Background: Despite scarce scientific evidence, current feeding guidelines recommend delayed introduction of solids for the prevention of asthma and allergy.
Aims: To explore whether late introduction of solids is protective against the development of asthma, eczema, and atopy.
Methods: A total of 642 children were recruited before birth and followed to the age of 5½ years. Main outcome measures were: doctor's diagnosis of eczema ever, atopy according to skin prick test results against inhalant allergens, preschool wheezing, transient wheezing, all defined at age 5–5½ years. Introduction of solids as main exposure measure was assessed retrospectively at age 1 year.
Results: There was no evidence for a protective effect of late introduction of solids for the development of preschool wheezing, transient wheezing, atopy, or eczema. On the contrary, there was a statistically significant increased risk of eczema in relation to late introduction of egg (aOR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.4) and milk (aOR 1.7, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.5). Late introduction of egg was furthermore associated with a non-significant increased risk of preschool wheezing (aOR 1.5, 95% CI 0.92 to 2.4). There was no statistical evidence of feeding practices playing a different role in the development of asthma and eczema after stratification for parental asthma and atopy status.
Conclusions: Results do not support the recommendations given by present feeding guidelines stating that a delayed introduction of solids is protective against the development of asthma and allergy.