Did you know that about 20-30% of children have allergies? One of the most significant factors contributing to this trend is the increasing pollution level in highly industrialized countries. The cause of allergies lies in the immune system: the immune system’s role is to protect us from bacteria, viruses, and other external bodies. The immune system gives off an excessive protective response to substances entering the body that are harmless. These are called allergens and usually consist of protein. The body produces increased antibodies, resulting in an allergic reaction. However, it is possible to prevent your child from developing allergies. Proper nutrition during the first 3 years of life promotes the development of a strong immune system.
Genetics also plays a role in the degree to which children are prone to developing allergies. If a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, has such symptoms, the child’s risk of developing allergies increases.
Preventing the risk of developing allergic reactions in babies
If you have a family history of allergies, there are some things you can do while you are pregnant to help reduce the risk of your baby developing allergies. First, you should eat a balanced and varied diet. What is good for you is also good for your child. In addition, you can reduce such risks after your little one’s birth: breast milk is the best protection against allergies. Breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life helps strengthen your baby’s immune system and reduces the risk of allergic reaction.
What is the HA diet?
If the baby is breastfed, the mother is given a hypoallergenic diet to eliminate allergens as soon as possible. It excludes potentially dangerous foods: fish, seafood, eggs, honey, nuts, cocoa, coffee, chocolate, and milk if the baby is intolerant. Cereal, sugar, and gluten intake should be reduced by 25%, and salt – by 30%. This diet should be followed for the entire period of breastfeeding. The diet should be coordinated with your doctor, who will supplement the menu with vitamins, minerals, and probiotics.
Start introducing baby food into the diet no earlier than 6 months of your baby’s life and after your pediatrician’s advice.
Discovering the world of food
Babies are often intolerant of cow’s milk, with reactions occurring in 2-3% of children. However, it is not the only dangerous product. The most common allergens are banana, rice, eggs, and gluten. This is important because gluten, egg white, and soy can all be part of infant formulas. Unfortunately, parents often pay more attention to milk protein than these ingredients when choosing baby milk. There is also a 76% probability
children are likely to be allergic to three (or more) foods.
If your child is allergic to certain foods, you should talk to your pediatrician to figure out what to do next. Even if you have to eliminate certain foods from your child’s diet, you should continue to carefully expand the range of foods your baby eats – step by step. Keep a close eye on his reaction to each new ingredient.
You don’t have to eliminate certain foods from your baby’s diet just because you think they could potentially cause problems. As long as your baby doesn’t show any signs of an allergic reaction, you can leave foods like milk, gluten, and fish. There is also no reason to delay the process of introducing foods into your baby’s diet. If you are confused about any foods, ask your pediatrician to choose the right one.
Hypoallergenic formula options
If your formula-fed baby is prone to allergy, you need to find an alternative diet – specialized baby formula. Here are the options:
- Soy-based formula – suitable only in some cases. It is difficult to name it as completely hypoallergenic: in 30-40% of cases, babies with a cow’s milk protein allergy cannot tolerate soy either;
- Formula with hydrolyzed cow’s milk protein is made by breaking down protein molecules into peptides and amino acids. If the symptoms are mild, a partially hydrolyzed protein diet is sufficient; in more severe cases, a fully hydrolyzed protein is needed;
- Goat’s milk-based formula. Not the best option for children allergic to cow’s milk protein: according to studies, cross-sensitization between cow’s and goat’s milk protein is 90-98%;
- Amino acid formula – helps in the most severe cases where there is an allergy even to hydrolyzed milk. It is best suited for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. In 98% of cases, there is a mitigation of skin symptoms.