Once your baby has been diagnosed with a food allergy, it is likely that more food allergies will begin appearing. Before referring to a scratch, prick, or other blood test, your doctor may recommend that you do some elimination diet testing first.
Elimination diet testing, especially with a baby who is eating a combination of table foods and breast milk requires a lot of time, patience, and discipline, but will significantly impact your ability to handle each of your baby’s food allergies.
Your doctor may recommend that you start by eliminating the 8 most common food allergens from both your and your baby’s diet. Your child’s doctor might also recommend eliminating other foods he suspects specifically for your child, especially if you have already been keeping a detailed food journal. Click here to find recipes and snack ideas that are all free of all of the top 8 food allergens.
2. Live Top 8 Free
Follow this diet strictly for at least two weeks and make note of any changes in your child’s symptoms.
If your child seems to be tolerating her new diet well, with none of the symptoms discussed by you and your child’s doctor, it may be time to begin introducing one of the 8 eliminated foods back into your or your child’s diet one at a time, allowing a specific time period agreed upon by you and your child’s doctor while watching for any sign of a food allergic symptom.
If your child’s symptoms have not completely cleared up with the elimination of the top 8 food allergens, your doctor will likely have you continue to live free of all of the top 8 food allergens while eliminating even more foods from your and your baby’s diets (repeating steps 1 -3 as necessary). Work closely with your doctor to make sure both you and your child are receiving adequate nutrition during this process and also to know when the time is right to see an allergist for skin prick or blood testing.
*The way in which you reintroduce each food will make a difference. For instance, depending on the age of your child, your doctor may recommend that you reintroduce each of these foods directly to your child while you continue to live free of all of the top 8, so you aren’t confused about whether reactions are coming from the baby’s diet or the mother’s. Food introduced directly to your baby will also clear her system faster than food you eat, which is continually reintroduced to your child through your breast milk until it has completely cleared your system.
Your doctor may recommend, however, that your child be introduced to some foods through your breast milk if the child is too young to be exposed to the food directly, or may even recommend that you avoid reintroducing certain foods until the child reaches a specific age.
When introducing eggs or milk, your doctor may recommend introducing them baked into products like bread or cookies first, before introducing them in their more direct forms.