Food Allergies and Intolerance in Infants

Food Allergies and Intolerance in Infants


Food intolerance is a general term that describes an adverse reaction to ingested food regardless of the underlying cause. The reaction may be due to certain additives or the chemicals found naturally in food.

Surprisingly, reactions to substances occurring naturally in food are more common than reactions to additives. Food intolerance may be due to the sugar component of foods (like lactose in milk); small naturally occurring chemicals in foods (amines, salicylates, food preservatives, colors, and flavors).

It usually depends on the amount ingested—your child may have no symptoms after eating a small amount of a particular food chemical but symptoms occur when he eats more.

[pq]Allergy is one of the many causes of food intolerance. Food allergy is an abnormal response to a food triggered by the immune system.[/pq]


Infants and children are particularly susceptible to allergies because their immune and digestive systems are not yet fully developed.

The most common foods to which some kids are allergic are cow’s milk, eggs, fish, peanuts, and soy.

Milk or soy allergies in infants can develop within days to months from birth. At other times there is a history of allergies or feeding problems. Children are more like to outgrow allergies to milk or soy than allergies to fish, shrimp, or peanuts.

If your baby is allergic to cow’s milk, your pediatrician may suggest a change to soy formula.


– Exclusive breast-feeding of infants for the first six to 12 months of life is recommended to avoid milk or soy allergies from developing.

– The infant or child is likely to have allergies if you too have allergies.

– If you are breast-feeding, avoid certain foods that are known to cause allergies. Your child may be sensitive to these foods and they can enter the breast milk to cause reaction in your child.

– If you delay your infant’s exposure to foods that can trigger allergies in your child, then you can avoid certain feeding problems.

– Delaying the introduction of solid foods until the infant is six months old can also delay onset of allergies.