Approx. one in three newborn babies have an increased familial allergy risk. The outbreak of this illness, amongst other things, can be avoided through the right kind of diet during infancy.
Allergies are an overreaction of the body to harmless substances, like protein particles: the immune system produces antibodies, which react to the protein. If this happens, infants will usually get symptoms on the skin, like eczema, or in the gastro-intestinal tract, like diarrhoea. With so-called atopic allergies, like neurodermatitis, asthma and hay fever, hereditary dispositions play an important role. Triggers can be food, airborne allergens like pollen, animal hair and cigarette smoke, but also psychological factors such as stress.
With hereditary allergies, the allergy risk of the child depends on the frequency of the allergy in its family. If a parent suffers from an allergy, the child’s allergy risk is increased. For these ‘allergy-risk-children’ it is especially important to be aware of diet from the beginning of pregnancy. This way the risk of allergy can be lowered.
The best allergy prevention is to breastfeed. It contains human protein that will be tolerated by the infant’s immune system, but hardly any allergenic substances. This is why mother’s milk is low on allergens. It also contains antibodies and nucleotides, which support and strengthen the child’s immune system in the first months of its life. Furthermore, all nutrients needed by the infant are contained in it. Thus it is best to breastfeed for as long as possible.
If you don’t breastfeed, you can feed your baby with HA-milk. This hypoallergenic milk is especially suited for infants that are not breastfed who have an allergy risk. HA-milk contains, more or less, the same ingredients as mother’s milk. It also contains a milk-protein mixture which is pre-treated via a special procedure and which is especially suited for allergy prevention.
Start with supplementary food after four, or even better, six months. Add new food to the menu gradually; if it reacts to one of the foods, it is easy to trace which one.
Preventive measures are not enough if your baby already suffers from an allergy. Firstly, the trigger of the allergy has to be found, and then avoided. With infants, cow’s milk is the most frequent cause of food allergies. In this case, special therapy milk should be used. The protein of this milk is treated in a specific way so that it doesn’t contain any allergenity.