of the little one’s diet, as well as symptoms. In some cases, a suspected “allergy” may be a coincidence. However, when symptoms consistently match the consumption of a specific food, it may be best to do a check for allergies.

3 Pollen

Pollen allergies are commonly associated with those tiny little plant bits flying around during the spring and giving people the sniffles. However, many don’t know that pollen does find its way in food or can trigger something called the oral allergy syndrome. We’re not just talking about honey, a food which sometimes contains pollen grains, which shouldn’t be fed to kids younger than a year old anyway.

Common foods that can trigger a pollen allergy include bananas, tomatoes, oranges, apples, cherries and strawberries. This can be critical as fruits aren’t exactly foods that many parents consider to be common allergens. But it’s important to remember, as well, that a pollen allergy to one food may not translate to an allergy to another. A gradual introduction of foods is therefore best. So if the little one is prone to spring-time sniffles, it may be best to check the little one’s food as well.

2 Baby Food

Baby food is just one of those things that you think may not harm your baby but potentially could. This is primarily because baby food can contain all sorts of additives, some of which may be based on the allergens listed above and yet others are obscure allergens that, it just so happens, the baby is sensitive to! But the thing is that different people have unique allergies and it can be tough to screen for every single one of them, even in baby food! After all, something that the vast majority of the population can eat safely may be an absolute bane for someone else.

The most common offenders tend to be baby foods that have rice, wheat or oats. After all, cereals are a dietary staple, but may trigger hypersensitive reactions in some. Other baby food ingredients that may result in an allergy are often derived from soy or corn.

1 Breastmilk

Sometimes the cause of an allergy can be the one thing that parents least expect. Enter breast milk, that well-loved and highly recommended baby food staple that the little ones ought to take exclusively for the first six months. But an allergy to breast milk itself is very uncommon, and so most moms don't have to worry about it.

The likely suspect when it comes to a breast milk allergy is mom’s diet! After all, proteins in the food that mom eats can find their way into breast milk rather easily. When the little one takes in these proteins, she might experience as severe allergic reaction that can leave mom wondering what on earth she did wrong. In families with a strong history of allergies, it may be best for mom to avoid common allergens. In addition, she might want to keep a diary herself of what she’s eating during this time to ensure that all factors are considered when ruling out potential allergens for the baby.

Sources: Parents.com, Allergy UK, Healthline.com, KellyMom.com, KidsHealth.org

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