Maternal Modification and Breastfeeding
A maternal elimination diet during lactation has been suggested to possibly enhance the beneficial effects of breastfeeding (Kajosaari, 1994). Maternal diet, however, has not been controlled as a confounding variable in studies analysing the role of breastfeeding. Sensitisation through breastfeeding may have influenced past results, contributing to the conflicting findings.
This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a maternal dietary intervention aimed at modifying the risk of atopic symptoms and allergy of siblings of a child with food allergy. It aimed to assess the role of breastfeeding duration for allergy prevention and also to determine if dietary modification influences the effects of breastfeeding on atopic disease.
It was hypothesised that infants whose mother followed the modification program suggested by Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Unit would be sensitised to fewer food allergens, have lower number of subjects sensitised to any food allergen and a reduced incidence of eczema and asthma than siblings whose mother did not. It was hypothesised that breastfeeding for 6 months or longer would have no protective effect on food sensitization and the incidence of eczema or asthma when compared to those breastfed for a shorter time. It was also hypothesized that the benefits of breastfeeding would be more profound when maternal allergen avoidance was undertaken.
Ethics This study was approved by the ethics committee of the Central Sydney Area Heath Service.
Subjects Subjects were selected from an initial total cohort of 2114 patients with eczema and possible food related symptoms who were seen by Dr. Velencia Soutter at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Consulting Rooms from 1992 to 2005. Any additional siblings of these patients not previously recorded, born before October 2007, were included. Subjects included were children aged 0-18 years old with family record