Preventing babies from developing food allergies

March 2017

In order to reduce the likelihood of your baby developing food allergies, especially those with a strong family history of food allergies, here are a few simple measures to follow, in particular in families predisposed to allergies.

Breastfeeding

  • It is well documented that breastfeeding remains an important basis for reducing the risk of your child developing allergies.
  • It is well known that breastfeeding delays the onset of atopic eczema and limits its severity
  • If your baby is breast-fed the risk of it developing asthma is reduced when compared to formula milk.
  • Where possible all mothers are encouraged to breastfeed, however, for what ever reason it is not always possible or achievable and mothers should not feel guilty if unable to succeed.
  • Breast-milk is the ideal food for an atopic baby, because it does not contain any allergic substances often present in cow's milk.
  • Ideally, breastfeeding is recommended at least up to the age of six months , particularly so, if there is a history of allergies in the family.



In the event that a breast-fed baby shows signs of a widespread atopic eczema - seek advice from your GP in case further specialist advice is required.


Which milk to choose?



There are several types of milk :
  • Hypo-allergenic milk closely resembling traditional milk . These types of milk are called partially hydrolysed milk.
  • Diet milks, prescribed for infants who present an allergy to various proteins present in cow's milk are fully hydrolysed milk.
  • Special milk prepared uniquely from amino-acids is only prescribed in exceptional circumstances.


The department of health and the British Dietetic Association do not recommend formula containing soya for the first 6 months.


Further testing, evaluation of the mothers diet maybe necessary if your child is suffering from eczema and is breast fed..


Foods


Do not wean your child onto solids until 6 months old. Weaning must be gradual, from 6 months and even later for more allergenic foods: such as cow's milk, eggs, groundnuts, fish, mustard, oilseeds (pea, lentilles, soya.)
  • Recent studies indicate that it might be possible to introduce eggs and fish earlier than one year, around 9-10 months, which has not been recommended up to now. If your baby has allergic symptoms or if there is family history of food allergy, seek advice from your GP.
  • Avoid kiwi and celery before year 1
  • You can give cooked vegetables and fruit compotes from the age of six months,
  • Wait a few months more before giving garden peas, celery, tomato and banana.
  • Introduce your baby to only one new food at a time and wait a further five days before adding a new one
  • Choose 'home-made' foods over commercial baby foods, where the composition is not always so clear.
  • Avoid baby food which contains mixed or exotic fruits (kiwi, mango, papaya)
  • Give cooked fruits and vegetables
  • Don't give any nuts before the age of six this is both prevention of allergy and reducing the risk of hazard.

Related


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