Peanut eating while pregnant may cause allergy in infants and kids

Eating peanuts during pregnancy and breastfeeding may be linked to peanut allergies in infants and children

Recent research points toward maternal diet as being a risk factor for childhood food allergy to peanuts. Researchers discovered that children born of mothers who ate peanuts two or more times per week, during pregnancy, were more likely to be allergic to peanuts. Peanut allergies are very serious, usually life-threatening and can lead to an anaphaylaxis and even death.HealthCommunities.com reports, “Infants between the ages of three and 15 months were enrolled in a study group; 503 of them were suspected of having an egg or milk allergy (which is a risk factor for peanut allergies) based on skin prick tests, but they had no known peanut allergy.

Of the 503 infants, 140 (27.8%) were found to have a strong sensitivity to peanuts based on blood tests that showed a peanut immunoglobulin E (igE) level of 5 kUA/L or more, indicating a strong likelihood that the child would develop a peanut allergy. The factor that best predicted this test result was the mother’s consumption of peanuts two or more times a week during her pregnancy.
“Recent studies in children have estimated the prevalence of peanut allergy to be over 1% and approaching 2% indicating an epidemic,” the study’s authors wrote. “Peanut allergy is usually lifelong and can be fatal. These observations indicate a need for prevention measures. Our study has identified maternal consumption of peanut during pregnancy as a primary modifiable risk factor.”

This research comes on the heels of research that showed that peanut protein moves through mother’s breast milk to the nursing baby.

In my practice, I have met scores of nursing mothers whose children’s pediatrician urged the mother to stop nursing their baby because “the child is allergic to your breast milk”. Allergic to breastmilk? Really? But aren’t these babies are not allergic to proteins from the food mother ate which moves through her milk to her nursling? Come on. What mother wants to hear that her breastmilk is offensive, even dangerous to her child? Especially when she can make simple changes to her diet in an effort to continue breastfeeding.

The medical community is simply not connecting the dots and is lazily suggesting that these infants be placed on formula, rather than taking the time in clinical practice to teach women how to change their diet.

Since it well known that breast is best, perhaps it is time that the medical community advise the mothers themselves to eliminate allergenic foods from her diet to benefit her nursling. (Not to mention all the benefits mother’s get from nursing their sweet child). Sure it takes time to educate women on how to change their diet, but I can tell you from personal experience that it is worth it. That is what I did, and it was not hard to do because, like most mothers, I was determined to do what ever I needed to do to benefit my son’s health. And thanks to the Internet, I was able to find plenty of information on the subject, as well as support from other parents of food allergic kids. My son nursed for fifteen months and we avoid most of the foods he is allergic to so that there is no accidental cross-contamination in our kitchen.

For More about Breastfeeding visit the La Leche League International’s Website.
For More about Food Allergies visit the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network’s Website.
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