According to a survey done recently in Japan, newborns who are exposed to formula milk during the former days of their lives are more likely to develop a milk allergy when they grow up. So, they recommend breastfeeding for the first few days of a baby's life.
A report was prepared by randomly assigning 300 newborns to be breastfed entirely or be fed a portion of breastmilk and formula in the initial days. They found that the children in the group, which included formula milk in their diet, were highly prone to develop milk allergy by the time they were two-year-old. Following the trial, cow's milk sensitization was present in 32.2% of two-year-olds in the group exposed to cow’s milk formula right after birth, compared with 16.8% of their counterparts who were not.
Japanese find breastfeeding at birth can lower milk allergies pic.twitter.com/cOtVb8xDTK— DairyReporter.com (@dairyreporter) November 27, 2019
According to the authors, in Japan, which has a considerably higher rate of lactose-intolerance, breastfeeding alone immediately after birth should be considered. These allergic reactions could be the result of immunologic changes in immunoglobulin E(IgE), an antibody formed by the immune system. This sort of allergy is gaining rapid growth and has become a significant concern globally. To prevent such an issue, prolonged breastfeeding with or without supplement for infants at risk has been recommended.
Many maternity wards in Japan instruct exclusive breastfeeding but do not stop if the infant is fed with formula milk, too, if preferred by the mother. It is worth noting that, 2 to 3 decades ago, sugar water was given to the baby at birth instead of formula milk. With the change in recent times, Japanese authors strongly feel that these increasing rates of allergic reactions are due to the introduction of formula milk instantly after birth. World Health Organization (WHO) has always emphasized on the fact that breastfeeding during the initial months of the baby can provide immunity from various diseases that cannot be acquired by any other means. But, there are many countries in Asia that do not follow the recommendation abruptly.
Prelacteal feeding or feeding other foods to the infant before breast milk is a common phenomenon in countries like India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. The colostrum, which contains the best of nutrients and is extremely beneficial for the baby, is considered “dirty” and is often thrown away. Instead, infants are given sugar water or honey as their first food. This practice is usually associated with lower maternal education, higher gravidity, lower socioeconomic status, and younger maternal age.
According to the study of ethnicity, China has almost 92% of its population as lactose-intolerant, and inter-marriages have brought intolerance to other ethnic groups. Alternatives to dairy products or lactose-free products are considerably higher in this region. Soy milk is the most popular alternative as it is much cheaper and healthier than other non-dairy products. However, a recent study revealed that Japan sees an increase in dairy consumption as people there are trying to cope with their intolerance by drinking milk within their physiological limitations.