Breastfeeding Protects Against Food Allergies: An Important Question in Simple Words
Description: Does your baby have symptoms that look like baby food allergy hives? Are you interested in finding out if, in fact, breastfeeding protects your baby against food allergies, both in the long- and short-terms after all?
In such cases, the best you can do is stay informed, read about cool baby stuff, and, should you need to, treat your baby’s allergies with the appropriate products. This way, you’ll be sure that your baby will be happy and thriving, no matter what.
Read this article to find out!
An article by the British newspaper Daily Mail has recently brought to attention the correlation between breastfeeding and the incidence of food allergies in children up to the age of five.
Now, although the article was exemplary, the research itself was not as clear cut, and as such leaves a lot of room for discussion.
In fact, there is evidence that suggests quite the opposite, meaning that breast milk can, indeed, help prevent the incidence of food allergy in breastfed babies.
So, for the sake of a healthy argument, and to further your education on the subject by proposing an alternative point of view, we have compiled evidence on the benefits of breastfeeding.
What the Research Got Wrong
The study covered by the Daily Mail was conducted in Okayama University, Japan, and interviewed several mothers, asking whether they fed their babies by:
- Exclusively Breastfeeding;
- Breastfeeding while supplementing their babies’ diets with other foods or
- Never breastfeeding.
Armed with this data, the researchers then inquired on the frequency with which the babies needed to go to the hospital, up to the age of 5.5 years old, when presenting signs of food allergies. The aforementioned signs generally include, but are not limited to, baby food allergy hives; baby food allergy rash face; baby food allergy rash on belly; baby red cheeks food allergy, and more.
Using this information, the researchers arrived to the conclusion that breastfed babies had a 50% higher chance of developing food allergies than babies that never breastfed.
Researchers then looked into whether an “eczema food allergy baby” could potentially be more prone to food allergies in the future.
What they found was that there was a higher risk in breastfeeding babies for developing a food allergy (without presenting eczema), and a decreased risk (that is a factor of protection) for developing allergy with the particular food substance examined in each case.
By taking a full look at the results, and combining it with the fact that a mother’s diet has a great influence on the research’s outcome, it soon becomes clear that the study’s results are not entirely reliable.
The Case for Breast Milk
According to Dr Michiko Oyoshi, PhD, of Boston Children’s Division of Allergy and Immunology, there is a series of benefits associated with breastfeeding:
- Pregnant mice mothers that have consumed allergenic foods like peanuts were able to transfer antibodies to their offspring, increasing their tolerance.
- This transfer appears to happen even when the rats are not of the same lineage, and baby rats can receive this tolerance from milk that is not their mother’s.
- Even when the rat mothers had not consumed any allergenic food, they were still able to protect their offspring by receiving food-specific antibodies from each other.
- There also seems to be long-lasting effects from breastfeeding, as the rats remained food allergy-free even after the milk had long been excreted from their bodies.
Human Testing & Baby Food Allergy Hives Consideration
Despite the apologetic tone of this article, you should keep in mind that the science on this subject is not set.
There is evidence that supports the benefits listed above, and the consensus is that breastfeeding your baby is a good idea.
This is why Dr Oyoshi’s team has already begun to conduct human trials by collecting milk from mothers who are actively breastfeeding, and taking various measurements of factors associated with immunity. They will also likely note the presence of any allergy symptoms, including baby food allergy hives.
The scientists will then compare the milk from mothers of children with a high risk of food allergy to the milk of those whose children have lower risk of food allergies.
The level of risk will be determined by whether the child has allergic siblings, or present eczema – much like in the study conducted by the researchers of Okayama University.
Until the results of this newest study are out, we cannot say for sure what the scientific consensus is. However, I can only point out the evidence at hand that supports the theory that breastfeeding can, indeed, protect against food allergies.
Keeping your child free of allergies and able to enjoy the many culinary pleasures of life without having to fear for their health is serious business.
Scientific experts all agree that breastfeeding plays a central role in this objective; they only disagree when it comes to whether its influence is positive or negative.
As parents and caretakers, what we can do is keep ourselves informed on the different points of view and do our best to discern those that appear to be the most accurate.
It is also very important to keep in mind that if your baby is already experiencing baby food allergy symptoms, it’s not your fault either way.
Sound off in the comments: do you know the signs of food allergy in breastfed babies, or how to tell what baby food allergy hives look like? Have you done a baby food allergy test? If so, what did the test results show?
About the author
Rachel Burns is an experienced copywriter and photographer with a design diploma. She works with startups, entrepreneurs, bloggers and companies from around the world. In addition to writing articles and promotional materials, she enjoys hiking, reading, cooking and spending time with her family.
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