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January 8, 2008

New Policy Statement for Infants and Children at Risk for Food Allergies

“A new report by a leading group of US pediatricians suggests that food allergies, asthma, eczema, and other atopic diseases may be delayed or prevented in high risk babies if they are breastfed for at least four months…The report comprises a new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and is published in the January 2008 issue of the journal Pediatrics.”

One of the authors is Dr. Scott H. Sicherer, associate professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York. He is also on the board of FAAN http://www.foodallergy.org and highly respected in the allergy community.

“The report suggests…there is insufficient evidence to support delaying the introduction of allergy related foods from the diets of high risk children. And there is insufficient evidence to support pregnant or nursing mothers restricting their diets in order to prevent their high risk child from getting an atopic disease. Both of these practices were recommended in the old policy statement of the AAP.”

When my third child was born, we had already lived the allergy life for a couple of years with my first born. Heck, I even had a second child that didn't have a single food allergy! I thought we were so on top of things and somehow in control of our child's destiny! I was determined to do everything in my power to make sure this new baby didn’t develop food allergies either. I exclusively breastfed her for 14 months and delayed the introduction of the typical allergens (cow’s milk, eggs, soy, NO nuts ever!) even longer than the allergist suggested. Since I was nursing, I personally avoided all dairy, nuts, eggs, etc. I was such a good mom!! Yeah, right. I'm sure you can guess the outcome. She has more allergies and worse eczema than any of my other children!! I took the same precautions with my fourth child, and she has NO food allergies.

Interestingly, the report also suggests that “after the first 4 to 6 months, if the high risk child was going to be allergic, it didn't seem to matter when he or she was first introduced to the peanuts or the eggs.” Many years ago, a wise pediatrician told me that if my little girl was genetically atopic, then she would develop allergies regardless of what I did or didn’t do. Yes, he suggested that we still hold off on the introduction to allergy-prone foods, which we did.

I strongly believe that my third child was destined to be atopic and have allergies. I’m glad I took precautions and delayed foods, which helps relieve the guilt factor for me. Although some people still occasionally allude to the fact that their child doesn’t have allergies because they avoided peanut butter until their child was 3. Ugh!! Does this somehow make them feel better? Like they had any control over the matter to begin with!! For all of us parents of children with food allergies out there, we DID NOT CAUSE our child’s allergies! (aside from giving them their genetic make up, of course).

I’ll end with one more thought from the article, “Parents who feel guilty that they caused their children's eczema or food allergy because they fed them milk or eggs too soon can relax. There is no evidence to support this, said Scott H. Sicherer, M.D.”


To reference the article, please click http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/93253.php

Posted by Ann Marie at January 8, 2008 1:55 PM


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