18 answers

Can a 5 1/2 Month Old Have Allergies?

I have a 5 1/2 month old who has symptoms of allergies. He rubs his eyes often and pulls his ears. I took him to the doctor because I thought he might have an ear infection but she checked him thoroughly and informed me that he is perfectly healthy. The doctor says he is too young to have allergies. I know babies rub their eyes when they are tired but he rubs them at all hours of the day. Has anyone ever had an infant with allergies or these sypmtoms?

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Yes, kids can have allergies that young! My whole family has seasonal allergies and my doctor was diagnosed with food allergies at 6 months.


Babies certainly can have allergies. My now 2 year old is allergic to both dairy and soy (food allergies) and has been since he was born. He's also got some environmental allergies that cause him to have eczema and he's had that since he was tiny also. I ended up taking my son to pediatric GI doctor and then an allergist because my regular pediatrician was absolutely no help.


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I never heard of that... I tend to doubt it.
Do you have any pets? The dander can often create those same symptoms in people... I was like that as a child... I was basically allergic to any type of animal fur (real or stuffed animals), and dust.

Is he breast or formula fed? I don't know but sometimes, something in the foods (usually additives) can create itchy ears/eyes/throat (my sister is like that with "MSG" food additives). If breastfed, sometimes something you are eating can pass on into the milk.

Does he nap? Maybe he is basically tired all the time if he does not nap.

Is he hydrated enough? Lethargy is sometimes due to dehydration.

Or, it could be a "self-soothing" mannerism that he has... something that is just him. And perhaps, this somehow relaxes him or helps him relax when things are too over-stimulating.
Some kids also rub their eyes, and "force" themselves awake... even if they are tired. (my son sometimes does that...he'll be playing then stop, rub his eyes, then keep going without missing a beat...but I know he "is" tired, and if I put him down he'll just pass out pretty quick).

Or, maybe he is sick... and coming down with something. Try keeping a watch on him, in case a cold does erupt in a few days. Usually, if I am going to get a cold I can tell ahead of time because my ears and eyes and throat gets itchy first, like a precursor to what is coming.

Is this a sudden symptom of his, or something he's always had?

I would get a second opinion.

take care,

First, read some baby books, and you'll see that rubbing eyes and pulling ears is a sign of already being over-tired. A great book is "Healthy Sleepy Habits, Happy Child." It really helps a mom realize how often a child needs to sleep, the signs, etc. The author explains that once a child is at the state of being over-tired, he rubs his eyes and pulls on his ears. That is our sign to get Clara into bed NOW or else she'll fight it. Clara also rubs her eyes constantly and pulls her ears constantly...I thought there was no way she can always be tired, but she needs a TON of sleep!!!!!

Second, yes, Clara has also had allergies, allergic to our dog. She sneezes everytime our dog is near her. When our dog is at my parents house, she doesn't sneeze anymore. Plus, she was allergic to squash and strawberries at first and broke out in hives. After a few months and then trying them again, she's fine. Sometimes their little bodies aren't just ready for some things yet!!!

Good luck....motherhood is the toughest job of them all!!!

Most definitely a 5 1/2 month old can have allergies - I only say this because my son did and it came over him in the form of eczema. It started as early eye rubbing and ear pulling, but soon turned into a full body rash. More than likely though, your son is doing this to comfort himself. My first son used to rock his head back and forth before sleeping and I thought something was wrong, but they all just have their "thing" that brings them comfort. If he's not in any pain and the doctor has checked him I would try not to worry. I now it's hard and you're doing all the right things by asking all the right questions. Good luck.

I have a four month old who does the exact same thing..I thought it was ears, allergies, or something. The dr. said it is just his little thing he does. He tends to do it more when he is tired. Also he does have allergies so I use fragrance free-sensitive skin products..Good luck to you!

Perhaps your doctor did not undestand your question, because absolutely yes a 5.5 year old can get allergies. If he did understand your question find a new doctor. At any rate, look for a good allergist in your area and have your child tested. Good luck.

I don't think your baby is too young to have allergies- especially if you and/or your husband have allergies. Even if he doesn't- I would think about what cleaning products I was using and detergents. My whole family is allergic to perfumes (especially the ones in magazines and laundry detergents). I would try and clean with water and microfiber clothes when possible.

Hi C.-

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The symptoms you are describing could also be the signs of teething. Ear pulling happens a lot when teething begins. Take a peek into his mouth to see if his gums are swollen.
My daughter started pulling at her ears at five months and sure enough, within a week, a tooth broke through the bottom gums.

Hope that helps!


Get it checked out. My best friends son always had some kind of rash as a baby. He was breastfed and she started introducing foods methodically one at a time. Turns out the kid is "severely allergenic" and he can only eat rice, meat, and select vegetables. He is allergic to EVERYTHING and he is in danger of going into anaphalactic shock if he even touches a trigger food. Get a blood test to find out if he is allergic to something in your home (pets, mold, dust) or something that he might be getting through your milk or formula. It is best to know so that you can get rid of your carpets or make your dog live outside. Your son will be much healthier and happier if the triggers of his irritation are removed.

Of course a baby can have allergies.... a bit shocking that your doctor would tell you otherwise. As well as allergies listed in some of the other responses like dairy, my daughter reacted quite severly if I breast fed her after eating garlic. Eating too much broccoli can give them wind etc. and my little boy got exzema if I drank orange juice (and still gets it now if he drinks it himself)

Two things which could help. A food diary for you to see if symptoms get worse or better depending on your diet and also taking him to someone who does really good cranial sacral work. All sorts of things can happen when the pressures in a babies cranium are imbalanced. Another good idea is a homeopath. In England the royal family are totally treated by homeopaths and live to a ripe old age! My daughter developed exzema at about 10 weeks after having an allergic reaction to some reflux medicine and I took her to a homeopath and it cleared up after one session and never came back. Both homeopathy and cranial work are incredible for babies.

Best of luck!

Hi C.,

Yes it is possible. It sounds different from one of my kids but he had allergy symptoms as well. It started for him around 2-3 months I believe. He started not holding his milk down and his stomach would bloat every time I would feed him. I gave him gas drops and it still didn't help, he was so uncomfortable. I changed his formula to a lactose free and he tolerated it perfect. Then I introduced rice cereal around 5 months and the same symptoms started again and also rashes. I noticed then he started rubbing his eyes and tugging his ears more. I tried everything, propping him up at night, sensitive skin lotions...you name it. I brought him back to the doctors and she was then concerned with allergies and also because allergies and gluten problems run heavy in the family. He started developing ear infections on what seemed like a regular basis to me, and they were ready to put tubes in his ears. The doctor told me that children do not usually develop allergies this young but anything is possible. Every time I introduced a new food my son had problems. He was about 10 months and they drew his blood for an allergy panel. I guess they normally do not draw blood this young because of accuracy and how the immune system changes but my son's symptoms were extremely severe. Sure enough he was allergic to almost everything on that panel, foods and grasses/dust.

Try to keep things dye free/scent free, even your laundry soap. Pets are usually a big trigger too. I have learned the more you change things the more the allergies flare up. Change one thing at a time and wait to see if there is any improvement. That way you can rule out what may be irritating him. It's a guessing game at this age unfortunately. Keep a log and bring it to his doctor on the next visit. Kids are trial and error...take care!

did you change soaps laundry soap, bath soap, are you lighting scented candles incense, spray fresher in the air, check out side is there a plant that is flowering that a window that is open is near, did you lit the furances,if so have them checked for a gas leak. Do you have your ceiling fans running if so look at the blades they collect a look of dust. He might have something in them look for eyelash spects of dirt.


Babies certainly can have allergies. My now 2 year old is allergic to both dairy and soy (food allergies) and has been since he was born. He's also got some environmental allergies that cause him to have eczema and he's had that since he was tiny also. I ended up taking my son to pediatric GI doctor and then an allergist because my regular pediatrician was absolutely no help.


My daughter did the same thing. She also seemed to always have a runny nose. All the simptoms continued until I changed the cleaning products in my home to products that do not contain harch and harmful chemicals in them. I have to say I was amazed at the difference. She only shows signs of the allergies when we have a santa ana or we go hiking. And I do not have to keep visine with me at all times. I changed my laundry soap, cleaners and soaps used in my home. That really made a difference. Good Luck and let me know if you want to know what kind of products I think work the best!

Yes, kids can have allergies that young! My whole family has seasonal allergies and my doctor was diagnosed with food allergies at 6 months.

Yes, a baby that young can have allergies. A lot of people here are mentioning food allergies, but this sounds like just nasal allergies, the kind that make you sneeze and your eyes itch. My husband and I both have bad allergies so we weren't surprised at all to notice our daughter getting itchy and sneezing at the same time we were due to various allergens. Does your baby also have dark circles under his eyes sometimes? Our doctor called this "allergy eyes" when he saw it on our (otherwise extremely healthy and well-rested) baby. It's from not being able to breathe well, and it happens to me sometimes too.

Some well-known causes of allergy are: scents in laundry detergents and bath soaps; dust; mold; pollen; pollution (from cars, etc. but also from cigarette smoke). Try to see if you can figure out which of these (it may be a combination) is causing your baby's symptoms. You don't necessarily need to get a test, just use your powers of observation. Then just try to eliminate the cause as well as you can: Make sure you dust and vacuum as much as you can, especially in areas where he plays and sleeps. Also keep his bedding very clean. I used unscented laundry detergent and fabric softeners, and the mildest-smelling baby wash I could find. Just avoid anything that's very perfumy. If anyone in your house smokes, have them do it outside and also wear a jacket or shirt that can be removed when in the presence of the baby. Really. Smoke, even on clothes, can really trigger a reaction.

Other than that, we use a saline-only (no medication) nasal spray to keep the mucus membranes moist and cleaned out. These are safe to use on babies, but you might want to ask your doc for the best way to administer them (or get a second opinion if your doctor still insists your baby does not have allergies). And if he gets really plugged up, use a humidifier to keep his room moist (it helps to keep the nasal passages clear). And don't worry too much. Lots of people have allergies at various times in their lives. It's supposed to be a sign of a strong (though possibly over-active) immune system!

Definitely! My son developed a sudden severe allergies to cats at this age. His pediatrician sent us to an allergy specialist, and it turns out that babies can definitely develop allergies this early, and that our son was destined to have cat allergies since my husband and I both have them (although our son's reaction was far more severe--instant conjunctivitis and difficulty breathing, whereas we both just get hives and congestion). I would say it's worth mentioning to your doctor, especially if either parent has allergies.

My daughter used to get hives all the time, covered in red blotches. They didn't seem to bother her but it sure bothered me. I never thought of bringing her to an allergy specialist until she was older and started getting bumps around her mouth that would come and go. Found out she's allergic to wheat, soy, peanuts & egg whites! I have a feeling she was all that time, we just didn't know it.

It's worth having the test. It will be a challenging few minutes while they poke his back but it really doesn't hurt (they did it to my arm so I could feel it), it's more scary. I just nursed my daughter once they did it and she was fine.

Good luck!

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