Breastfeeding May Keep Babies from Inheriting Food Allergies

Does your family have a history of food allergies? If so, think about breastfeeding your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that breastfeeding can delay or prevent asthma, food allergies, or eczema.

Studies show that babies in families with a strong history of food allergies do better if they’re breastfed. Babies who were breastfed exclusively for six months were less likely to get food allergies. If they got food allergies, they were less severe.

Studies also show that breastfeeding an infant exclusively or combining breastfeeding with formula reduces the risk for eczema. This problem causes dry, red, and irritated skin.  

It still isn’t known if avoiding certain foods during pregnancy and while breastfeeding can help prevent allergies and asthma. Some women don’t eat peanut butter, fish, and eggs. But if you or a family member has a severe food allergy, research suggests that you limit your intake of that food during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.  

If you’re worried about your child’s risk for allergies or asthma, talk with your healthcare provider. He or she can give you advice on how to eat during pregnancy.



Online Medical Reviewer: Bowers, Nancy, RN, BSN, MPHFoley, Maryann, RN, BSN

Date Last Reviewed: 4/12/2016

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