August is National Breastfeeding Month, and this year’s theme is “Support Changes Everything.” It's crucial to support all parents’ decisions regarding feeding and nourishing their children — because every mom has a personal feeding journey. So, giving moms like you information about breastfeeding, and building a network of breastfeeding support, is vital.
Many moms wonder — can breastfeeding prevent food allergies? Here’s what you need to know about breastfeeding and food allergy prevention for your baby.
The Many Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding offers a wealth of benefits for you and your baby. Here’s an overview:
1. Your Milk is Made for Your Baby’s Needs
Breast milk contains the ideal amount of vitamins, proteins, and fats for your baby’s nutritional and developmental needs during their first few months. For example, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and long-chain fatty acids found in breast milk help your baby develop a healthy brain and nervous system. Vitamin A promotes healthy vision, and Vitamin D helps baby build strong bones and teeth.
2. Breast Milk Builds Baby’s Immunity
Breast milk is loaded with important proteins for baby's immunity, including secretory IgA, IgG and IgM antibodies, lysozyme, and Bifidus factor. These proteins help baby fight off viruses and harmful bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella.
Also, studies show that breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
3. Breastfeeding Increases Oxytocin
The hormone oxytocin increases while you breastfeed. Oxytocin aids in postpartum recovery by promoting contraction of your uterus, which reduces post-delivery blood loss and helps the uterus return to its normal size. Oxytocin also promotes mother-infant bonding (it’s often called the “love hormone.”) So, thanks to oxytocin, breastfeeding is an ideal way to strengthen the attachment between you and your little one.
But, Does Breastfeeding Prevent Food Allergies?
Even though breastfeeding imparts countless benefits for you and your child, there is no conclusive evidence to prove that breastfeeding can prevent childhood food allergies on its own (as new AAP allergy prevention guidelines affirm). Thus, if you choose to breastfeed, you'll also need to introduce your baby to allergenic foods early and often, to reduce their risk of developing a food allergy. According to recent landmark studies, early and sustained allergen introduction can help reduce your baby’s food allergy risk by up to 80%.
What is Early and Sustained Allergen Introduction?
The new AAP guidelines, based on the landmark clinical studies, recommend introducing your baby to common allergenic foods in their first year of life, starting as early as 4-6 months of age. Scientists believe that, when a baby is between 4-11 months old, their immune system starts to develop positive or negative responses to food proteins. Consistently introducing allergenic foods during this critical window helps promote a positive immune response, and thus helps prevent food allergies.
Introducing allergenic foods only once or twice is not enough to reduce your baby’s risk of developing food allergies. Instead, in the landmark clinical studies, infants consumed allergenic foods 2-7 times a week for 3-6 months (or more). So, for the best chance of food allergy prevention, sustain introduction: feed your baby allergenic foods multiple times a week, for several months.
Early Allergen Introduction While Breastfeeding: Ready, Set, Food! Makes It Easy
Even though the new AAP guidelines recommend starting allergen introduction as early as 4-6 months, many moms choose to breastfeed exclusively until their baby is at least 6 months old. Plus, many babies are not developmentally ready for solids at 4-6 months, and infants can be picky eaters. Thus, you’ll need a solution for early allergen introduction, especially if you exclusively breastfeed.
Ready, Set, Food! provides a groundbreaking solution that can help reduce your baby’s risk of developing a food allergy by up to 80%, regardless of how you choose to feed your baby. Created by a team of allergists and parents, this system easily dissolves into breast milk — just mix the daily, pre-measured packet with your baby’s bottle. So, with Ready, Set, Food!, you can continue exclusively breastfeeding rather than having to introduce solid foods before your baby is ready, while also safely introducing the allergenic foods needed to reduce baby's food allergy risk.
Ready, Set, Food! gently introduces your baby to peanut, egg, and dairy milk (over 80% of childhood food allergies) in the exact amounts and frequencies used in landmark clinical studies. It contains only organic, non-GMO peanut, egg, and dairy milk, with no added sugar or artificial additives. Also, 300+ pediatricians and allergists recommend Ready, Set, Food! in their practices. Thus, you can feel confident about feeding Ready, Set, Food! to your baby.
Majka is excited to partner with Ready, Set, Food! to help give children a head start towards an allergy-free future! Use the code MAJKA to receive $20 off any Ready, Set, Food! subscription.
To learn more about Ready, Set, Food!, and to take advantage of this exclusive offer for Majka mamas, visit the Ready, Set, Food! website here.