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Can a baby have a food intolerance?

The short answer is yes, a baby can have a delayed food allergy, also referred to as a food intolerance. But did you know that food intolerances transfer through the placenta in the final stages of pregnancy and through breast milk? This means that a baby can react to a food allergen from birth!

How does this work?

In the last stage of a mother’s pregnancy, her IgG antibodies transfer through the placenta to the baby. This means if she is eating foods that she has an reaction to, the build up of antibodies in her system will pass onto the baby. These antibodies also pass through breast milk.

As a baby takes 6-12 months to start producing their own antibodies, these antibodies can react to foods. This can affect the baby, leading to symptoms such as reflux, diarrhea and constipation.

Food allergies vs. food intolerances

The difference between food allergies and food intolerances is important to note, especially in young children and babies.

A traditional allergic reaction occurs immediately or within a few minutes of exposure to an allergen. This causes the release of histamine mediated by IgE antibodies and is also known as a Type 1 Allergy. These are the allergies that can cause anaphylaxis.

On the other hand, a food intolerance, or Type 3 Allergy, is an inflammatory response in the body caused by a build up of IgG antibodies. This kind of response can give a reaction within a few hours or even several days after eating the offending food. This makes it very difficult to pinpoint the food responsible.

What to do if you suspect a food intolerance

If you suspect that either you or your baby have a food intolerance, the best way to find this out is through a food intolerance test. This tells you exactly what foods you need to avoid to stop causing inflammation in you or your child.

The ImuPro test can help in the discovery of food intolerances in babies and young children. We recommend that if an infant is under 12 months of age, the mother is tested. After the child turns 12 months of age, they can take a test themselves, provided their last vaccination was more than 9 months ago.

We also recommend that women discover their food intolerances if they are planning pregnancy, or at the very latest in the early months of a pregnancy. This helps avoid passing on those intolerances.

Although the mother should investigate intolerances to check for impacts on the baby, it is still possible for a child to develop their own food intolerances. In their early years, young children are just as vulnerable as adults to develop food intolerances, as their immune system is still maturing and growing stronger.

ImuPro food intolerance testing

Early detection of possible food intolerances in children and babies is essential to good health. The ImuPro test identifies possible foods to which you or your child might be intolerant. Click here to find out more.

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