Once you have a baby, there is no getting away with breastfeeding and weaning topics. In fact, we are pretty sure that we cover these topics every other month, just as much as we talk about the bandana bibs we make to keep your baby fashionably messy while getting used to solid foods.
Still, we are not the only ones obsessed with feeding topics, researchers and scientists are as obsessed as us. And they are quite right to be. After all, babies’ nutrition is vital to their development and future health. So, here’s the latest on breastfeeding and weaning.
On the 18th of November, Pediatrics – the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, published the result of a UK study confirming that breastfeeding babies longer and waiting at least 17 weeks before introducing them to solid food could reduce their vulnerability to food allergies.
Background of the research
You may not want to know all the ins and outs of the research, but we think it helps to know that the research was done thoroughly, and not just collected anecdotal stories.
The study was conducted by Kate E.C. Grimshaw, PhD, RD, and her colleagues from the Faculty of Medicine at the University Of Southampton, UK.
Grimshaw and her team studied babies diagnosed with a food allergy by age 2 years. They monitored 41 babies, born between January 2006 and October 2007 and were identified with food allergy. The babies were randomly chosen from 1140 babies involved in PIFA (Prevalence of Infant Food Allergy) Study that was part of the big EuroVall project that covered nine countries in Europe.
For each baby being monitored, they had two control participants who were the same age but were not diagnosed with food allergy. Mothers of participating babies were asked to record everything that the babies ate or drank for the first year of their lives. To make it easier for mothers, researchers only asked them to record the names of the food or drink and not the amount consumed.
The researchers found that food allergy is detected at around 56 weeks old, and that hen egg allergy was the most common food allergy in babies, with 22 babies in the study diagnosed with the allergy. They also found out that the most common symptom was eczema. The second most common sign of allergy is vomiting.
They also found that babies with food allergies started solids much earlier than babies who didn’t have food allergy. Additionally, the study also revealed that feeding babies with breast milk alongside solid foods reduced their chances of developing food allergy.
So, there you go. Hopefully, the new finding will help you decide whether to wean or not to wean your baby early.