Does Exclusive Breastfeeding for More Than 6 Months Help Avoid Allergies?
is a wonderful experience. Undoubtedly mother’s milk is the most nutritious food that a baby can have. Several studies link breastfeeding to allergies. It is known that breastfed child has lower risks of developing allergies. In this article we will discuss what are the effects of prolonged (more than 6 months) exclusive breastfeeding in the context of encountering allergies.
is recommended generally for the babies up to six months of age. It is the healthiest choice of baby food for several reasons, the main reason being reduced risk of allergies in later life. Breast milk is rich with antibodies that help fight off infections. Many studies give evidence that exclusive breastfeeding helps babies to boost their immune system. Many food allergies are avoided in the children who are breastfed properly.
Now the question is
Is it only till six months or beyond.
Usually the child is exclusively breastfed only for six months. After that complementary foods are introduced between 6-8 months. After 8 or 9 months the child is fed with higher grade foods.
A Finnish study
revealed that prolong exclusive breastfeeding, that is, breastfeeding beyond six months
its effect on allergy protection. It
increases the risk
of allergies instead of decreasing. It is explained as follows:
In first six months basic organs of baby’s body are developed. The immune system is developed and it seems that it starts working after six months. It develops further and gets strengthened when exposed to antigens or foreign proteins (external foods). The exposure enhances development of immune system and strengthens it. Thus the child introduced to external foods has more immunity to the diseases in his future life.
Prolonged exclusive breastfeeding, that is exclusive breastfeeding for nine months or above hampers the strengthening of immune system. This increases the chances that the child develops other allergic conditions such as food hypersensitivity and eczema.
The above study finds
of children who are exclusively breastfed developed more allergic reactions than compared to children who were breastfed for 6 months, of which only
of them developed the reactions.
It is best to exclusively breastfeed your child only up to six months and introduce complementary food after that. Prolonged breastfeeding is not advised for better health of the child, in context of allergies.