Breastfeeding and Childhood Allergies: What's the Link?

Breastfeeding and Childhood Allergies: What's the Link?

An interesting study on mice and their babies reveals how closely breastfeeding and childhood allergies are related to each other.

Mums, we all know about the marvellous benefits of breastmilk.

Some of these include breastmilk's incredible protective abilities via the antibodies it contains, and the wonderful bonding it promotes between mum and bub. 

Did you also know that there is a link between breastfeeding and childhood allergies? A study suggests that if pregnant mums consume commonly-allergenic foods like peanuts, it can protect their babies against related food allergies.

One mummy had a hunch this might be true. 

Suzanne is a stay-at-home mum to her gorgeous two-year-old daughter, Michelle. During her pregnancy, she avoided allergenic foods like peanuts and eggs, even though she was not allergic to them.  However, she recently noticed that her little one got irritable every time she put a peanut in her mouth, suggesting sensitivity to peanuts.

There’s no certainty that her daughter developed an allergy to peanuts because Suzanne avoided it during pregnancy. However, after reading about the results of this experiment, she feels that perhaps breastfeeding and childhood allergies are strongly connected when it comes to food tolerance.

The study: The link between breastfeeding and childhood allergies

A study suggests that new mums could keep food allergies away from their babies if they consume peanuts when nursing.

Researchers in Canada found that children who were exposed to nuts before the age of one year, either through breast milk or otherwise were five times less likely to have related food allergies.

Breastfeeding and Childhood Allergies: What's the Link?

An expert’s opinion:

Dr Tracy Pitt is the lead author of the Humber River Hospital in Ontario.

She says: “We found that introduction of peanut before 12 months of age was associated with a reduced risk of peanut sensitization by school age, particularly among children whose mothers consumed peanuts while breastfeeding.

Both passive peanut exposure through breast milk and peanut introduction in the first year of life may decrease peanut sensitization at age seven."

She further explains that early peanut consumption during infancy helps in reducing the risk of related food allergies later in childhood. Dr Pitt also confirms that the risk of peanut allergies can be further reduced if lactating mums consume peanuts.

The recent study followed up 342 children from birth till they turned seven-years-old. Children who were introduced to peanuts through breast milk as well as fed with them before the age of 12 months showed less risk of allergies.

Breastfeeding and the early introduction of nuts was beneficial for youngsters based on this new study.

Source: The Telegraph

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Written by

Prutha Soman

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