Introducing allergens

  • The most common foods that people are allergic to are egg, peanut, cow’s milk (dairy), tree nuts, soy, sesame, wheat, fish, and other seafood
  • When introducing solid foods to your baby, include common allergy causing foods before 12 months of age suitable to their age, (for example well-cooked egg and smooth peanut butter). This may reduce the chance of your child developing a food allergy
  • Once introduced, continue to give these foods to your baby regularly (twice per week), as part of a varied diet, to maintain tolerance. Trying a food and then not giving it regularly may result in your child developing a food allergy
  • Use nut pastes and nut spreads for children under 3 as they can choke on whole nuts
  • Some babies may still develop a food allergy despite following this advice
  • If your baby has an allergic reaction, stop giving that food and get medical advice or call 000 (Triple Zero).  
EggCow's milk (dairy)Peanut
Egg allergy, introducing allergensCow's milk allergy, dairy allergyPeanut allergy
Treenut allergySoy allergySesame allergy
Wheat allergyFish allergyShellfish allergy

Signs of a food allergy

Around 1 in 10 babies under the age of one develop a food allergy but many are outgrown with time. Your child’s chances of having an allergy are increased if an allergy or eczema runs in the family.

Signs of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), are related to the immune system and include difficult/noisy breathing or your baby becomes pale and floppy, or if there is tongue swelling. These symptoms usually appear soon after your child has a particular allergen.

Other signs of an allergic reaction can include:

  • Hives
  • Eczema
  • Asthma, wheeze, difficulty talking
  • Swelling of face, lips and/or eyes
  • Tummy pain, vomiting

Intolerances to food usually involve the digestive system. Diagnosis is usually by avoiding the food and reintroducing it to see if there’s any effect. Symptoms can include:

  • Tummy pain
  • Gas or bloating
  • Diarrhoea
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Rashes
  • Hives
  • Recurring mouth ulcers
  • Headaches

Every child is different so it is best to speak with your health professional if you are concerned.