Are nuts, cow’s milk and other foods actually ok for babies?

Study suggests that avoided foods, such as nuts, may not cause problems by being introduced early to healthy babies

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If you give your baby cow’s milk, nuts or other solid foods linked with allergies before 6 months, it won’t necessarily increase their chances of developing asthma or eczema, a recent Dutch study suggests.

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Current guidelines recommended avoiding foods linked with allergies for your child’s first years, yet new research is suggesting there’s no evidence that this tactic will stop your child developing allergies.

The study, by Ilse Tromp of Erasmus University in Rotterdam, tracked eczema and asthma symptoms in 7,000 babies until they were 4 years old.

The results reveal that at 2 years, 31 % of toddlers were wheezing yet this number dropped by over half in the following year. For eczema, 38 % of 2 year olds had symptoms yet these also fell (to 18 %) once the children were 4.

At first, it seemed like the babies given nuts early wheezed more. But once mum’s smoking habits and other asthma risk factors were taken into account, the link didn’t exist.

“There does not seem to be a need to avoid solid foods, or allergenic foods, in young children who are otherwise well,” said Dr Scott H Sicherer, from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“If your child is doing ok, you don’t have to worry about giving them milk or eggs or whatever when they are young,” Dr Scott said.

However, it is always important to keep an eye out for hives, vomiting or breathing difficulties, as these could be signs that your child has an allergy. If you notice any of these symptoms, head to your doctor.

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