Ask the allergist is a regular feature in our newsletters where Dr. Julia Upton answers your questions!
Dr. Julia Upton is a Canadian allergist who is on staff at Toronto’s SickKids Hospital in the Immunology and Allergy Department. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto and is the Section Chair of Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis with the CSACI. Dr. Upton is also a member of our Healthcare Advisory Board.
Please note: Dr. Upton is answering as an individual allergist and her answers do not constitute an official position of her affiliated organizations. Her responses are for informational purposes only and do not constitute specific medical advice, recommendations, diagnosis, or treatment. Please talk to your doctor about any concerns or questions you may have regarding your own health or the health of your child.
This month she answers your question about food allergy prevention and breastfeeding.
I have seen some things on preventing allergies with breastfeeding and early introduction, but I can’t seem to find anything on if it will help the child outgrow a diagnosed allergy. Is there any way to help my 7-month-old outgrow allergies while he is still so young?
The amount of allergen passed from the diet to the milk is variable and usually very, very low.
If it is not clear whether the baby had an allergic reaction, or if symptoms were mild, we usually recommend to keep foods in the diet when nursing. For example, we would not recommend to remove foods from the mother’s diet for eczema. For severe symptoms, such as with Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES), maternal elimination diets are tried.
If your baby does have an allergy, work with your allergist to only avoid the allergenic foods, and continue to introduce others so that your baby can benefit from introduction and dietary inclusion of as many foods as possible.
Keep in mind that the best prevention we know for food allergy is early dietary exposure with ongoing ingestion. Therefore, the decision to remove foods from an infant’s diet needs to be very carefully considered.
Learn whether avoiding allergenic foods during pregnancy and breastfeeding prevent food allergy in your baby.
Read our mythbuster on pregnancy and prevention.
Recommendations for the introduction of common allergens to infants has changed as research has emerged.
Learn more about helping to prevent the development of food allergy.
Find answers on past questions, from food allergy and COVID-19 to other allergic conditions, at foodallergycanada.ca/asktheallergist.
Do you have a question you’d like to ask Dr. Upton in the months to come? If so, please send it along to us at email@example.com.
Please note: Dr. Upton answers questions on general topics, please talk to your doctor if you have questions about your own health or the health of your child.
Tags: ask the allergist, breastfeeding, prevention