A food allergy is usually very easy to spot - your child will get a reaction such as rash or stomach pain. But this may not be a permanent allergy. Luckily, some food intolerances are only temporary.
If your child has a food allergy, you’ll usually notice it because an immediate reaction occurs, often within a couple of minutes. The reaction could be vomiting, diarrhoea, loose bowels, redness around the mouth, a rash or hives.
Food allergies vs food intolerances
Food intolerances and allergies are different. Intolerances can be temporary, and can strike when your child’s immune system is low due to a recent infection.
Rashes and other skin reactions don’t necessarily mean a food allergy. Some children react to red or orange fruits and berries. Wait a while and reintroduce them later. This type of intolerance usually passes as children get older. Even a milk protein allergy can pass with time.
Giving your baby breastmilk (ideally) or formula as their only food for around the first 6 months may help prevent allergic reactions to some foods. Once your baby is ready for solids, at around 6 months, try new foods one at a time every 2–4 days.
If you suspect an allergy
If you suspect an allergy, or have a strong family history of allergies, see your doctor.
Don’t experiment by excluding certain foods, such as milk, from your child’s diet without first consulting a health professional.