Baby Allergy: What Every Mum Should Know

Motherhood is one of life’s greatest journeys that a woman can experience. As much as it is a fulfilling and magical experience, it can be overwhelming at times. Baby allergies are some of many concerns for every mother as nothing would make her happier than to see her child grow up healthy and happy.

Part of the challenge of being a mother also means that she is learning as time progresses. We're here for you, with everything you need to know to care for your baby, especially when they exhibit allergies. Let's get started!

What are baby allergies?

A baby’s immune system is only beginning to develop from the time of birth and this leaves them exposed to various forms of allergies. An allergic reaction is an immune system response to an otherwise harmless substance, like dust or dander from the family pet. Your little one may be more likely to develop allergies if you or your partner has them too. Allergies and allergic conditions such as asthma and eczema tend to run in families.

Here are a few common causes of baby allergies1:

Skin allergies

If you notice that your child is suffering from a skin rash, it might be a sign of an allergy . One way this manifest is through hives .

Hives on a baby are among the most common kinds of skin reactions or allergies that your child might suffer from. This is because as a baby, your child’s skin is extremely sensitive, making it more susceptible to allergies and skin problems. It is also known as urticaria , which is a patch of red bumps which are extremely itchy, and they might appear on any body part of the child4.

This allergy can appear in varied sizes, sometimes as small as a mosquito's bite, and sometimes as a large patch. Usually, small patches might connect and end up covering much of your child’s body.

How do you spot hives on a baby? The following are common symptoms that mothers could look out for:

  • Skin rashes that develop without any warning
  • Red or white bumps that keep itching
  • Swelling of a body part or angioedema , which sometimes occurs alongside hives
  • Skin rashes that may keep vanishing and reappearing

How to manage and prevent hives in babies at home

One important consideration is avoiding possible triggers of skin allergies in babies. Certain soaps and lotions may irritate your baby’s skin. Instead, try using hypoallergenic products.

Heat, and wearing tight-fitting clothing may also bother your baby, so be sure to dress them in cool, loose, comfortable clothing.

Hives in babies are usually mild but may still cause some discomfort. Antihistamine medication is not usually recommended for children under the age of 2, so other ways may be needed to provide relief from symptoms. Below are some reassuring methods to help your child feel better: 

  • An oatmeal bath for soothing skin
  • Relieving itch using aloe-vera paste
  • Applying a cold cloth to the affected area

If your child is over the age of two years, antihistamine solutions like Children’s Clarityn® Grape Syrup are recommended for fast, non-drowsy relief of symptoms including itchy skin rash and hives. In cases where the allergic reaction goes beyond the capacity of home treatment, mothers are advised to seek medical attention as soon as possible

Allergic Rhinitis in Babies

Commonly called hay fever , this is a widespread condition, affecting around 13.1% of the entire population of Singapore2. It is also a very common type of child allergy .

Your baby’s allergic rhinitis might get triggered both indoors and outdoors. Millions of children are still subjected to allergy symptoms every year despite minimally spending time outdoors in “the new normal3”. Your baby's allergies might get triggered by their own stuffed toy as well as dust particles on any surface at home. Additionally, dust mites that hide in plush, cosy places can also end up worsening your baby's allergies3. ClariCare® Baby Nasal Hygiene Spray can help to naturally cleanse allergens, viruses and bacteria to protect your baby from cold and allergies, restoring healthy breathing.

Food Allergies

As the name suggests, this allergy occurs when your little one is allergic to certain food items. While parents often wish to provide them with the best nutrition, be careful when introducing new foods as your child's allergies can occur from any type and multiple food items. Peanuts, milk products, eggs, nuts, wheat, and soy are the most common reason for food allergies in babies2.

Here are some practical tips and advice on food allergy prevention when introducing solid food to your baby5:

  • Introduce common allergy causing foods by 12 months in an age-appropriate format and texture for their stage of development to reduce chances of developing food allergy.
  • Only introduce one common allergy causing food at each meal, so that the problem food can be easily identified if there is an allergic reaction.
  • If there is no allergic reaction to the food, continue to offer your baby regularly (twice weekly) as part of a varied diet. Trying new food and eating regularly may result in a food allergy to develop for your baby.

Do note that some babies may still develop a food allergy even if the above advice is followed.

While some babies will be able to outgrow their allergies as their immune system matures, some allergies will remain. Before deciding to seek solutions on your own, it would be best to seek consultation from your healthcare provider or paediatrician for accurate diagnosis. By learning more about childhood allergies and how to manage them, you can better care for your baby and enjoy parenthood with peace of mind.