Most experts trust in breastfeeding to prevent allergies

More than 90 percent of medical staff agree that breastfeeding could help kids prevent allergies, a survey by Hong Kong Nutrition Association has found.

One in three children were affected by allergies such as rhinitis – or nasal allergy – said the association.

And the number of children plagued by allergy-induced coma doubled over the past decade.

The survey polled 102 pediatricians and dietitians for their opinions on measures against allergies in babies and young children.

Fifty percent thought women who did not abstain from eating certain food in the course of breastfeeding could help kids avoid allergies.

And 67 percent said women should not abstain from eating certain kinds of food during their pregnancy, or allergies in their kids could flare up.

Similarly, 69 percent thought mothers should have fed kids certain types of food before they turn one.

More than 70 percent said products such as goat milk and soybean milk powder were useless in helping children avoid allergies.

Ninety-three percent thought most allergies in kids had to do with hereditary conditions, while 42 percent believed it was due to less than six months of breastfeeding.

Fifty-percent said air pollution at home could lead to allergies in kids, whereas 44 percent said the phenomenon showed that second-hand smoke could lead to allergies in children as well.

About 34 percent said kids delivered via C-sections stood a higher risk of having allergies.

Hong Kong Nutrition Association chairman Siu Pui-lam said breastfeeding could provide the most adequate and balanced nutrients to kids.

“When mothers encounter problems in breastfeeding, they should seek help from medical staff,” he said.

“If they were unable to breastfeed, they should use hydrolysed milk powder approved by clinical tests under the advice of medical staff.”

Siu also reminded those who are expecting, mothers who were breastfeeding and kids not to abstain from consuming certain food items without doctors’ advice.

“Infants should start consuming semi-solid food starting from the age of four to six months, and gradually try food that may induce allergies,” he said.

Association vice-president Gordon Cheung Chi-leung said recent research showed that mothers did not have to avoid eating certain types of food on purpose during the course of pregnancy and breastfeeding. “Doing so cannot prevent kids from having allergies,” he said.

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