Maternal Diet Linked to Atopic Sensitization of Breastfed Infants
Too many times mothers are told to stop breastfeeding their infants if the infant develops allergic symptoms. It has long been known that the mother’s diet is incredibly important in the health and disease of their infant. And many times, symptoms in the infant such as ezcema and thrush are not attributed to maternal diet, and yet may be the main contributing factor.
Eur J Clin nutrition 2000;54:702-705 Breast-fed infants whose mothers consume high levels of total and saturated fat appear to be more likely than other breast-fed infants to develop atopic sensitization. The researchers studied 114 breast-feeding babies with a family history of atopic disease. Their mothers kept a food record for 4 days when the infants were nearly 3 months old. Nearly one quarter (23.7%) of infants became sensitized to common allergens by age 1 year, most commonly eggs, milk, wheat and cats. The risk of atopy was not significantly increased by maternal atopic disease. However, “maternal intake of saturated fat during breastfeeding was associated with atopic sensitization of the infant,” with an odds ratio of 1.16, Dr. Hoppu’s group reports. The authors recommend that women in atopic families should be counselled to moderate their dietary fat intake during breast-feeding and preferably during pregnancy, since a high intake of saturated fat generally indicates an unbalanced diet.