Maternal Modification and Breastfeeding
Those Breastfed for longer than 6 months had more subjects in the modified group (26%) than those breastfed for a shorter time (13%) showing sensitisation to any food allergy (OR, 0.32; CI, 0.12-0.84, p = .028). There was no effect of breastfeeding on SPT results after this age.
Discussion This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a maternal dietary intervention. It also aimed to assess the role of breastfeeding duration for allergy prevention and to determine if dietary modification influences the effects of breastfeeding on atopic disease. Modification appeared to reduce the development of eczema and asthma with a trend for less food sensitisation. Breastfeeding had no effect on allergy markers after age 1. In those less than 1, a breastfeeding duration for 6 months or longer increased food sensitization rates. This effect was more evident in the Non modified group.
The results of this study are in support of the original hypothesis where modification guidelines suggested by Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Unit were beneficial in reducing the incidence of eczema and asthma. Modification also appeared to reduce food sensitization, however these findings were not significant.
These results are similar to those of Hide et al (1996) and Arshad et al., (1992) whereby excluding highly antigenic foods from the diet while breastfeeding prevented infantile eczema and asthma. In contrary to Hide et al (1996) and Arshad et al., (1992), this study failed to show significantly less food sensitisation in early childhood with modification. This may be due to the nature of the intervention. For practical reasons, trace amounts of food allergen were allowed within the modification recommendations which may have caused some sensitisation. The severity of food allergy was not considered in these studies which could potentially be reduced with maternal modification.
Some past studies have found no effect of maternal modification on any allergy markers. This can be explained by their study design. Hattevig et al., (1989) used a modification intervention duration of 3 months, after which a child could be sensitised through breast milk when their mothers’ diet returned to normal. The intervention group had a small