Is It Possible to Prevent Food Allergies?

Introducing your little one to new foods can be really stressful when you’re worried about an allergic reaction.

Several years ago your pediatrician may have suggested waiting until your baby was at least a year old to introduce potential allergens into her diet (think: eggs, nuts, etc.). In late 2015, that recommendation changed after the Canadian Medical Association Journal published a review focused on food introduction and allergy prevention. The new guidelines recommend introducing allergenic foods much earlier (at four to six months of age) and on a regular basis.

Now, research suggests there may be something parents (specifically, mothers) can do during pregnancy to help prevent food allergies in their baby.

In one of the largest, most comprehensive studies to date, researchers have found that taking fish oil and probiotic supplements may help reduce the likelihood of childhood allergies and eczema.

Taking a daily fish oil supplement from 20 weeks pregnant to delivery, as well as during the first three to four months of breastfeeding was found to reduce a child’s risk of egg allergy by 30 percent.

Probiotic supplements, when taken daily from 36-38 weeks pregnant, and during the first three to six months of breastfeeding, reduced the risk of a child developing eczema by 22 percent.

Of course, if your child does end up having a food allergy, know that it’s not your fault. (Parents experience enough guilt as it is!) Speak to your health care provider to find out what’s best for you and your baby.

For more on when and how to start your baby on solids, check out these helpful tips at healthlinkbc.ca and eatrightontario.ca.

Melissa Greer

Melissa Greer

Melissa is a writer, editor and new mom. She lives in Toronto with her husband, daughter and two cats.