Introduction of complementary foods and the relationship to food allergy

Highlights: This observational study found that starting complementary foods prior to 17 weeks was associated with development of food allergy. Infants that were breastfed during introduction of cow’s milk had a lower rate of food allergy compared to infants that were not breastfed when cow’s milk was introduced. These results support the current recommendations for introducing solids at 4 – 6 months (US) and 6 months (Canada) with continued breastfeeding.

Application to Dietetic Practice: Continued breastfeeding during weaning, may improve tolerance. When discussing this issue with clients, “may” is more appropriate than “will”. Since this is an observation study, the findings suggest a potential relationship, but do not prove breastfeeding improves tolerance. The effect of breastfeeding on the infant’s immune system is very complicated, and research on this topic is conflicting.

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Posted in: Winter2014-Research