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Weaning

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Naire Sansotta
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Strategies to prevent or reduce the risk of allergic diseases are needed. The time of exclusive breastfeeding and introduction of solid foods is a key factor that may influence the development of allergy. For this reason, the aim of this review was to examine the association between exposure to solid foods in the infant's diet and the development of allergic diseases in children. Classical prophylactic feeding guidelines recommended a delayed introduction of solids for the prevention of atopic diseases. Is it really true that a delayed introduction of solids (after the 4th or 6th month) is protective against the development of eczema, asthma, allergic rhinitis and food or inhalant sensitisation? In recent years, many authors have found that there is no statistically significant association between delayed introduction of solids and protection for the development of allergic diseases. Furthermore, late introduction of solid foods could be associated with increased risk of allergic sensitisation to foods, inhalant allergens and celiac disease in children. Tolerance may be driven by the contact of the mucosal immune system with the allergen at the right time of life; the protective effects seem to be enhanced by the practice of the breastfeeding at the same time when weaning is started. Therefore, recent guidelines propose a "window" approach for weaning practice starting at the 17th week and introducing almost all foods within the 27th week of life to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as allergic ones and the celiac disease. Guidelines emphasize the role of breastfeeding during the weaning practice.