Babies need gut bacteria to protect, colonize the gut and prevent future allergies, but a lot of babies are born without them. Inadequate healthy gut bacteria is associated with a higher risk of asthma and allergies.
Common food that may cause allergies in babies:
- Cow milk
- Wheat flour
What can moms do to prevent allergies while they’re pregnant?
One of the actions you can take while pregnant is to minimize stress. Studies show that minimizing stress while pregnant can help reduce your baby’s allergies. Additionally, taking allergy shots while pregnant, if you’re comfortable with them, can help minimize genetically passing down seasonal allergies to your child.
Here are other things you can do:
- Eat a variety of food including all five food categories, and do not avoid any specific food
- Try not to be exposed to cigarette smoke
- Be sure to eliminate allergens from the house, such as dust mites
What about when Your Child is an infant?
Breastfeeding is an excellent way to promote immunity in infancy; if you can, make it work. In addition, allow Your Child to be exposed to nature, environment, and dirt so that the immune system can grow and be used to many stimuli. Similarly, studies show that having pets in the home in the first year of life may help reduce pet allergies. Growing up in a place where there are cows and sheep seems to be even more effective.
Advice for Your Child from pediatrics allergist
- Stay away from dust mites and cigarette smoke
- Avoid too much contact with pets, especially cats — if you have pets, it is best to keep them outside and wash them regularly
- Drink breast milk
- Start eating food when the time is right which is around 4-6 months, and do not avoid any specific food
Signs of eczema
Showing early signs of eczema is one of the first indicators of an allergic march. If you notice this, take some steps at home like using crib encasings and washing bedding in hot water weekly to decrease dust mite exposure, which is linked to eczema and allergy.
What to do if your kids start developing allergies
If your baby eventually develops allergies in spite of all your efforts, what you will do depends largely on the severity. In cases of egg or milk allergies, often kids can tolerate cooked products — like a muffin, for example. Try giving them little bits every day, there’s a greater chance that they’ll outgrow their food allergies. But you have to discuss this with your pediatric doctor first.
The only sure way to protect babies from allergies is to keep the things they’re allergic to out of their environment, but that may be impossible and might not help them get over it.
If your child does have an allergy, be sure to consult a pediatric allergist before exposing your child to potential allergens.
Dr. Piyawut Kreetapirom, MD. (26 February 2019)