I Have A Family History (Parent Or Other Child) Of Food Allergy. Can I Prevent Food Allergies In My Child?

Dr. Wesley Burks answers the question: 'Preventing Food Allergies In My Child?'

— -- Question: I have a family history (parent or other child) of food allergy. Can I prevent food allergies in my child?

Answer: What we do know is that, if you have an immediate family histories -- a mother, father, one of the siblings, if they have allergic disease -- then the new child's at risk for developing allergies. What you do while you're pregnant, I don't think we really understand well. What you do after delivery, the two best things that we know that can help prevent any type of allergic disease -- not just food allergy -- are breastfeeding for at least four to six months exclusively, and then not giving child solid foods for that same period of time. If you do both of those, the chances of that child developing any type of allergy are significantly less.

If we go back to in utero, what's the best thing to do? There aren't good medical studies that are evidence-based that show us what to do. I think the prevailing expert opinion would be, for the highly allergen foods like peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish, it is probably better to avoid those during pregnancy to prevent the development of those food allergies later in life.

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