Scientific evidence is scarce about timing of solid-food introduction and its association with the development of atopy. We aimed to evaluate any associations between the introduction of cow milk products/other solid food products and infant atopic manifestations in the second year of life, taking into account reverse causation.
Data from 2558 infants in an ongoing prospective birth cohort study in the Netherlands were analyzed. Data on the main determinants (introduction of cow milk products and other food products), outcomes (eczema; atopic dermatitis [United Kingdom Working Party criteria]; recurrent wheeze; any sensitization; sensitization against cow milk, hen egg, peanut, and at least 1 inhalant allergen), and confounders were collected by repeated questionnaires at 34 weeks of gestation and 3, 7, 12, and 24 months postpartum. Information on sensitization was gathered by venous blood collections performed during home visits at age 2. Analyses were performed by multiple logistic regression analyses.
More delay in introduction of cow milk products was associated with a higher risk for eczema. In addition, a delayed introduction of other food products was associated with an increased risk for atopy development at the age of 2 years. Exclusion of infants with early symptoms of eczema and recurrent wheeze (to avoid reverse causation) did not essentially change our results.
Delaying the introduction of cow milk or other food products may not be favorable in preventing the development of atopy.