My infant daughter has exhibited food sensitivities in her early culinary life. Bananas and avocados have caused her develop eczema on her chest. As a result I have been hesitant to introduce foods that are common allergens such as dairy, for fear that she may be allergic. However, a recent study published in the Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics, “Age at First Introduction of Cow Milk Products and Other Food Products in Relation to Infant Atopic Manifestations in the First 2 Years of Life: The KOALA Birth Cohort Study” has found that delaying the introduction of certain common allergen foods, particularly cow’s milk, is not favorable and does not prevent the development of allergic response such as eczema, wheezing or atopic dermatitis. They studied data from 2558 infants in the Netherlands to come to this conclusion, through questionnaires administered at 34 weeks of gestation and 3, 7, 12, and 24 months postpartum. They then measured allergic sensitivity at age 2, through blood sampling. They determined that delaying introduction of common allergens may actually increase the risk of eczema at age 2 and beyond.
I’ve also read that a child’s allergies may be prevented by exposing them to a household pet early in life. We have two dogs who could stuff pillows daily with the fur that they shed. If dogs offer prevention, my daughter should have no allergies by the time she grows up!!