Expert opinion: Are breastfed babies less likely to develop allergies?

Expert opinion: Are breastfed babies less likely to develop allergies?

Is it true that breastfed babies are less prone to allergies? What can breastfeeding mums do to prevent allergies in their little ones? Get tips on these topics from our expert, Dr Low Kah Tzay.

breastfeeding and food allergies

Breastfeeding and food allergies: Are breastfed babies prone to food allergies?

Many mothers today are aware of the numerous benefits of breastfeeding their baby. Apart from giving their babies the best, all-natural source of “food” during the first year, breastfeeding allows both mum and baby to bond in an indescribable way.

breastfeeding and food allergies

Is it necessary to stop breastfeeding if your baby develops symptoms of allergies?

Although babies who are breastfed are least likely to develop food allergies during their childhood, it doesn’t mean that they are free from them either.

Allergies in breastfed babies may still occur if there is a family history of allergy. The best course of action to take is to detect the food that may be causing this, and eliminate it from the breastfeeding mum’s diet. Ideally, this should be done with medical supervision, to ensure that the nursing mother continues to have her daily dietary requirements without compromising on nutritional intake for both.

To investigate further on the issue of breastfeeding and childhood allergies, we spoke to Dr Low Kah Tzay, Paediatric Doctor at Anson International Paediatric & Child Development Clinic, Paragon Medical Centre.

Check out Dr Low’s replies below to some of the questions related to this topic that our readers have sent in.

Q: I’m exclusively breastfeeding my baby, and of late, she’s developed eczema on her cheek. Is this due to my food intake? If so, what foods should I avoid so that it does aggravate her skin condition?

A: Eczema is a non-contagious, inflammatory skin condition that is characterised by itching, redness and scaly rashes. These symptoms can be painful, and may cause skin colouring changes and blisters.

breastfeeding and food allergies

A baby who develops allergic symptoms tend to be fussy and irritated.

Symptoms of eczema often appear on the arms, legs, hands and face. The itch associated with eczema can be severe, often interrupting sleep. Scratching of the skin may lead to an infection.

Eczema most commonly presents before the age of 5, but adolescents and adults can also develop this condition. Children born into families with a history of allergic diseases such as asthma or hay fever are at an increased risk of developing eczema.

The baby’s rash may not be related to mother’s food intake. Mum can keep a food diary for herself and observe if baby’s rash worsens with any particular food she ingests.


breastfeeding and food allergies

Some kids may outgrow their food allergies, while for others, allergies can stay with them even in their teenage years.

Q: Do babies/kids outgrow their allergies at certain point or is it for life?

A: Some children do outgrow their food allergies. Examples of this are allergies towards cow’s milk, soy, wheat or egg.

However, some food allergies in adulthood may persist such as those involving shell fish and peanuts.

Parents should discuss with their doctor for specific advice on individual food allergies and how to re-introduce these foods when their child is older.

breastfeeding and food allergies

Keep a close watch for reactions towards certain foods – make sure to offer 1 food item at a time when weaning.

Q: What’s a good way to find out what our kids are allergic to? Should we go through trial and error or extensive medical testing?

A: When a baby turns 6 months and is ready to wean, it is recommended to introduce one food item at a time and observe for any allergic response.

We hope that Dr Low’s tips and advice have helped to ease your doubts when it comes to breastfeeding and  allergies in kids. 

Be sure to watch the video below, and do look out for our next ‘Ask the Expert’ series on theAsianparent!

food allergies

Nestlé Start Healthy Stay Healthy™ helps mothers nurture happy, healthy babies, one baby at a time.

The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the editor, publisher or sponsor. Any liability of obligation for loss or damage howsoever arising is hereby disclaimed.


Got a parenting concern? Read articles or ask away and get instant answers on our app. Download theAsianparent Community on iOS or Android now!

Written by

Justina Goh

app info
get app banner