Food allergy and infant feeding practices: Are they related?

Idit Lachover-Roth*, Anat Cohen-Engler, Yael Furman, Yossi Rosman, Keren Meir-Shafrir, Michal Mozer-Mandel, Sivan Farladansky-Gershnabel, Tal Biron-Shental, Ronit Confino-Cohen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Immunoglobulin (Ig)E-mediated food allergy is a growing health problem affecting up to 10% of children. It is well-established that early introduction to peanuts and eggs from 4 months of age has a preventive effect. In contrast, there is no consensus about the effect of breastfeeding on food allergy development. Objective: To evaluate the effect of breastfeeding and cows' milk formula (CMF) feeding on the development of IgE-mediated food allergy. Methods: Infants in the Cow's Milk Early Exposure Trial were followed for 12 months. The cohort was divided according to parental feeding preferences for the first 2 months of life: group 1: exclusive breastfeeding (EBF); group 2: breastfeeding with at least 1 daily meal of CMF; and group 3: feeding with CMF only. Results: Among a total of 1989 infants, 1071 were on EBF (53.8%), 616 were breastfed with addition of CMF (31%), and 302 were fed with CMF only (15.2%), from birth. By 12 months, 43 infants developed an IgE-mediated food allergy (2.2%); 31 in the EBF group (2.9%), 12 in the breastfeeding and CMF combined group (1.9%), and none in the CMF feeding-only group (P = .002). Family atopic comorbidity did not affect the results. Conclusion: In this prospective cohort, breastfed infants developed significantly higher rates of IgE-mediated food allergy during the first year of life. Perhaps the mechanism is related to compounds ingested by the mother and secreted in the breastmilk. Future larger cohorts should validate these results and offer the lactating mother recommendations. Trial Registration: The COMEET study and its derivatives were approved by the Ethics Committee of Meir Medical Center, IRB number 011-16-MMC. It was registered at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Trials Registry: NCT02785679.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-375.e3
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023


FundersFunder number
Ministry of Health, State of Israel
Israeli Dairy Board


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