(RxWiki News) Food allergies can appear at any age - and starts at infancy. Researchers have discovered how and when a baby is introduced to food impacts their risk of developing allergies later in life.
European mothers are usually unaware of the relationship between breastfeeding, the introduction of solid food and the beginning of food allergies. That's what researchers from the University of Turku, Finland discovered in a recent study.
"Mother need to know when to introduce solid foods to infants."
Dr. Kirsi Laitinen and colleagues studied whether mothers knew if various food exposures during infancy could eventually affect a baby’s risk of developing food allergies.
The study included first time mothers from five different European countries: Finland, England, Germany, Hungary, and Spain. All participants completed questionnaires as part of the study.
The researchers found that only 10 percent of the participants were aware and agreed that how the baby is fed during infancy can affect the development of food allergies. When the researchers reworded the question to ask if the child's diet would affect lifelong conditions including food allergies, 50 percent of the women agreed.
Laitinen says that awareness of guidelines for infancy feeding can be different in varying regions. She adds that it's essential to spread awareness of the time frame in which solid foods can be introduced to a baby - preferably after 4 months of age, to prevent future allergies.
Mothers with infants can find out more information on infant feeding guidelines by talking to their health care provider or going to the food and nutrition information center on the US Department of Agriculture page.