Breastfeeding Best Bet Against Baby Allergies

Parents might consider breastfeeding babies with family histories of allergies. It could delay or prevent asthma, food allergies, or the skin condition eczema.

That’s the current guideline from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which made the suggestion after a review of studies on diet, allergies, and infants. The review confirmed that at least four months of breastfeeding will protect high-risk babies from wheezing, atopic dermatitis, and a cow’s milk allergy. Hypoallergenic formulas without cow’s milk can work as a substitute for breast milk. High risk babies are defined as those with parents or siblings with allergic conditions.

Researchers couldn’t confirm that avoiding problem foods, such as peanut butter, fish, and eggs, during pregnancy or while breastfeeding prevented allergies. There also was no proof for waiting until after age 4 or 6 months to give babies certain foods. But the AAP still recommends delaying the introduction of solid foods until infants are at least 4 months of age.

Online Medical Reviewer: Jovino, Louise DO

Date Last Reviewed: 4/2/2010

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