Can I eat peanut butter while breastfeeding?

Bad_WifeJanuary 9, 2002

Stupid question, but my neighbor told me if I eat peanuts or peanut butter while breastfeeding, I make my baby more prone to nut allergies. Anyone ever heard of this?!? Or is it just another old wives' tale?

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timberlysmom

I've heard of this, but eat peanut butter like the dickens...I also read in the new issue of Parents that you shouldn't use nail polish, color your hair, paint, etc. while you're breastfeeding...I think that there are just some people out there who are *too* paranoid. I wouldn't worry about eating peanut butter (think about it, you drink milk, why doesn't that cause your baby to be more prone to milk allergies?)

    Bookmark   January 9, 2002 at 10:19AM
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Mary_T

I saw the same article in Parents as Timberslymom. It said you shouldn't pump gas, live in a place with wall to wall carpeting, paint, etc, etc...

I've finally decided I will be breaking somebody's rules no matter what I do! I also eat peanut butter while nursing(and any other nuts out there). And I did with my 2 year old DD. She doesn't have a nut allergy. I think if your family is prone to allergies, then it might be more important for you to avoid peanuts but otherwise I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2002 at 12:00PM
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Nox225

My Best friends son is allergic to Nuts and the Dr. told her not to eat any nuts while pregnant or breastfeeding with her second child. I'm sure he could have just be allergic to nuts no matter what she did though. I have heard the same thing but I sometime have nuts and I am breastfeeding. It will always be something....

    Bookmark   January 9, 2002 at 12:53PM
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sha_lyn

actually the ped told me to not drink milk while breastfeeding my DD. The proteins can also cause hayfeaver type allergies. DS and I have hayfever/allergies but DD does not. In families where there are peanut allergies Dr's tell the mothers to avoid peanuts while pregnant or nursing. There is also a high number of children with peanut allergies who were exposed to prescription creams that contain peanut oils in them. there is certainly a link to early peanut exposure and peanut allergies. Peanut allergies are usually life threatening. I don't think I would take the chance and eat peanut while PG or nursing.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2002 at 1:42PM
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timberlysmom

very interesting that you were told to not drink milk...did the ped suggest a calcium suplement for you? You're certainly correct about peanut allergies being fatal and I would take caution if allergies were a common family problem. But seeing how this poster refers to hearing it from a neighbor, and doesn't mention many worries, I think we're safe to assume that peanut allergies don't run in her family...:)

    Bookmark   January 9, 2002 at 1:49PM
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nadastimer

Doesn't WIC give peanut butter to breast feeding mothers? I didn't breastfeed and I know peanut butter was added to the list once DS was about 2. I believe they also gave it to breastfeeding mothers earlier on.

Some of this stuff has to be nothing but a bunch of paranoia! According to somethings you guys mentioned in that article, all of us should be in horrible shape! I read somethings before that I wasn't supposed to do while I was pergnant~some really stupid things~and I had but DS is healthy and fine. I have to question a lot of stuff these days.

~Leslie~

    Bookmark   January 9, 2002 at 3:02PM
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timberlysmom

Leslie, good point, I was on WIC for a while while b/f and got peanut butter!! WIC wants to kill our babies!!(JK)!!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2002 at 3:07PM
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Nicholas_E

We have twin nieces who are deathly allergic to peanuts. We think it came from the parent (BIL) we are not related to. But there mom (my wifes sister) is deathly allergic to bees, cares a pen. So my wife never ate peanuts during pregnancy or breastfeeding. She is not much a peanut eater anyway. We are also not feeding the little guy any until he is 2 or so. We have seen how hard it is to keep your kids away from peanuts and just decided to be safe.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2002 at 4:18PM
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jayme24baby

My ped. told me not to drink any milk either so...i've been off ALL mild products and it's aweful. You wouldn't believe what kind of stuff you can't eat. Everything has some form of milk, whey, butter, cream, cheese, ect...
It's a good weight loss program though:)

    Bookmark   January 9, 2002 at 10:00PM
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Karen_1011

My ped said pb is okay as long as there aren't nut allergies in my family. I eat it like crazy, no problems.

Karen

    Bookmark   January 10, 2002 at 1:35PM
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nadastimer

I can't believe they suggest you cut out a big part of your nutrition. Aren't you supposed to have all the food groups in your diet to be healthy? IS this just a new thing that they will change in a year or has this been the case for a long time. Like I said before, I didn't breastfeed.

~Leslie~

    Bookmark   January 10, 2002 at 5:06PM
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hollyg

As the mother of a 7 yo with a severe peanut allergy I thought you could use the latest info from Food Allergy Network. On a personal side, I did not bf, I did eat peanut products during pregnancy, no one on both sides of family have peanut allergy, although ragweed, mold allergies are on both sides. The study of causes of allergies is just beginning - no one has all the answers.

John Yunginger, M.D. - FAN Newsletter Oct/Nov 2001
Medical studies have focused on three areas, including the mother's diet prior to and after the infant's birth; infant breast feeding; and the delayed introduction of allergenic foods into the infants diet.

Elimination of allergenic foods such as cows milk and egg from the mother's diet during the last three months of pregnancy does not seem to reduce the infant's chances of developing food allergies after birth.

Pediatricians and allergists usually support breast feeding of infants, particularly those born into families whose members have food allergies, eczema, asthma or hay fever. However, small amounts of potentially allergenic foods consumed by a lactating mother may appear in her breast milk and could, theoretically, sensitize her infant.

Large scale studies in which mothers avoided eating egg, cows milk, fish, soy and peanut during lactation showed that development of food allergy in their infants could be reduced appreciably, but not prevented entirely. The elimination diets are difficult to follow and have the potential to compromise the mothers nutrition. If such diets are used, the assistance of a registered dietitian should be requested.

Early infant exposure to sensitizing foods such as cows milk, egg and soy may be associated with development of eczema. Many allergists suggest delaying introduction of these foods into the diet until the infant is at least six months old. More highly allergenic foods such as peanut, tree nut and fish should be withheld even longer.

No one (including an allergist) can predict with certainty whether your child will or will not develop food allergies.

Here is a link that might be useful: Food Allergy Network

    Bookmark   January 11, 2002 at 11:23AM
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michie1

If you & your husband & other children aren't highly allergic then eat anything you want & baby will develop a good taste for all sorts of things. If one of you is highly allergic & especially to peanuts then stay away b/c the chances are the baby will also be allergic.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2002 at 2:18PM
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faithab

Having been a lactation consultant for 20 years I would like to add to this discussion that things you eat do not go in your mouth and out your breast. Doctors who recommend not eating peanut butter and drinking milk are cutting out two wonderful forms of protien which nursing mothers need more of. Of greater importance in avoiding food allergies in children is to keep them away from foreign foods (i.e. non breastmilk) until at least 4 months of age and then start foods gradually one at a time for three days and watch for reactions. If there is a family history of allergies greater care should be taken. Try to avoid using breast milk subsitutes and pump your own milk for your child, if you can.

Please note that the sentence HollyG quotes [However, small amounts of potentially allergenic foods consumed by a lactating mother may appear in her breast milk and could, theoretically, sensitize her infant.] uses the word "theoretically." Since my husband is a doctor in an academic center we both have learned to raise large red flags at the use of that word. Basically, it means "in theory only." Relax, enjoy your baby and eat well. Think of the diets of most of the women in the rest of the world where babies nurse for years. Hot chili peppers in Mexico, yak milk in Tibet, spicy foods in Thailand. Those babies all nurse just fine. Yours can too.

Faith

    Bookmark   January 19, 2002 at 12:44AM
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Pam_from_the_PNW

My DS is 5 months old and has had eczema on his forehead since he was about 2 weeks old or so. I am breastfeeding him, so I assumed that this was just something that he'd developed from non-allergy reasons, but when his pediatrician suggested that I go on a milk-free diet to see if it would help him we gave it a try and his eczema is practically gone now. I did drink a Starbucks mocha latte the other day and within 24 hours he developed the eczema again, so I do think allergy-causing foods can pass into the breastmilk. If we had a known peanut allergy in the family, I think I would try to avoid peanut products while breastfeeding, but since we don't I have eaten the occasional PB&J sandwich or Snickers bar that I stole out of DD's Halloween bucket (which is still half full and is tempting me sorely!)

Pam

    Bookmark   January 19, 2002 at 6:42PM
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hollyg

Pam from PNW - If at all possible I would try to keep your DS away from peanuts. I don't want to alarm anyone or be the voice of doom, but eczema was how my DD allergies started. We have no history of peanut allergy on either side of the family but DD developed a severe allergy. As I understand some of the new research, allergies don't show up in the same form. I have no allergies at all. DH has ragweed allergies. But DD doesn't have ragweed allergy - she ended up with severe peanut allergy. Before DD I would not have considered our family history as "highly allergenic". The day to day struggle to keep DD away from peanut products is emotionally draining. We struggle with school, play dates, Brownies, sleep overs, we never eat out anymore, holidays are like planning an invasion. Do we have the Epipen? Cell phone numbers? Nearest hospital route? What is in that food? Who made that food? Do you understand cross contamination? and on and on. I kept younger DD away from peanuts until she was 4 years old. It was worth it.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2002 at 9:44AM
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sha_lyn

holly... did you use a prescription cream on your DD eczama? There are some eczama treatments that have peanut oil in them and they seem to be a leading cause of peanut allergies.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2002 at 2:15PM
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