Parents who feed solid food or cow’s milk to their babies before the age of four months could reduce their infant’s risk of developing peanut allergies. According to researchers, introducing solid foods early in a baby’s life could stimulate the immune system. In particular, the study looked at babies with a family history of food allergies. When they were started on solid foods by the age of four months, they were about five times less likely to develop a sensitivity to peanuts.
This research seems to contradict the conventional wisdom that babies should only receive breastmilk for the first six months of their life. The study, which was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, was conducted on 594 children. Interviews about feeding practices were compared with blood tests for peanut, egg, and milk antibodies.
The research showed that “The risk of sensitivity was lower among children whose parents had allergies or asthma, if they had been started on solid food or cow’s milk before the age of four months.” Among children who did not have a family history of allergies, the results were mixed.
There has long been controversy over the best approach to lower children’s risk of developing food allergies. This new research will add to the debate. Christine Joseph, the lead researcher and an epidemiologist at the Henry Ford Health System, said the study did not prove that early introduction of solid foods could prevent peanut allergies. More research must be done to examine the possible connection. Still, she says, “Intuitively, it does seem like the opposite of what you’d expect.”
Read more about the study here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1384020/Starting-solid-foods-B…