Can Breastfeeding Prevent Allergies?

The merits of breastfeeding a child have long been a cause for discussion.  These discussions ranging from the scientific knowledge that breast milk provides the necessary anti-bodies to help the baby fight off infections, to the old wives tales that claim a mother cannot become pregnant whilst supplying another child with milk.  The truth is that breastfeeding has been proven to be highly beneficial to a newborn; it can even help to prevent a child from developing allergies.  Studies have shown that babies who are breastfeed are less likely to suffer from:

  • Eczema (found on babies around the joints, on the scalp and chest region)
  • Ear infections
  •  Diarrhoea
  • Colic
  • Asthma

The breast milk provides the child with the necessary combination of carbohydrates, fats and proteins a baby needs to help growth and good health.  It is this mixture that bolsters a child’s immune system and in the long term has proven to reduce the chances of a child suffering from diabetes, high cholesterol level and high blood pressure.  It is also said to aid the bond between mother and child, and it has been suggested it is linked to intelligence.  Studies by scientists have shown that breast fed babies tend to have a higher I.Q than non-breast fed babies.

Mothers who suffer from allergies should be made aware that it is possible to pass an allergy on to a child.  This can be tricky if the mother is allergic to milk, however it is still possible to breast feed and not cause the child discomfort.  It is advised to consult with your doctor as to what foods to eat or not to eat during pregnancy as some proteins will exacerbate the allergy symptoms.   As the ultimate precaution it has been suggested that a mother avoid eating any food that is known to be allergenic although this is only recommended to those mother’s who themselves suffer badly from allergies.  If this is the case make certain that a doctor is consulted so that a diet can be regulated to safeguard the health of the baby and ensure it gets all its required nutrition.