Allergy Prevention for Your Baby
Prevent childhood allergies through education
The vast majority of moms truly believe they understand what their babies need to eat in order to be healthy. However, most moms don't actually know as much as they should, particularly in terms of preventing childhood allergies. In fact, a recent online survey of Canadian women showed that moms need more information in three key areas: allergy prevention; baby formula and how to choose it; and, getting more omega fatty acids into their baby's diet.
Toronto-based pediatrician Ness Bayer said that parents have so much information to acquire, it can be overwhelming. She also stated that the survey proved that moms didn't really know as much as they thought they did. One of the key myths to be dispelled is that allergies can't be prevented. Bayer said that moms need to recognize the importance of breastfeeding, as it is one of the best ways a woman can help her child avoid allergies. Breastfeeding should be exclusive for the first six months, and it is recommended to continue for two years or longer.
For those mothers who cannot or decide not to breastfeed, it is important to pick the right formula. According to Bayer, they are not all equally nutritious - she recommends Nestle Good Start. This formula has both omega-3 and omega-6. These fats aid in brain and eye development. In addition, the partially broken-down milk proteins in the formula may help guard against allergy.
For the record, Bayer's study was sponsored by Nestle Canada. However, she backs up her recommendation with her own experience of using Good Start formula, after weaning her own children from breast milk when she went back to work.
A number of interesting facts were released in the study regarding the survey data. They included:
- Do you have allergies in your family? A history of allergy is the primary predictor of an allergy in a child. However, this doesn't mean that your child is "safe" if you don't have allergies in your family; 15 percent of children with allergies have no family history of it.
- Has your baby developed eczema? It's the most common allergy symptom in babies.
- Babies are born with immature digestion. Their first four months are critical to their digestive development. Picking the right formula can help them avoid allergies.
- As many as 50 percent of moms think that a lactose-free formula will help a baby with digestive problems. However, babies are rarely lactose intolerant.
- Baby formula should contain iron, DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid) and ARA (omega-6 fatty acid). The World Health Organization recommends both DHA and ARA for babies.
- If you are breastfeeding, it is now recommended that your baby gets 400 IU of vitamin D in addition to breast milk.
The London Free Press