Factors associated with maternal dietary intake, feeding and weaning practices, and the development of food hypersensitivity in the infant

Authors


Professor Taraneh Dean, School of Health Sciences and Social Work, University of Portsmouth, James Watson Building, 2 King Richard 1st Road, Portsmouth PO1 2FR, UK
Tel.: +44 (0)23 92 844405
Fax: +44 (0)23 92 844402
E-mail: tara.dean@port.ac.uk

Abstract

Maternal diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as infant feeding and weaning practices, may play a role in the development of sensitization to food and food hypersensitivity (FHS) and need further investigation. Pregnant women were recruited at 12 wk pregnancy. Information regarding family history of allergy was obtained by means of a questionnaire. A food frequency questionnaire was completed at 36 wk gestation. Information regarding feeding practices and reported symptoms of atopy was obtained during the infants’ first 3 yr of life. Children were also skin-prick tested at 1, 2 and 3 yr to a pre-defined panel of food allergens. Food challenges were conducted where possible. Maternal dietary intake during pregnancy, and breast-feeding duration did not influence the development of sensitization to food allergens or FHS, but weaning age (≥16 wk) did for sensitization at 1 yr (p = 0.03), FHS by 1 yr (p = 0.02), sensitization at 3 yr (p = 0.01) and FHS by 3 yr (p = 0.02). In contrast, children who were not exposed to a certain food allergen before the age of 3–6 months were less likely to become sensitized or develop FHS. Women with a family history of allergic disease were more likely to breastfeed exclusively at 3 months (p = 0.008) and avoid peanuts from the infant’s diet at 6 months (p = 0.03). Maternal dietary intake during pregnancy, and breast-feeding duration did not appear to influence the development of sensitization to food allergens or FHS. Weaning age may affect sensitization to foods and development of FHS. A history of allergic disease has very little impact on maternal dietary, feeding, and weaning practices.

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