Exclusive breastfeeding may protect against milk allergy

A randomised clinical trial involving 312 newborns in Japan has shown that avoiding cow’s milk for at least the first three days of life can decrease the risks of developing cow’s milk allergy and anaphylaxis.

The newborns were randomly assigned to one of two groups: one group was exclusively breastfed in their earliest days after birth, while the infants in the other groups were fed a cow’s milk formula in addition to breastmilk.

Follow-up until the age of two years found that the children in the group that had formula milk in their early diet were more prone to develop milk allergy. Just over 32 per cent in this group were found to be sensitised to cow’s milk, compared with around 17 per cent of those who were exclusively breastfed in their early days.

The study authors suggest that the development of sensitivities and clinical food allergies may be preventable by avoiding cow’s milk formula supplementation for at least the first three days after birth.

Reference: Urashima, M, et al. 2019. JAMA Pediatrics Vol. 173(12) Pp 1137-1145. DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.3544