Breast Feeding May Decrease Painful Childhood Allergies

10/20/2011

Baby allergies photo
Human breast milk is, by virtue of evolution, perfectly suited for humans. Babies were born to be breast fed. Breast milk has over 200 components needed for early life and kids that are breast fed are much less likely to be obese later on and more likely to have higher IQs. 

With infant and childhood allergies becoming more of an issue, researchers are now linking breast feeding to a reduction in childhood allergies. Science Daily reports: 

According to Prof. Halken, PAAM 2011 Chair "there are some hypotheses suggesting that specific lifestyle and nutritional patterns may lead to early symptoms of allergy. For example, breastfeeding for the first 4-6 months has been showed to reduce the risk for atopic eczema and cow's milk protein allergy."

But he’s certainly not the first to make such a diagnosis. The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy says that when possible, try and breast feed your baby for at least 60 months to avoid gastrointestinal issues, which can lead to childhood allergies down the line. 

Baby Eczema

Baby eczema can be a rather frightening sight. Red, crusty, and almost blistering patches show up on a baby’s skin, often within months of birth. But though the allergy may look pretty painful, it’s a rather common and treatable disorder. It appears in between 10 and 15 percent of babies. 

Cow's Milk Protein Allergies  

And as you might expect, cow’s milk protein allergies are an allergic reaction to cow’s milk. Babies that are fussy constantly, may be allergic to cow’s milk and cow’s milk is the basis for most commercial baby formulas. About 2 to 3 percent of babies are born with a milk allergy and many later outgrow them. 

Again, Science Daily:

The expression of allergic disease may vary with age, and some symptoms may disappear being replaced by other symptoms. As Prof. Halken says, "infants typically experience atopic dermatitis, gastrointestinal symptoms and recurrent wheezing, whereas bronchial asthma and allergic rhinoconjunctivitis are the main allergic symptoms in childhood." 

Breast feeding is beneficial for the baby because breast fed babies, in addition to allergies, are less likely to be plagued with ear infections, gas, constipation, asthma, obesity, and high blood pressure later in life. For some of us, it's just not an option, but for those that can, breast is best for a reason.

Photo: Digital Vision/Thinkstock

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More on Breastfeeding
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Top 5 Ways to Survive the First Weeks of Green Parenting (with Sanity Intact) 
Go Green Baby! Save Green Mommy! 


Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on SereneKitchen.com. She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.


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