Allergy Awareness Week: the importance of breast milk

Jane Goodwin.
Jane Goodwin.
  • Allergy Awareness Week is Monday April 20 to Sunday April 26
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Breast is best – a common ring that new mums will hear but did you know about the benefits breast milk can have when it comes to allergies?

As part of Allergy Awareness Week running from Monday April 20 to Sunday April 26, it is important to highlight that breast milk can help to reduce the risk of allergies in a baby.

Scunthorpe Hospital’s infant feeding lead midwife Jane Goodwin said: “We cannot say allergies can be totally eradicated through this method but research has proven that the risks can be reduced by changes it can make to a newborn’s DNA.

“Special proteins made by the mother’s immune system can help reduce a baby’s risk of developing allergies such as asthma and eczema.

“There are various factors for developing an allergy including genetics, contact with an allergen and bottle feeding. Many mums do not realise that formulas used in bottle feeding contains cow’s milk which can stimulate allergies.

“Giving a baby breast milk only is recommended for around the first six months of their life. After that, giving it alongside other food will help them continue to grow and develop healthily.”

In addition to reducing allergy risk factors, breastfed babies have:

Less chance of diarrhoea and vomiting and having to go to hospital as a result

Fewer chest and ear infections and fewer visits to hospital as a result

Less chance of being constipated

Less likely to become obese.

Women can book onto baby feeding sessions at their nearest children’s centre in North Lincolnshire or for further information can call Jane Goodwin, breastfeeding support midwife at Scunthorpe hospital on 07595087303.