Breastfeeding children with a risk of allergy

Until recently the recommendation was to avoid giving certain foods to children with a risk of allergy for as long as possible. Now there are indications that early exposure to allergens increases tolerance.

A birth is something very special, and as a parent you want to give your child the very best. Above all, you want to prepare it for the future, which ideally also means protecting it from allergies.

If your baby has an elevated risk of allergy – in other words, if at least one parent or sibling suffers an allergy – it’s particularly important to take care. An allergic reaction takes place when the body is oversensitive to certain proteins in various allergens, for example foods, pollen and mites.


New findings

The World Health Organization (WHO) still recommends only breastfeeding for the first six months. There is clear evidence proving the preventive effect of breastfeeding in terms of the child’s development, especially in the first four months. It used to be assumed that it’s better for the baby to steer it clear of potential allergens for as long as possible. But more recent research shows that it’s a good thing for children aged four to six months to gradually be confronted with different foods to build up tolerance. Complementary feeding seems to potentially reduce the risk of allergy. On the other hand if you introduce solid foods you shouldn’t stop breastfeeding prematurely, as breast milk protects the intestine and makes it easier for the child to digest the new foods.


Common allergens:

  • Eggs
  • Non-human milk and dairy products
  • Pulses
  • Nuts
  • Citrus fruits
  • Soya
  • Fish
  • Chocolate



If you have any questions about feeding and caring for your baby, SWICA customers can contact the santé24 telemedicine service free of charge on +41 44 404 86 86. A telemedicine practice licence allows santé24 physicians to provide additional medical services in cases that are suited to a telemedicine approach. SWICA customers can also use the BENECURA medical app to carry out a digital SymptomCheck and receive recommendations about what to do next. During a subsequent phone call with santé24, customers can decide for themselves whether to release their information from SymptomCheck to santé24.