Research published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine indicates that a mother's diet can protect nursing newborns against food allergies. Conducted by researchers at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, the study offers an explanation for how breastfeeding can promote tolerance to the foods that most often cause allergies. In mice, milk from mothers exposed to egg protein gave protection against egg allergy not only to the mothers' own offspring, but also to fostered newborns whose birth mothers had not received egg. Newborns gained an insignificant degree of protection from mothers who were exposed to egg during pregnancy but did not breastfeed them. The protective effect was strongest when the newborns were born to and nursed by mothers who were exposed to egg before and during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The study's findings are consistent with new dietary recommendations for pregnant and nursing mothers.
Breastfeeding may not prevent allergies
Effects of Breast Feeding, Pumping and Formula on Food Allergy
Skip to content. If you have been told that your breastfed infant has food allergies, you may be wondering what to do next. Will you be able to continue to breastfeed? You may be surprised to learn that in most cases, the answer is yes.
Is There a Link Between Allergies and Breastfeeding?
Newborns gained an insignificant degree of protection from mothers who were exposed to egg during pregnancy but did not breastfeed them. The protective effect was strongest when the newborns were born to and nursed by mothers who were exposed to egg before and during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers were sometimes cautioned against consuming foods that commonly cause allergy, such as milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish.
They concluded that there was not enough evidence to support this early introduction, reinforcing current recommendations to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months and to only introduce solids around 6 months of age. This study sought to determine whether feeding infants with hydrolysed formula reduces their risk of allergic or autoimmune disease. The findings do not support current guidelines that recommend the use of hydrolysed formula to prevent allergic or autoimmune disease in high risk infants.