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I started introducing solids to my baby at 4.5 months (by our ped's advice). Here we are, 1 month later, and my baby developed a local rash after 3 out of 5 foods (rice, barley and sweet potato).

  1. How can I be sure its a food allergy, and not another kind of rash? 2 of them appeared 40 minutes after the meal, and disappeared several hours later. One of them appeared in the end of the day and there are still some minor signs 1 week later (maybe its not a food allergy?)

  2. If a baby is allergic to cereal, when should I try introducing the cereal again?

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My son has had food allergies his whole life. If you're concerned, talk to you doctor about getting your baby an allergy test. At this age, it should be a blood test. Start there. There's tons of thing s that can cause a rash. Keep a detailed journal of what he's eating and when symptoms appear. –  adeena Mar 13 at 16:53
    
I'm reverting (mostly) the title. The newer title ("Is this rash...") suggests an inappropriate question; we cannot make medical diagnoses on this site. –  Joe Mar 14 at 16:14
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3 Answers 3

If by "local rash" you mean a red patch on the chin or something, odds are very high it's got nothing to do with the foods you are feeding him, particularly if it's something like rice that virtually nobody is allergic to. Most babies start drooling at the same age as they start eating solids (in fact, it's considered a sign of readiness), and most often it's this saliva plus random vegetable smears that briefly but harmlessly irritate the skin.

Actual food allergies do not usually manifest as skin rashes, but as hives (mosquito bite-type bumps on the limbs), swelling lips, stomach pain, diarrhea, etc. There's so much hysteria about food allergies these days that parents have an understandable tendency to overreact, but at the end of day, severe food allergies are actually very rare: there are over 300 million people in the US, of whom around 2,000 were hospitalized due to all food allergies combined in an average year, putting the risk at -- literally -- less than one in a million.

If you want to play it safe, lay off the suspect food for a few days, then give it another shot and see if it recurs. But personally, I wouldn't bother your doctor unless you're sure there's a pattern or you're seeing more severe symptoms.

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This goes without saying, but for 1), talk to your pediatrician right away - don't wait for the next regular appointment. Take a food log, take pictures, keep notes on times, and then go in and show them what you have. Your pediatrician should be experienced at dealing with food allergies and be able to tell you if this is something to be concerned about or not.

For 2), I would move on to other foods entirely for now (assuming the pediatrician agrees). AAP no longer recommends starting with cereal for several reasons; there's no reason you can't start with broccoli, peas, green beans, carrots, etc. For my first child, we did cereal for a bit, but then moved quickly to sweet potatoes and carrots, both roasted in the oven with a tiny amount of oil, and to peas and green beans and broccoli, all steamed, and then in all cases food processed with some breast milk for consistency.

If those foods cause rashes also, of course, talk to your pediatrician - there may be a bigger issue here, or an unrelated issue. This winter has been hard on babies since it's so dry, so rashes aren't totally surprising - my one year old has had rashes on and off for a long time.

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As long as you can not see any obvious health issues (coughing, scratching, pain or worse) it is unlikely to be an allergy. If you want to be absolutely sure, you need to see a doctor, however I doubt your little one will love to get about 20-30 needles into his arms for the test.

Alternatively you can try small doses of what you think might cause an allergic reaction. If your kid already ate a bowl of cereals and only got a rash from it, it is highly unlikely that there is any lethal allergy from that. But just to be safe, try a single spoon of it and wait for any reaction. If there is none, try two spoons the next day and so on and watch for any repeating signs.

If it actually turns out to be an allergy against something as common as cereals, I would recommend to a) see a doctor and discuss with him how to proceed and b) try allergen-desensitising (your doc can give you more details on this), which is usually very effective at early ages and should be helpful for something as common as that.

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