June 8, 2011

Nuts And Milk Okay For Baby?

Physicians have recommended for many years that parents wait a few years before prents give babies cow's milk, nuts and other solid foods that are related to food allergies. However newer research in a Dutch study has failed to find evidence that doing so staves off allergies, Reuters is reporting.

Over 7 percent of American adults, and even more kids, have asthma, causing millions of visits to emergency rooms and doctors' offices every year. The study, by Ilse Tromp of Erasmus University in Rotterdam and colleagues, tracked eczema and asthma symptoms among nearly 7,000 infants until the children were four years old.

"There does not seem to be a need to avoid solid foods, or allergenic foods, in young children who are otherwise well," Dr. Scott H. Sicherer, an expert in childhood allergies at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, told Reuters.

"This is one of a number of studies that have been pretty much giving us the same message," added Sicherer, who was not involved in the study.

In 2008, Sicherer helped write a report for the American Academy of Pediatrics that backtracked on the group's earlier recommendations to hold back on peanuts and other foods linked to asthma and other allergic conditions.

Thirty-one percent of the toddlers in the study wheezed by 24 months of age, according to their parents. However this number dropped by half over the next year. Eczema was present in 38 percent of two-year-olds, falling to 18 percent by age four.

Initially, it appeared that kids whose parents had given them nuts before they were six months old had more wheezing. But after considering smoking among the mothers and other risk factors for asthma, there was no longer any sign that nuts were linked to allergic problems, the research team reported in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

"If your child is doing OK, you don't have to worry about giving them milk or eggs or whatever when they are young. But if the child shows signs of an allergic reaction -- such as breaking out in hives, vomiting, or have trouble breathing -- parents should talk to a doctor,"  Sicherer explained to Reuters.

The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommend that mothers breastfeed their babies until they are four to six months old. If for some reason they can't breastfeed and their child is at high risk for developing allergies, the group says using so-called "hypoallergenic" infant formula might be appropriate, although they cost more than the standard product.


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