Researchers at the Australian National University recently discovered that children who are exclusively breastfed for their first 6 months have higher rates of nut allergies.

The study, published in theInternational Journal of Pediatrics,involved a survey filled out by parents whose children had recently begun kindergarten. The ACT Kindergarten Health Check Questionnaire included questions about the child’s feeding habits during their first year of life and whether their child had been diagnosed with a nut allergy.

Breastfeeding Could Cause Higher Rates of Nut Allergies

The researchers found that children who were breastfed for the first 6 months had a 1.5 times higher likelihood of developing nut allergies. They also discovered that nut allergy rates were rising among children who were breastfed and among those who were not, suggesting the existence of other causes.

Study author Marjan Kljakovic commented “Our results contribute to the argument that breast feeding alone does not appear to be protective against nut allergy in children – it may, in fact, be causative of allergy.” He continued, “Despite breast feeding being recommended as the sole source of nutrition in the first six months of life, an increasing number of studies have implicated breast feeding as a cause of the increasing trend in nut allergy. Peanut allergy accounts for two-thirds of all fatal food-induced allergic reactions. It is important for us to understand how feeding practices might be playing a part.”

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