Breast-feeding helps prevent babies' allergies, but there's no good evidence for avoiding certain foods during pregnancy, using soy formula or delaying introduction of solid foods beyond six months. That's the word from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which is updating earlier suggestions that may have made some parents feel like they weren't doing enough to prevent food allergies, asthma and allergic rashes. In August 2000, the doctors group advised mothers of infants with a family history of allergies to avoid cow's milk, eggs, fish, peanuts and tree nuts while breast-feeding.
The new guidance report for pediatricians, published in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics, goes against earlier advice about restricting certain foods from moms' and babies' diets. In the journal's opinion, the only surefire advice remaining is to breast-feed. The report says:
-There is no convincing evidence that women who avoid peanuts or other foods during pregnancy or breast-feeding lower their child's risk of allergies.
-For infants with a family history of allergies, exclusive breast-feeding for at least four months can lessen the risk of rashes and allergy to cow's milk.
-Exclusive breast-feeding for at least three months protects against wheezing in babies, but whether it prevents asthma in older children is unclear.
-There is modest evidence for feeding hypoallergenic formulas to susceptible babies if they are not solely breast-fed.
-There is no good evidence that soy-based formulas prevent allergies.
-There is no convincing evidence that delaying the introduction of foods such as eggs, fish or peanut butter to children prevents allergies.
-Babies should not get solid food before 4 to 6 months of age, however.
Bonnie - I would certainly follow the advice of the American Academy of Allergists, which has not changed its stance. Pediatricians, who were on the same page with allergists, are not allergy experts, nor are they experts in foods and nutrition. The average Pediatrician has had only one course in Nutrition (and probably outdated) in medical school.
This findings are surprising given the fact that food allergies and food intolerances have been on the rise for the last few decades.