Food allergies can be devastating; one minute your child is eating and the next he or she seems to be fighting for his or her life. This is why many parents (and prospective parents) are wondering whether there are any measures that can prevent children from becoming allergic to food. Here are four such measures that may help:
Practice Exclusive Breastfeeding
It seems that exclusive breastfeeding for the first few months of life may help to prevent allergy. Whereas infant feeding recommendations suggest six months of exclusive breastfeeding, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests four to six weeks of exclusive breastfeeding. After that, you can introduce other types of food but continue with breastfeeding even once the baby starts taking other forms of food.
Delay Solid Food Feeding
There is also some evidence that the timing of the introduction of solid foods determines whether your baby becomes allergic to certain foods. Introducing solid foods to young babies increases their likelihood of becoming allergic to food. Therefore, you should delay the introduction of solid foods until the baby is at least 17 weeks may help to reduce the risk of allergy.
Introduce Risky Foods Early
Many parents delay giving their children foods that are usually associated with allergy. According to Today's Dietitian, eight foods (soy, wheat, eggs, fish, tree nuts, peanut, crustacean shellfish, milk) are responsible for 90% of food allergies in the United States.
You might think that you are helping your child by not giving him or her these foods early, but the opposite is true. Recent research seem to show that early introduction of these foods may lower incidences of food allergy. What is more, there is no evidence that delayed introduction of these foods prevents food allergy.
Give the Child Varieties of Foods
If you are giving your child the same food over and over again, then there is a risk that his or her body may turn on the food-antibody response. Such a response may form the basis for allergic reactions to the food. Therefore, it's wise to feed your baby different varieties of food.
As you may suspect, research on prevention of allergies is ongoing. Things change a lot, and what may seem like gospel truth this year may be debunked next year. That's why it's essential to consult the professionals, such as your child's pediatrician and allergist, regularly. They are likely to have access to more current information than you. Visit Asthma and Allergy Clinic for more information.Share