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Introduce Complementary Foods Earlier to Prevent Allergy: Paediatricians

Infants at high risk for developing a food allergy have either an atopic condition (such as eczema) themselves or an immediate family member with such a condition. Breastfeeding should be promoted and supported regardless of issues pertaining to food allergy prevention, but for infants whose mothers cannot or choose not to breastfeed, using a specific formula (i.e., hydrolyzed formula) is not recommended to prevent food allergies. When cow’s milk protein formula has been introduced in an infant’s diet, make sure that regular ingestion (as little as 10 mL daily) is maintained to prevent loss of tolerance. For high-risk infants, there is compelling evidence that introducing allergenic foods early—at around 6 months, but not before 4 months of age—can prevent common food allergies, and allergies to peanut and egg in particular. Once an allergenic food has been introduced, regular ingestion (e.g., a few times a week) is important to maintain tolerance. Common allergenic foods can be introduced without pausing for days between new foods, and the risk for a severe reaction at first exposure in infancy is extremely low. Pre-emptive in-office screening before introducing allergenic foods is not recommended. No recommendations can be made at this time about the role of maternal dietary modification during pregnancy or lactation, or about supplementing with vitamin D, omega 3, or pre- or probiotics as means to prevent food allergy.

 

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