Really? Surely there is something wrong with this headline…but apparently not, because a recent study appears to have found some evidence that breastfeeding alone for the first six months could mean higher risk of allergies.
It seems your damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Mothers these days have to wade through torrents of conflicting advice and research about the best way to raise a child.
Breastfeeding is best – NICE guidelines encourage breastfeeding, at least for the first six months because this helps build the babies immunity better than bottled milk.
So I was interested to hear of a recent Australian study from ‘The Journal of Pediatrics’ which heralds the findings, “Breastfeeding can mean more likelihood of allergies”.
Which do we believe? If you have a history of atopy or allergies in your family and are worried about your child having allergies, what is the right thing to do?
I know there are similar studies going on in the UK right now so I look forward to hearing the results of this.
Should kids be weaned as early as possible?
Or should parents wait to introduce allergens till two years old?
What order should allergenic foods be introduced?
I don’t have children myself but with multiple allergies and a husband with anaphyalaxis to shell fish there is a strong likelihood that any children we might would be at a fairly high risk of getting them. I have chatted to many mums, and even without the worry of allergies it’s a confusing time. Everyone throws advice at you, much of it conflicting but every child is unique so I think you just have to weigh up all the information and try the best you can for you and your baby.
Mothers of allergic children often feel that they are in some way at fault. That something they did may have caused their child to have allergies. My own mother craved peanuts when she was pregnant with me and also with my brother. I have anaphylaxis to peanuts yet my brother loves them. She has often wondered whether not snacking on nuts whilst pregnant might have saved me having so many allergies, but in particular the first one we discovered to peanuts. There have been studies that have proven that there may be a link and also that there probably isn’t one.
She used to drive me crazy, after I’d had an anaphylactic attack and before the days of EpiPens, she would sit by my bed waking me up whenever the rattling asthmatic breath began to slow or stop! I used to shout at her to just leave me to sleep, but even then, without any advice or knowledge about what was going on she was terrified I might not wake up and had no way of doing anything to help. She felt powerless. She still worries about me.
It really is a confusing issue. The study seems to suggest that children who were given food as well as breastmilk before six months were less likely to get allergies. Children can develop allergies even if there is no known history of allergies in the parents. What is a mother to do?
I’m sharing this because I read the research and was confused. Any mothers of allergic kids reading this. What do you think?