Allergy Prevention during Pregnancy
First, we wish you a safe delivery & would like to advise you that it is best to breastfeed your baby exclusively for the first six months of life in order to protect him from any risk of allergy. In general, a third of children worldwide are at risk of developing an allergy, but rest assured that this risk can be reduced.
If you or your spouse have allergies on either side of the family, it is important to discuss this with your paediatrician before you introduce any foods (around 4-6 months) or milk to your baby other than breast milk. Your paediatrician can guide you on the best nutritional combination in order to help prevent any allergies your baby might be prone to getting.
Allergy Prevention through Breastfeeding (0-6 months)
If you have a family history of allergies, we encourage you to continue breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of life as this may reduce your baby’s risk of developing allergies. Breast milk has antibodies and Omega-3 fatty acids which play an important role in the development of an infant’s immune system. It also contains prebiotics (fibre) to promote the balance of beneficial bacteria in the baby’s gut which are essential for a healthy immune system and help prevent allergies from developing.
We advise you to monitor your baby carefully for any reactions after feeding especially if you are consuming foods such as dairy products (i.e. milk, yogurt or cheese) or any other foods that make you uncomfortable. Ask your doctor about types of food you might need to avoid while breastfeeding to make sure your baby is comfortable after feeding.
There are some common signs of allergy that may appear. If your baby is sensitive to any of the foods you had eaten, this may be visible immediately after or even several hours after breast feeding. Symptoms such as severe colic, abdominal discomfort, a skin rash such as hives, vomiting, or severe diarrhea are all signs to look out for and should be confirmed with the doctor.
If your baby shows any signs of allergy, we advise you to contact your pediatrician right away for proper treatment. It would be helpful to keep a diary of the foods you eat along with a record of your baby’s symptoms. This could be a good way to determine which foods your baby may be sensitive to.
Finally, whether your baby shows symptoms or not during exclusive breast feeding, it is important that you ask your pediatrician for advice before you introduce any foods other than breast milk to help prevent your child from any allergies.
Allergy Prevention while Weaning (6+ months)
If you or your spouse have a history of allergy, we suggest for you to avoid introducing dairy products (i.e. Yogurt, cheese or cow’s milk) to your baby when he starts weaning at 6 months. In order to avoid foods that contain cow’s milk products, it is necessary to read food labels very carefully.
To compensate, your baby would need to eat non-dairy food sources rich in Calcium and Vitamin D such as leafy greens vegetables like spinach & broccoli , egg yolk, Calcium & Vitamin D fortified cereals, rice, and exposure to natural sunlight in the morning when the sun is not too strong.
And as for you, since you are breastfeeding, breastfeeding is still the best source of nutrition for your baby, so you may want to eliminate dairy foods from your diet because the milk protein that’s causing the allergic reaction can cross through your breast milk to your baby. Also you may want to consume foods rich in Calcium and Vitamin D such as dark leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, turnip greens, broccoli, almonds, canned fish (sardines with bones), orange juice, cod liver oil, mackerel, tuna, salmon, Vitamin D fortified food and exposure to sunlight when the sun is not too strong.
Always consult and follow up with your health care professional for regular advice.
We are also here to answer any questions you might have. Contact our Apta-Advice careline for more information via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or via WhatsApp on +971 4 420 9489