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Friday, March 27, 2015

Ingredients to Avoid for an Allergic Baby: How to Choose Hypoallergenic Products

Previously published on Associated Content / Yahoo Contributor Network

Annoying Allergies
When I was a child and I was invited to birthday parties, I was the only one present who was unable to eat cake and ice cream due to my egg allergy. Even now, my allergy restrictions prevent me from visiting loved ones who own animals.
The good news is that I am no longer allergic to food. But in a strange twist of events, my mother, who never in her life had allergies, now has food allergies. Allergies can also be life-threatening, especially for babies or infants. Interestingly, allergies are hereditary. So if you have allergies, there is a good chance your child will, too, and you should try to purchase hypoallergenic products whenever possible.
Today, in order to prevent allergies, doctors suggest introducing foods and ingredients to babies slowly. The goal is to avoid causing an intense allergic reaction in a baby.
What is Hypoallergenic?
Children who are allergic to one thing may also be prone to other allergic reactions, and so the best choice of products for these children are hypoallergenic products.
By staying away from common food and ingredient allergens, you could prevent your baby from developing allergies. Researchers now know some of the common allergens that trigger attacks. Knowing those triggers will help you choose hypoallergenic products for your baby.
Allergens Found in Non-Edible Products
Some materials contain common allergens, and until you know your child can handle these products, do a skin test before exposing a baby to these materials. Materials to avoid include latex, wool and various metals. Before exposing your child to these materials, test the material by rubbing it on a small part of the child's skin. If a rash develops, the child is allergic, and the material should be avoided.
Common Allergy-Producing Foods
According to The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), "Eight foods account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions.They are milk, eggs, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. Some of these allergens may be outgrown, but others, such as peanut and shellfish, will remain lifelong allergies."
Some foods serve as ingredients, so introduce them slowly to your baby and beware of foods that include the following ingredients:
Milk and Dairy Products
Many doctors recommend not giving cow's milk to babies until they reach one year of age, but even at that age, use caution - milk is one of the ingredients used in many meals.
An allergy to eggs means not eating eggs or any foods that use eggs as an ingredient. Refrain from feeding them to your baby until they are at least one year of age. When you introduce them, watch for any physical reactions such as shortness of breath or hives.
Feeding peanut butter to infants is just asking for trouble. Not only will they have trouble digesting it, but they will also have difficulty swallowing it. Peanuts are one of the first ingredients doctors recommend not giving to babies. Again watch for physical reactions. Peanuts may cause throats to swell in addition to shortness of breath or hives.
Tree Nuts
Many cereals and breads use tree nuts as ingredients. Always check the package for nutritional information and steer clear of tree nuts (pecans, chestnuts, pine nuts {pignolia nuts}, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts; macadamia nuts).
Soy allergies are problematic for babies who also have dairy allergies. But by reading labels, you will know if soy is an ingredient in the product you are purchasing. According to the Food Allergy Initiative, "The federal Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) requires that any packaged food product that contains soy as an ingredient must list the word 'Soy' on the label." According to the same web site, "The following ingredients indicate the presence of soy protein: Edamame, Miso, Natto, Shoyu sauce, Soy (fiber, flour, grits, nuts, sprouts), Soy (milk, yogurt, ice cream, cheese), Soy protein (concentrate, hydrolyzed, isolate), Soy sauce, Tamari, Tempeh, Textured vegetable protein, Tofu."
A gluten-free diet is not always easy to accomplish. Many foods contain gluten, which is, as described by Merriam-Webster, "a tenacious elastic protein substance especially of wheat flour that gives cohesiveness to dough." In addition to being found in wheat, gluten is also found in barley and rye.
Babies prone to developing Celiac's Disease are prohibited from eating anything containing gluten. provides an extensive list of foods that contain gluten. Avoid giving your baby this ingredient until you know for sure that he or she can handle it. Click Safe Gluten-Free Food List.
Because wheat is closely related to gluten, since gluten is one of the ingredients in wheat, products to avoid include anything that contains the word wheat or the word gluten. Other ingredients to avoid that might include wheat are gelatinized starch, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, vegetable gum and vegetable starch. Many cereals, breads, cookies, cakes, pastas and crackers might contain wheat as well.
Sulfites are sometimes attributed to causing allergies. Ingredients that contain sulfites appear on food labels as Sulfur dioxide, Potassium bisulfite or potassium metabisulfite, or as Sodium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite or sodium sulfite.
To learn which foods may contain sulfites, read Allergies and Sulfite Sensitivity.
Check Restaurant Ingredients
Introducing foods slowly may diminish your child's susceptibility to becoming allergic to these common foods and ingredients. But avoiding them takes more than just reading labels. Restaurants may serve some of these offending agents. Before you choose a meal for your baby, either bring your own baby food or make sure you request a list of ingredients from your server.
Photo from Morguefile

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