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Food Allergies - Mom and Baby

Janel F.
JANEL F.
Registered Dietitian
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Food allergies can be tricky. But, no need to worry—we've got you covered! Join the conversation for tips on keeping baby safe and happy.

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JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Mushroom allergy
PAULA, PARENT OF 5 YEAR OLD

I have a mushroom allergy so we avoid it at home but my husband loves mushrooms so often orders dishes with them when out. We haven’t let our child eat them yet because I was worried she might be allergic too. Is that even logical? :) Are there ways to check for allergies in children without having to go to a dr for tests? Sorry if this is basic.

Janel
JANEL

Hi Paula,

A very small percentage of people are allergic to mushrooms (lucky you!) so it is not highly likely she is allergic, but of course there is always the chance. Does your reaction present as something that may require an epi pen? Stomach issues? Skin rash/hives? You can treat mushrooms as you would any potentially allergenic food - provide them to your daughter while watching carefully for any reactions. I would also recommend giving cooked mushrooms first. I'm not aware of any way to test for a food allergy besides tests with a doctor or just testing by serving the food at home! It always makes sense to check with your pediatrician as well if you're concerned.

PAULA

Thank you! Yes, lucky me :) It starts with a rash and hives then progresses but has never required an epi pen (thankfully). I’ll try the cooked mushrooms at home. Thank you again!

FPIES
STEPHANIE, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD, 5 MONTH OLD

Hi Janel, do most babies outgrow FPIES? Our daughter is 9 months old and has recently been diagnosed with FPIES. We are still in the process of trying to figure out what foods trigger her symptoms and what are considered safes. In addition, right now I’m staying at home with her, but at some point I plan on enrolling her part time in daycare and not knowing what she’ll react to really scares me in this type of setting. Any suggestions on how to deal with this? Also, due to FPIES her doctors at BCH have currently had her off all solids for the past month and continuing to Jan. She still hasn’t had any exposure to lots of foods. Can this increase her chance of having more allergic reactions to foods? She already appears to have had an anaphylactic reaction to strawberries. Do children ever outgrow this type of allergy? Sorry for all the questions! Thanks for your help!

Vanessa
VANESSA

Hi Stephanie,

I’m Vanessa, one of the Tinyhood dietitians.

Some children do outgrow FPIES. Unfortunately there is no way to predict which children will, so it’s important to stay vigilant and follow your team’s recommendations.

While some foods like soy and cow’s milk more commonly trigger FPIES, technically any food can trigger the reaction so your doctor will likely recommend a slow and careful reintroduction of solid foods. Any questions you have about which foods are safe or potential allergens should be directed to your doctor.

Your question about childcare is a great one. My daughter will also require a very specialized diet once she goes to daycare so it’s something I’ve thought a lot about. First and foremost, don’t get ahead of yourself. It sounds like you are just getting started with FPIES treatment. Focus on the liquid diet for now and worry about the next steps as you go. You may be pleasantly surprised at how many foods your daughter can eat once her diet advances!

When you look for daycare, find a site that has good food allergies policy in place. You can ask to see their policy, menus and ingredients, talk to parents of food allergy kids for references or even request to sit in during a meal and observe. Your provider should have a list of all foods each child CAN’T have, but you could also provide them with a list of the only foods your child CAN have and slowly add to it as her diet expands. I’ve even found some centers that are willing to shift their menus to include foods your daughter can eat so she doesn’t feel isolated. Lucky for us, food allergies are very common these days, so providers are used to dealing with these issues.

You also need to make sure your daughter has a basic understanding. She may not know words like ‘allergies’ or ‘enterocolitis’, but you can help her understand that sharing food with friends or eating without asking an adult if it’s okay first is not allowed. Even babies and toddlers can be taught to advocate for themselves on some level! There are actually some great children’s books on Amazon that help teach kids about this issue- take a look!

If all else fails, you can send all food with your daughter and ask that she only eat the safe foods you provide. Then use weekends and dinner time at home to try new foods.

Good luck with the reintroduction phase! Let us know if you have any other questions.

STEPHANIE

Thank you so much, Vanessa! This information was so helpful!

JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
OIT
MICHELE, PARENT OF 4 YEAR OLD

What is your experience/opinion with OIT? I read a lot on Facebook groups that it is really working for many kids, but nobody in the Boston area is doing this to my knowledge and my allergist at Boston Children's said she wasn't convinced that it is the right way to go. She said they are doing more research about it. I was surprised that nobody in Boston was administering OIT since I think they have a very advanced medical community.

Janel
JANEL

OIT is not my area of expertise, and unfortunately I don't know anyone in Boston who is working with it as well. I'm glad you're working with Children's as they have been doing research on OIT so I trust your allergist to know the latest information on it.

MICHELE

thank you.

JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Peanut allergy
MICHELE, PARENT OF 4 YEAR OLD

Janet, what are the chances of outgoing a peanut allergy? Does it matter that her first reaction to peanut was only redness in the face even though it was only 2 bamba snacks. She has positive to blood and skin test for peanut. She has never had to used her epipen but I get worried especially reading all these posts on FB about fatalities and allergies.

Janel
JANEL

I can't say for certain, but a peanut allergy tends to be lifelong, with only about 20% of kids with a peanut allergy outgrowing it. Here is more info: https://www.foodallergy.org/about-fare/blog/who-is-likely-to-outgrow-a-food-allergy#_ga=2.66651758.1543861731.1513628608-1887956530.1513628608

MICHELE

thanks and sorry I spelled your name wrong

JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
breakfast ideas
MICHELE, PARENT OF 4 YEAR OLD

My daughter was originally allergic to eggs and milk and tested negative through hospital challenge and is no longer allergic to eggs. She looks like she may okay with milk now but we have to wait until the food challenge in the hospital. She got used to eating muffins for breakfast since we had to have baked milk and eggs in muffins. I am trying to get her to eat other things. I made mini egg muffins but she doesn't seem to want these. Any ideas? Also we have greek yogurt plain most mornings unless we are driving as dairy seems to contribute to vomiting in the car. Trying to find other alternatives. She is allowed to eat hard cheese but not processed cheese as she hasn't officially been cleared from her milk allergy. I am trying to give her bagels with vegan cream cheese, pancakes, bread with sunbutter, etc. but she almost always wants muffins. I would love some ideas.

Janel
JANEL

So you're looking for muffin and other breakfast ideas that do contain eggs but no milk? I love making oatmeal-based muffins for my kiddos, as it's a portable, portioned way to get some oats in the morning and you can add fruit, seeds, etc. If you google "oatmeal banana muffins" or even "oatmeal blender muffins" (great because you mix all ingredients in the blender so it's easy cleanup!!) you'll find loads of recipes. Then, to swap out the dairy milk, you can use canned coconut milk, or one of the many dairy alternatives on the market like coconut milk, soy milk, rice milk, etc. If she's able to tolerate yogurt, you can make yogurt smoothies (but not for the car!), or even muesli - by letting yogurt and oats (plus any fresh or frozen fruit) sit in a container overnight so the oats soak up the liquid. But the good thing about muffins is that you can use a "core recipe" and then switch up the flavors by doing banana slices, berries, chia seeds, apples and cinnamon, etc. Do you think those would appeal to her? Are you looking for non-muffin breakfast recipes as well?

MICHELE

Thanks for the ideas and also looking for other ideas besides muffins. She can have regular baked milk and eggs now. She also drinks alternative milks such as soy, oat, hemp, coconut, almond and ripple (pea protein).

Janel
JANEL

It sounds like she can enjoy a lot of options, as long as you're swapping out ingredients she doesn't tolerate well, as needed! You may want to look into doing big batches of cooked oatmeal (I like doing it in the crockpot with fruit and seeds), or a baked oatmeal; would she eat avocado toast? Nut/seed butter on bread with banana slices and honey? Baked french toast? Remember breakfast foods don't have to be typical! If she loves other foods - like roasted chicken or sweet potato wedges - for example, you can get creative and find ways to incorporate other favorites into her morning meal!

MICHELE

Thank you very much.

JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Peanut-Tree Nut
MICHELE, PARENT OF 4 YEAR OLD

My 2 year old is just had updated blood work and while her allergy to peanut number went down, her pistachio number went up, she was positive for cashew and walnut but negative for other tree nuts. We haven't done recent skin testing for peanut and these tree nuts which we will do in May. We were buying these banana chocolate chip muffins at trader joes that said made contain traces of tree nuts. She has eaten these for several months and is fine. Can I continue to feed them to her or is it better not to?

Janel
JANEL

Hi Michele - that's a good question. The "better safe than sorry!" response would be to stop giving those muffins to your daughter, as the facility they use to make the muffins or even the recipe they use could change without you knowing, and you wouldn't want to risk it as long as that label is there! I would also double check with your pediatrician as s/he should be closely monitoring these allergies with you.

I also wanted to put in a point about blood/skin tests for food allergies, as they can oftentimes show a false positive. Here's some info I hope you find helpful: https://www.foodallergy.org/life-food-allergies/food-allergy-101/diagnosis-testing/blood-tests