A new study in mice shows that exposure to an allergen through breast milk can actively program a pup’s immune system to prevent asthma later in life. Exposure to both the allergen and a specific immune factor passed on through the milk by the mother was necessary for protection. This study suggests that a mom’s exposure to allergens during breastfeeding can help protect her baby from reacting to those allergens later in life.
Here’s the study:
Verhasselt V. Neonatal tolerance under breastfeeding influence: the presence of allergen and transforming growth factor-beta in breast milk protects the progeny from allergic asthma. J Pediatr. 2010 Feb;156(2 Suppl):S16-20.