Usually symptoms of food allergies will disappear soon after the problem food has been identified and eliminated from your baby’s diet. Until this happens, here are some tips which may help you. Please ensure that you discuss any symptoms and potential treatment with your doctor before putting into action.
What can I do if my baby has skin issues1?
Stick to a daily skin care routine with moisturising creams to prevent flare ups and further skin damage. Itchy skin can be very distressing and it is important to prevent scratching or itching whenever possible. Keeping your baby’s fingernails clipped will help with this and cold compresses may relieve itchiness. It is also beneficial to keep rooms at a cool, stable temperature, with consistent humidity levels. Avoiding skin irritants is another essential part of managing skin issues. Some of these irritants are:
- Wool and synthetic fibres
- Soaps and detergents
- Some perfumes and cosmetics
- Chorine from swimming in chlorinated pools
- Sand, particularly from playing in sand pits
- Cigarette smoke
- Sitting directly on carpets and grass
Some children with severe skin problems may need medications to help control the symptoms. Your child’s doctor can advise if these are needed.
What can I do if my baby has colic?
Some babies go through periods of regular and unexplained crying that last for an extended period of time2. This problem is known as baby colic. It is the bane of many parent’s nights as usual settling techniques don’t seems to work. Colic can begin from about two weeks of age and usually improves on its own at around three to four months2.
If your baby is suffering from colic it can be stressful for both you and your child. Although it is easier said than done, the most important thing to do is stay calm. This will help your baby deal with their distress2. The following tips may help soothe a baby with colic2,3:
- Holding, rocking and stroking your baby. This lets them know you are there for them, even if they are not yet able to settle.
- Let your baby suck on the breast or bottle
- Offer a dummy for your baby to suck on
- Continue to speak softly to your baby. Your voice may help to reassure and soothe them
- Warm baths and gentle massage can help relax some babies
- Soft music may also help
What can I do if my child has diarrhoea?
Diarrhoea is the passing of frequent watery bowel motions (poo)4. The major concern if your baby has diarrhoea is that if it lasts for a while, it can cause dehydration. Therefore it is important for your child to drink enough fluids to replace those that are lost in the stools. If your baby is still having breastmilk or infant formula, continue this feed but offer more frequently. You can also give an oral rehydration solution containing fluid and other nutrients that are lost with diarrhoea5. Your healthcare professional can provide more information on this. For toddlers and older children give small amounts of fluid to drink frequently5. Water and oral rehydration solutions are the best options. Starchy foods like potatoes, rice and banana (green rather than yellow) may also help slow the bowel motions4. As your child improves, you can add suitable soft, bland foods to their diet.
What can I do if my baby has reflux?
Reflux occurs when the contents of the stomach are bought back up into the food pipe (oesophagus)6. It is a natural mechanism that affects all babies, some more often than others. Here are some general feeding guidelines which may help to keep reflux to a minimum6:
- Hold your baby in an upright position for some time after feeding. Be sure to support their head and neck
- Try smaller, more frequent feeds.
- Place your baby on their tummy but only if they are awake and you or another adult are with them
- When bottle feeding don’t let the baby feed too quickly. This may help prevent swallowing of excessive amounts of air.
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Usually symptoms of food allergies will disappear soon after the problem food has been identified and eliminated from your baby’s diet
- 2015. Eczema (atopic dermatitis). Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. Viewed 4 June 2016. http://www.allergy.org.au/patients/skin-allergy
- Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne. 2012. Clinical Practice Guidelines- Unsettled or crying babies (colic). Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne. Viewed 4 June 2016. http://www.rch.org.au/clinicalguide/guideline_index/Crying_Baby_Infant_Distress/
- Better Health Channel. 2014. Victorian Government. Viewed 4 June 2016 https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/colic
- Better Health Channel. 2015. Diarrhoea. Victorian Government. Viewed 4 June 2016 https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/diarrhoea
- Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne. 2010. Gastroenteritis (gastro). Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne. Viewed 4 June 2016. http://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Gastroenteritis_gastro/
- Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne. 2010. Clinical Practice Guidelines. Gastro-oesophageal reflux in infants. Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne. Viewed 4 June 2016. http://www.rch.org.au/clinicalguide/guideline_index/Gastrooesophageal_Reflux_in_infants/