How to Recognize Food Allergies in Babies

It can be a scary thing when your baby seems sick for no reason. Of course, babies have extremely weak immune systems as newborns – so sniffles, coughs, and rashes are quite common for the first few months. But if a particular symptom keeps showing up again and again, especially after the baby eats particular foods (or, if Baby is nursing, after you eat particular foods), then this symptom may be evidence of a food allergy.

Here are a few specific food allergy symptoms you should look out for.

Gastrointestinal Problems

If you baby experiences diarrhea, vomiting, or excessive burping after eating particular foods, you may have a food allergy on your hands. This is actually the most common symptom of an allergy in newborns. If your baby is under six months, and she seems to be sick to her stomach more often then not, pay attention to what you are eating and what baby is eating. If the indigestion or diarrhea is worsened after your morning meal of scrambled eggs and toast, it’s likely your child has an egg allergy. Pay attention and use your mama’s intuition!


Eczema is fairly common among newborns as well; but again, if these red flare-ups seem worse after particular foods or meals, be cautious! Your child may be experiencing an allergy that’s affecting your little one’s skin. See your doctor if you aren’t sure – skin conditions are tricky in babies!

Breathing Issues

This one is scary. Food allergies can sometimes cause a baby’s throat to close slightly, making it difficult for him or her to breathe. If your baby seems to be wheezing or choking for any length of time, take your baby to the hospital immediately.

Common Allergens

Cow’s milk is the most common allergen that affects young children. If you are feeding your child with formula, be aware of the ingredients – some formula is made with trace amounts of dairy – and keep an eye on your child after each feeding. If your baby seems irritated in any way by the milk, buy a hypoallergenic brand immediately.

Gluten is another common culprit. This one probably won’t be an issue until your child starts solids; you may notice that they appear rashy or nauseous after tasting their first bites of rice cereal or other grain-based treats.

If your baby is very sensitive to a particular food, he or she may be affected by it even when nursing. A breastfeeding child who is hyper-allergic to cow’s milk will have symptoms when they nurse after you’ve eaten dairy. Be aware of this, and if your child has allergy-esque symptoms that seem difficult to pinpoint, talk to your doctor.

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