Breastfeeding your baby lessens the chance of them becoming sensitized to allergens. Breastfeeding protects against allergies in two ways. First, since your baby is breastfed, he or she is exposed to fewer allergens in the first months of life. They are only given breast milk instead of formula-based cow’s milk or soy products.
The chances of a baby developing an allergen are tied to the earlier, and more often, a food is ingested. The foods a baby is offered first tend to be the foods they become most allergic to. Babies also rely heavily on the antibodies found in breast milk to help their immune systems mature.
According to La Leche League International, a baby’s tendency to develop allergies relies on family history. If allergies are present in the mother or father, avoid those foods. Gastrointestinal symptoms are most commonly associated with allergies. If you notice your baby is irritable or fussy and has diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, gas, colic or other gastrointestinal system issues, it could be allergy related. Moms, try keeping a journal of the foods you eat and compare to when your baby shows the listed symptoms. In extreme allergy cases, the baby will show signs immediately, but symptoms usually begin within four to 24 hours of exposure.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions or experience dealing with allergies with your baby. Join us for the Breastfeeding Community Gathering every Thursday from 11 a.m. to noon in the Shannon Women’s & Children’s Center family room (3rd floor), 201 E. Beauregard.