Despite a lot of research, the exact cause of food allergies and the reason the number of kids affected is on the rise, is still something of a mystery. One very common question on the subject is “Are food allergies genetic?”
While no one has identified a “food allergy gene,” research does show that if Mom, Dad or both parents have a history of any type of food allergy it translates into a greater allergy risk for the children.
According to the University of Michigan, a child’s chance of allergy development is 40% if one parent has an allergy. If both parents have allergies, the chance of a food allergy rises to about 75% for each child. Sometimes, a child is allergic to the same food/foods as the parent.
If food allergies run in your family, there are some ways thought to possibly help prevent or delay the development of allergies.
- Breast-feeding the infants for a year;
- Restricting your diet while nursing to avoid some of the most common allergies (i.e. milk, eggs, peanuts)
- Waiting to introduce solid food until your baby is 6 months old;
- Introducing solid foods one at a time, beginning with those foods that are least likely to cause an allergy, like rice cereal;
- Avoiding processed foods with artificial colors and flavors; and
- Delaying the introduction of potentially allergic foods until your baby is a year old.
If it’s any consolation, if you suffer from food allergies, you’re probably more aware of the symptoms than the average parent and, hopefully, you’re able to spot the signs quickly. If that does happen, remember to consult with the pediatrician and either eliminate all the allergens from your diet while breastfeeding or switch formulas to an amino acid-based formula like Neocate.
As always, I’d love to see how you feel about this.