The tendency towards allergies runs in families. If both parents are allergy-prone, the chance of the child showing the same tendency is 70 per cent. Allergic reactions include hay fever, asthma, eczema, urticaria, migraine, gastric disturbances with pain, diarrhoea and vomiting.
If you have a family history of allergy, delay the introduction of solids until at least the sixth month if possible. To get your baby accustomed to other tastes you can occasionally give homemade pureed fruit such as apples, pears, peaches, or very ripe mashed banana. Home-prepared fresh fruits will not contain extra starch or stabilisers which bought baby foods might have.
The baby who is allergic to milk may show the symptoms in the first few weeks of life. These include: restlessness; persistent watery discharge from the nose; rough dry patches of skin on various parts of the body, most commonly the face, arms and legs. There may be crying as with colic, but there is usually diarrhoea as well and the restlessness is not confined to a particular time of day. The baby does not gain mass adequately and may have wheezy breathing. Ear ache caused by the excess secretions in the nasal area may cause complications and occasionally gastric bleeding may occur. (See allergies p. 229.)
All these symptoms can occur in infectious diseases or deficiencies and if there is not a rapid improvement after the removal of the allergy-forming substance, such as cows milk, other causes for the symptoms should be sought.
Occasionally a breast fed baby may show mild allergic reactions because of allergens in the mothers diet. The most likely causes are unboiled cows milk (boiling makes the protein in cows milk easier to digest), chocolate, orange juice, wheat and eggs. Elimination of these from the mothers diet should result in a quick improvement if the problem is in fact caused by allergy.
Treatment of cows milk allergy. In such cases, all forms of cows milk are eliminated from the childs diet and replaced with soya milk or evaporated goats milk. Some of the highly modified cows milk formulas used for lactose intolerance may also be prescribed (230). Cows milk allergy and lactose intolerance are not very common so beware of jumping to that conclusion when the problem may have another cause. When cereals are introduced they should not be the ready-cooked kind to which only water is added, because they contain powdered milk. Check all labels for milk when buying baby foods. It is better to cook your babys food yourself if she is allergic, so that you can control exactly what is used. Certain creams used for nappy rash contain milk derivatives such as lactic protein and in infants allergic to cows milk these can make the nappy rash worse.
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