Protect Your Baby from Food Allergies

If an allergy-based condition of any kind runs in your family—be it hay fever, eczema, or asthma—your baby has an above-average chance of developing one.

But the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) believes you can take steps to help prevent food allergies. After reviewing studies, the AAP found evidence to support these strategies:

  • Breast-feed your baby if possible. Breast-feeding exclusively for at least three months can reduce the chance of developing asthma or eczema in babies with a family history of these conditions. When breast-feeding is not an option, try a hydrolyzed formula as a substitute over cow’s milk and soy formulas.

  • Introduce nuts early. If your baby has a high risk of developing a peanut allergy, feeding him or her peanut-containing foods regularly could prevent it. Children may be fed peanut-containing foods as young as 4 to 6 months of age.

Talk with your doctor to see whether these strategies may help your child.

Why are food allergies rising? One theory points to our obsession with germs.

When children are raised in very clean environments, they aren’t exposed to germs that help train their immune systems to tell the difference between harmful and harmless substances. Although this theory is supported by some studies, other research suggests the increase of allergies may be the result of a few different factors.

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