15 answers

Possible Allergy to Rice Cereal

I recently started my 6 month old on rice cereal (his first solid food) and on the second day he had a mild rash that covered his arms, legs and back. My pediatrician advised to wait a week and try the rice cereal again to make sure that is what caused the rash and if it happens again, try a different grain. After one day of not serving him rice cereal, the rash is almost gone. My baby is still exclusively breastfed, and in the beginning had an allergic reaction when I ate dairy. I was able to eat dairy at about 4 1/2 months without any symptoms in him. My question is... is there anybody who has had an experience with a rice allergy, and if so, was their baby allergic to many foods? I'm worried that my baby will be allergic to a lot of foods, since rice is considered to be a low-allergen food.

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When my daughter was one month old, we had to begin thickening everything that went into her mouth, due to reflux. We decided to use rice cereal, because it was the cheapest and the easiest to use. Well, long story short, she developed a sensitivity to it. She never was truely allergic to it, but was unable to eat it without profuse vomiting and a terrible stomach ache. We were able to feed her oatmeal instead. Maybe try that... Along the lines of allergies, when she was little, she had many sensitivities. At one point, she couldn't eat dairy, soy, apricots, prunes, rice cereal, bananas, and nuts. She is now 2 years and 3 months old and has grown out of most everything. She can pretty much have all of that stuff, with the exception of drinking milk and eating nuts. We have just chosen to keep her away from nuts until she is three, just to be on the safe side. Try to hang in there for now. It is rough for awhile, but hopefully, if he is sensitive to anything he will grow out of it. Most little ones do.

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I breastfed my baby and learned that he was very sensitive (not allergic) to dairy (he spit up a lot and had stomach issues). I completely changed my diet to exclude dairy. We took him to a chiropractic pediatrician who referred us to another chiropractor who did food testing (applied kinesiology). We found out my son was sensitive to many other foods in my diet,too, like rice, soy, coffee, chocolate, etc. When my son was about 10 or 12 months I slowly starting putting things back in my diet, like rice, and when he didn't have any problems I knew he was not sensitive to it anymore. (I breastfed until 16 months.) We've taken it slow with dairy. I was told to wait until 18 months to introduce milk and other straight dairy foods. By the way- grain cereals don't have to be a baby's first food. We started with something easier to digest- we started with vegetable baby food. Now my son (17 months) has grown out of and has next to no food sensitivities. Maybe your son will do the same! Hope this helps.

Hi, I just wanted to suggest double checking the brand of cereal you are using. I seem to recall being surprised at what was mixed in to some of the brands of baby cereals. My daughter had some food sensitivities, so we were careful about what we introduced. I remember being shocked at some of the common allergens mixed into foods meant for young kids. Just a thought.

I am in the process of trying to figure out if my daughter has a rice allergy as well. She is allergic to soy and dairy protein. When we tried rice cereal she had the same reaction with it that she did with soy and dairy. Come to find out that all rice cereals are made with soy! Be sure to figure out if the allergy is really to rice or another ingredient in the cereal like soy. Soy is a much more common allergy than rice. Rice certainly could be the problem, but don't overlook the soy.

Lots of great advice. I would add that it's not too early to do food testing. The discomfort from the testing is far less than the months of trial-and-error agony. I found out about my first son's tree nut allergy the hard way (severe reaction - 911). My second son is allergic to eggs. I had him tested before I began introduced any foods so he didn't have to suffer for weeks while I figured it out. Also educate yourself as best you can about the difference between "allergy" and "sensitivity".
Good luck.

Hi H.,
We dealt with a rice allergy/sensitivity in my son for several years, beginning with my breast milk due to my rice consumption. His case was unlike your son's (no rash but other symptoms) and he is now 6 and can eat anything - including rice.

My advice to you: wait! He doesn't need rice right now (or anything but mama milk). If allergies are a concern and you think he'll go for it, wait until he is closer to one. As to the rice cereal it is our standard first food, but that practice developed because of formula-fed babies. It is an inferior first food for a little one on mama milk. You can get some fabulous first-food advice from your local La Leche League leader or from their website. I'm thinking avocado, egg yolk and the like. I wouldn't worry about allergies across the board though. My son's rice allergy was because we ate rice often and he needed more rotation in his diet. Good luck to you!
Peace,
Rachel

i wouldnt worry too much, just take it day by day and food by food. if you felt like you wanted to wait longer to introduce any solids, that is fine too, as solids arent nutritionally necessary until after a year anyway. you are doing an awesome thing by breastfeeding, that will help!

2 things i want to make sure i mention to you: first of all, if he is breaking out over rice, he might just have sensitivities... and you might WANT to wait a much longer time before feeding more solids. breastfeeding will help his intestines and body "heal up" as some children take a longer time before their bodies will take solid foods.

also, you may want to consider using an alternate vaccination schedule, if you are choosing to vaccinate. you may run into problems with this with clinics, i did, but robert sears has written a book that goes deep into vaccinations, and he gives an alternate schedule.. its great. i just hope your cliic will go for it, but you as a parent have every right to tell your clinic NO to a vaccine at a certain time.. so fight for it if you have to. its starting to sound like kids with intestinal issues end up having vaccination reactions as well.

again, nothing to scare you about, and i wouldnt worry about it, but dont feel pressured to do anything that you dont have to do, and solids isnt nutritionally necessary! :D good luck, allergies are so frustrating.

allergies and food sensitivities are funny things! My friend's son was initially allergic to rice, but his reaction was that he would have literally projectile vomitting. He is about 3 years old now and has outgrown it. Just keep an eye on it, but it's not unheard of to be allergic to rice. Good luck!

Hi H.,
I breastfed my son until almost 14 months and introduce rice cereal first at 5 1/2 months. He had real trouble with the rice cereal. He had mucous covered poops every time I feed it too him. (the mucous is produced to help his body pass the food) I tried Oatmeal and no problems, even after I introduce other fruits and veggies I went back to rice cereal and he would get so consipated. I gave up on rice cereal and stuck with oatmeal until after he was 1 and I gave him real rice and no problems since. I don't know if he had a sensiivity to the rice cereal and out grew it or what. But I am pregnant with my second child and I will not be introducing rice cereal first. I have read pears are also very easy on the digestive system.
I would go slow with introducing food, there is no rush, in case he has allergies. I do believe breastfed babies need to go slower with solids, since breastmilk is so gentle on the GI versus formula.
Also, I started veegies before fruit because some believe fruits are too sweet and need to learn to like savory since they are born liking sweet. For my son this did not work. He loved pureed veggies and I could hardly get him to eat pureed fruit then when we swtiched to table food, he would eat fruit and almost no veggies. So I think every kid is different.
Go with your gut, every mother really does your their baby best, follow your instincts..
M.

My daughter was allergic to rice cereal. She would have projectile vomiting about 2 hours after eating it, and keep on throwing everything up until her stomach was completely empty, and then she would be really pale and sleep for hours. We actually made a couple trips to the ER in the beginning, it was scary. The doctors kept telling me that rice was a low allergen food, and it got to the point where if I heard that one more time I was going to scream. It doesn't matter that "almost no one" is allergic to rice, MY baby was!! We also found out by trial and error that she would have the same reaction to the oat cereal, and bread (wheat). I went to 3 gastro docs, two allergists and a dietition trying to find out what was wrong and what i should do about it. One doctor told me to stay away from all grains for a few months. And that she may have Food Induced Protien En-something (FIPES). I hadn't introduced milk yet either since i was breastfeeding. So from the time she was about 7 months old (i think) to when she was about 14 months (i think) she ate NO grains at all and no milk. I breastfed her and fed her fruit and veggies and beans and chicken and hambuger. I did a 'milk trial' at the GI's office, when she didn't react to milk I started giving her that. By then my mothers intitution was telling me that she was over her grain 'allergies' so i started slowly introducing grains. Everything went fine and now she is a healthy 23 month old who eats everything! I breastfed until she was 16 months and I believe that is the best thing you can do for any baby, espically one with allergies. If I had to do it again, I would wait and not introduce her to any foods at all until about 8 or 9 months old (or even older if the doc says it is ok. in some contries they breastfeed exclusivly for a year! why is our culture so eager to have babies eating solids? i would talk that over with my doc if I were you), and even then just start with fruits and veggies. wow sorry this is so long, contact me if you have any more questions. I hope everything works out for you and your baby!!

What are you mixing in with the rice cereral? If it isn't breast milk, it could be the actual milk that he is having problems with.

Like Allison K pointed out, there's no need to introduce solids to your baby for many more months... so talk to you doctor about abstaining from any introducing any other foods other than breast milk (or formula) for as long as you can handle it. The 6-month age guideline for introducing solids is just a guideline, and your baby's digestive system might not be ready to handle any other foods even though most babies are ready at that age.

Since your baby has already shown signs of food sensitivity, postpone introduction of any foods long past the "recommended" ages, this is what I have read for avoiding food allergies in babies whose family has a history of it. Especially for high-allergen foods like eggs, nuts, strawberries, citrus... Good luck!

My daughter got a bit of a rash around her body as well, but after the second try she didn't. She also reacted badly when I ate dairy. Weird. Hopefully your second try is as good as my second try was.

My dd was allergic to rice also. When she was real little while adding food to her diet we were often surprised by what she reacted to but she's grown out of most her allergies. Now it's only eggs and peanuts. You're lucky you figured it out so early. it took us forever to think of rice since it's so basic and you'd think noone is allergic to it.
Over time keep trying the same food (including rice) and you might find he grows out of the allergies the allergies. also, it might be the particular brand of rice cereal that is bothering him so you might want to try a different one later on.

When my daughter was one month old, we had to begin thickening everything that went into her mouth, due to reflux. We decided to use rice cereal, because it was the cheapest and the easiest to use. Well, long story short, she developed a sensitivity to it. She never was truely allergic to it, but was unable to eat it without profuse vomiting and a terrible stomach ache. We were able to feed her oatmeal instead. Maybe try that... Along the lines of allergies, when she was little, she had many sensitivities. At one point, she couldn't eat dairy, soy, apricots, prunes, rice cereal, bananas, and nuts. She is now 2 years and 3 months old and has grown out of most everything. She can pretty much have all of that stuff, with the exception of drinking milk and eating nuts. We have just chosen to keep her away from nuts until she is three, just to be on the safe side. Try to hang in there for now. It is rough for awhile, but hopefully, if he is sensitive to anything he will grow out of it. Most little ones do.

The problem with introducing foods to babies is that their systems are so fragile. I actually don't believe that these symptoms are allergies as much as "reactions" to harsh foods.

Starting babies on whole fruits and vegetables will always be a better choice than processed cereals (even whole grain cereal is processed).

Feeding them with a spoon is not going to be as healthy as letting them feed themselves. Once they are able to put food in their mouths, cut up fruits and soft vegetables makes sense.

You may find that your child reacts less to other foods as his digestive system gets introduced to, and accustomed to, new foods. Even reactions to dairy will typically abate as a child grows.

I advise moms to resist the temptation to label reactions "allergies". These labels can impose diet restrictions for a lifetime that may never have been necessary for longer than a few months.

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