“Mothers should continue to breast-feed beyond introducing solids into the diet so the immune system can benefit from the immunological factors in breast milk that educate the immune system,” said lead researcher Kate Grimshaw, a research fellow and allergy specialist at the University of Southampton.
“My theory was that if food allergens — those things that infants actually become allergic to — aren’t there at the same time as the breast milk, the breast milk can’t educate the immune system,” she said.
The researchers said they identified when this process is likely to begin. “Introducing solid food before 17 weeks was associated with an increased risk of children developing food allergies,” Grimshaw said.
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