20 answers

My Almost 3 Year Old Boy Has Horrible Reaction to Rice & Sweet Potatoes.

My almost 3 year old has a severe vomiting reaction to rice and sweet potatoes. When my son was about a year old, I realized that every time I fed him Rice Cereal he would get horribly ill. He would start to vomit 1-3 hours after eating it, and he would continue to vomit for a good 3 hours. I realized that he had the same reaction with table served, and baby food Sweet Potatoes. When he was just under two years old my hubby accidentally slipped up and gave him some Rice while they were out for lunch. Same reaction. Within' an hour sweet boy was horribly ill. I asked his Doctor about this, since his only reaction is to Rice and Sweet Potatoes (he eats regular potatoes just fine, mashed, or fried) The Doctor told me his stomach just may not be able to handle those 2 foods at this young of an age. I've lived with that thought for over a year now. But the Dr. could not tell me why sweet potatoes and not regular potatoes. I just find it odd.
I don't serve Rice (at all) or sweet potatoes to anyone in the family anymore. Because he of course wants to eat what everyone else does. He does not have a reaction to food with rice in them. Food with Rice flour, etc. Only actual rice.
Has anyone had this problem with their little one? He'll be 3 in July. I'm scared to death to have him try these foods again to see if he can handle them. I would feel horrible if he got sick, because of me trying to see if he could tolerate it. Any advice, information or input would be helpful! Thank You!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Celiac disease is what it could be or just an allergies take him to the doctor. They can do a simple skin test.

Just refrain from feeding him rice and sweet potatoes. It appears as though he has developed an allergic reaction to these foods so why risks giving it to him again when you have seen the results/reaction to the foods? It shouldn't matter Why he is-- just know that he is allergic and refrain from those two food items. There is so much more food to enjoy. Take care.

More Answers

If he can tolerate foods with rice in them, perhaps it is the texture that he doesn't like and not an allergy. Some kids can make themselves vomit at will. Is there a problem if you mash the sweet potatoes and serve them that way instead of whole?


My 18 month old is intolerant to dairy and allergic to soy. If your baby doesn't tolerate rice or sweet potatoes, just avoid them. You can have a full diet without those type of foods.

Why sweet potatoes and not regular potatoes? They are two entirely different things. It is like yellow squash and zucchini. They are related but not the same thing.

As far as why rice but not rice flour? That is a tough one. Other than that food intolerance can be dose related. Some babies who are dairy intolerant can handle little bits here and there or eat yogurt or cheese but not drink milk. My son can't handle even the slightest bit of dairy, not even hidden in baked goods.

So I say, if it makes him sick, just avoid it. At some point he will likely outgrow it but in the meantime, it sounds like an easy enough thing to avoid. Do you need to test it out everyone once in a while to see if he still reacts? Only if you want to. My pediatric GI doctor said I should give my son dairy and soy every couple of months to see if he's still intolerant. I did it twice and have quit. My GI doctor isn't the one who has to stay up with a screaming kid all night. The only time we test it out anymore is by accident (sometimes he gets something he shouldn't at daycare).


Why do you feel the need to serve those two foods? There are plenty of other foods out there. My guess with the Sweet Potatoes is that they are a heartier spud and contain enzymes that the white potatoes lack.
As far as the rice, is it ALL rices... most families, unfortunately, serve processed white rice that has no nutrients in it... have you tried (previously) brown rice? If you have tried both kinds then just leave it alone. There are many other sources of complex carbs that you could try like whole wheat couscous, which is a pasta, bulgar wheat, orzo (which looks like rice, but is a pasta) and quinoa (a great source of fiber and protein).
Why not find someone who does the Elisa Act Allergy test? It's done through blood instead of scratching or pricking the skin in several places.

I have no idea why your child would have those particular allergies. However, my son was very allergic to milk when he was a baby. He seemed to outgrow it at around 3, but then he developed severe allergies to pollen and pet dander, later he developed asthma. When he was 11 I had a doctor tell me they never really outgrow their allergies. It may seem that way, but it puts stress on the body in other areas. I took him back off of dairy and after 3 months (it takes awhile to get it out of your system) his other allergies and asthma disappeared!
You know your son has a problem with these foods, don't give them to him---ever! As he is older, he will understand not to have them and if you don't give them to him now, he won't develop a taste for them and won't miss them.
Try contacting Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, Ut. they deal with all of the strange and unusual. They may have heard of this and be able to tell you more about it.
Good luck.

I would strongly suggest taking your little one to see a pediatric allergist. You can get a referal from your pediatrician and she/he can order a blood test to check for all food allergies. And then avoid those foods that cause reactions- the longer you avoid - the better chance your sweet child has of out growing them. It's a pain now -but if in a year or two he out grows them it will all be worth it.

You are very wise to not want to risk exposing him to the allergens again - because food allergies are not like environmental allergies. If he continues to be exposed the reaction could become worse & escalate into hives & difficulty breathing. (You may want to ask your doctor for an epi pen.)

Stick with it - you are doing a good job!

My little one had many food allergies and has outgrown most of them. I helped her by removing all allergens from my diet and breastfeeding her longer.


At this point in his age, I wouldn't think it has anything to do with his tummy not being able to handle it any longer. When he was young, okay. But not anymore. I would have him allergy tested - it sounds more like a food allergy to me. Unlike a traditional reaction of not being able to breathe etc...he get violently ill. This is what happens to me when I take codeine. Call it a reaction or an allergy - it is all the same to me. I take it, I get ill - everytime. As far as sweet potatoes vs regular potatoes, they are a different food. They might grow similarly etc., but are not part of the same vegetable to begin with. They aren't all that great for us anyway (potatoes, pastas, etc..turn into sugar when our body processes them). I would steer away from them until an allergist can look at & test your son. My SD has an allergy to peanuts & pet dander. Until she was about 9, they tested her annually to see the severity. Now they only test if there is a reason (she's 14). One of life's quirks. Good luck & God bless!

Celiac disease is what it could be or just an allergies take him to the doctor. They can do a simple skin test.

Food intolerance is really common in my little family. I joined Wildtree herbs b/c I was sick of scouring store shelves , which I am sure you are going to be doing now.

Just avoid the foods for the time being and get an appointment with an allergist to see what exactly your DS is allergic/intolerant to .

I had a friend whose little boy had a rare type of enzyme disorder where his body couldn't handle certain foods - he would vomit and have severe diarrhea when he ate them. Its really really rare (she had to diagnose it herself on the internet and go to Johns Hopkins before any doctor even had an idea what it was) so I don't think your child has it, but maybe it is similar. His body can't handle those foods or lacks the enzymes to digest them (maybe rice flour has processed out the part he can't digest). The thing my friend's son had is something kids grow out of, but they had to test foods in the hospital with an IV inserted to see if he could tolerate them (his condition makes his reaction really severe). By 4 years old he was clear for everything except soy. I'm not intending to scare you, I just thought it may be a different thought than just food allergies. My friend and her doctors thought allergies for a long time.I think a blood test for allergies is still a good idea just in case that is all it is.In general, I would stay away from those foods you know cause this - rice and sweet potatoes are not essential to a diet, you can get those nutrients from other sources. You may want to just teach him that he is allergic and can't eat those foods. By the way, was it sweet potato or yam? We sort of use those words interchangably, but yams are not even closely related to potatoes, which may explain why he can eat potatoes. Anyway, I am no doctor, I just thought that input might help. Good luck!

Hi EB - Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes are not the same not only in apperance and flavor but also in Genus, with the potato being from the genus Solanum and the sweet potato being from the genus Ipomoea. Sweet potato plants in bloom look almost like morning glories while the blooms of a potato plant look vastly different, almost like wildflowers. So perhaps it's the sweet potato plant itself, along with its root, that your son is allergic to, which would be why regular potatoes don't bother him.

This is what I found about rice allergy/intolerance. Very intersting!

Could my baby be allergic to Rice/Rice cereal It seems like she had a reaction to it!

Rice in particular is not a known "high" allergen in the US and most Western Countries and this is why it is typically recommended as an infant's first food (in the US that is). If there is a rice allergy, studies show that the allergy is most often to the pollen of the rice and a reaction is triggered by the inhalation of the pollen - rice is a grass and may produce hay fever like symptoms. Rice pollen has been know to cause allergies in those that live around rice fields. Typically, if one is allergic to rice, then there will be sensitivities shown to other grains such as oats, barley, wheat and rye to name a few! Rice may cause diarrhea in those that are sensitive to it however it is rare.

You will find that the early commercial Rice products offered to baby are fortified with iron and typically contain further additives. Commercial baby cereals that contain rice are typically of the "mixed" ingredient nature and may contain items such as soy and starch. Infant jar foods that contain rice may contain items such as soy, modified corn starch, tapioca etc.. It may be that in the beginning, your baby had a sensitivity to something contained within the cereal or the jar that was not directly related to the rice.

Good luck with your son!

have you asked if your doctor can refer you to an allergy specialist? maybe he or she can give you some answers. also is it all kinds of rice. and maybe the higher sugar content in the sweet potatoes vs a regular potato is what upsets his stomach. when i was a young child, i would break out into rashes when i ate any kind of animal product, especially eggs. anyhow, my grandfather would give me a tiny piece of egg, and over time i was able to develop a tolerance for it. either that or i eventually just outgrew it as i got older. now i can pretty much eat meats, poultry and eggs without any reaction. hopefully he will just outgrow his sensitivity to these foods. good luck!

Hello, first let me say that I am so sorry your little one is going through this. I am a mother of three and my youngest (1.5 years) had a problem with rice, oats & wheat since we first started solids. Exactly 2 hours after eating any of those she would vomit until everything was emptied out of her intestines and only yellow bile was excreted. The vomiting could last for hours..then she would go limp and pale and sleep. When she woke she was fine. After much research and debates with doctors, I found she has FPIES (Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome). Basically her intesines feel the need to evacuate the food and then her system goes into shock. I have been told that the shock stage could lead to shut down of organs! I now have an Epipen and avaoid those foods at all costs!

Please look into FPIES...you are lucky if it's just to one grain, but you should know and be prepared if that is actually what is going on. If this is what your child has, it can be very dangerous and her school should have an Epipen as well as you at home.

Good luck and if you want to contact me directly please do: ____@____.com


Ok, EB,
I have one child that is texture sensitive and one with a SEVERE allergy to peanuts that we didn't know she had until she was 7. So, I can see both sides to your concerns. However, I would be very hesitant to give your son either of those foods (and any that are related to them - including brown rice), until he was checked out by an allergist. If you give him one of those foods and it's a true allergy, the reaction could be much worse - even fatal. With our daughter, whom we had no idea was allergic to peanuts, the first time she got a peanut in her mouth, her face swelled but she did not have respitory distress. The next time she had a peanut in her mouth, she began vomiting within the first 30 minutes, and then swelled up and had difficulties breathing, etc...I also have a son who gags when he tries a new food that he doesn't like the texture of....but I still wouldn't want to take the chance until I knew for sure. I know that it's uncommon sounding, but there are people who are allergic to rice. I'd suggest staying away until you have proof.

I would have him officially tested for allergies.

I come from a family with lots of weird allergies like those, and to reassure you, most of us outgrew the ones we had as children (soy, dairy, chocolate, etc.). My sister had an allergy to regular potatoes but not sweet potatoes, so I assume it can go the other way as well. The best way to prevent him from getting sick is avoidance at this point. He might out grow the allergy, but I would wait a while (like years) before introducing them again to see if he can handle them again. As for other foods, try introducing one thing at a time, and see how he reacts. You should probably wait a little longer in between introducing new foods.

My dear. People has bad reactions to food everyday. It's pretty simple. Don't feed your child sweet potatoes and rice! Good luck with that.

Just refrain from feeding him rice and sweet potatoes. It appears as though he has developed an allergic reaction to these foods so why risks giving it to him again when you have seen the results/reaction to the foods? It shouldn't matter Why he is-- just know that he is allergic and refrain from those two food items. There is so much more food to enjoy. Take care.

My daughter used to spew apricots. She was a really good eater and I could not understand why she would spew apricots. It turned out she was allergic to them. She knew, now I know her tongue tingles and feels odd, this is why she would spew them all over the place.
I thought it was an odd thing at the time but now she is allergic to any fruit with a pit and peas as well as many other intolerances.

Don't worry about why, just know that he has the allergy and take it serious. I don't think it is hard to digest, I think it is an allergy. It is extremely uncommon to be allergic to rice. It is one of the easiest foods to digest and one of the least common allergies. Babies often start on rice cereal because of this. So just keep it away from him. Also, sweet potatoes is odd, but who knows, there seems to be a common thread with your other child so it is unique to them. You can have an IGE allergy test that will give you a list of food they can't tolerate. Not an IGG but an IGE. The later has to be done through a specific doctor...a more holistic doc. Immunolabs or Signet are good labs for this test.

Why even bother??? Just stay away from those foods. Believe me, there will be another time when a mistake happens, and you will find out then. I would just teach your son that rice and sweet potatoes give him an upset tummy and just stay away (like at preschool, playgroups, etc). Be on the lookout for reactions to any other foods as well. It does seem strange that rice would be on his list, because usually that is one of the foods that "highly allergenic" people can tolerate.

Good luck

Hi EB - Based on my own personal experience with food intolerances, I would advise you to remove these 2 foods from your son's diet, atleast for a few months. Even if he does not end up being diagnosed with an official 'allergy' (meaning, an immune response) there is a high liklihood that he has an intolerance, based on his physical reaction. It took me years to realize that my formerly diagnosed 'nervous stomach' actually has a food intolerance basis. It's hard for doctors to always pinpoint these things with tests, unless they are 'traditional' allergies such as wheat, soy, dairy, etc. I would go with your gut on this one. Good luck -Su

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