Did your breastfed children develop allergies?

pickyshopperMay 16, 2013

My DD will be having my first grandchild in July, and hopes to breasteed. During a discussion with her MIL, she learned that her MIL was unable to breastfeed any of her children. The funny thing is, all 3 of MIL's formula fed children have no allergies at all and are not asthmatic. My 3 breastfed children all have multiple allergies (some life threatening) and all 3 needed to be on inhalers whenever they got a cold when they were young.

My children also got all the usual childhood colds and illnesses as their non-breastfed friends. So It seems like my 1 year of breastfeeding each child did nothing to avert allergies or illness.

I am a healthy eater, have no allergies myself, and have never had asthma. I did not eat possible trigger food such as shrimp or peanuts during pregnancy or breastfeeding. I was never knowingly exposed to anything toxic during pregancy, such as pesticides. So I was disappointed that breastfeeding provided no benefit healthwise to my children, although I certainly loved the bonding and financial savings it offered. I'm curious to know how many of you have children with multiple allergies, and whether or not they were breastfed.

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gosh that's difficult to say..now my kids were born in the 70's...my mother scared me out of bf my first, but i was dilligent with second...when the twins came along, i tried for 6 weeks but wore myself out (my oldest was 4) dd1 allergies, asthma...ds2 none till we moved to mi...dd2 none, but ds2 yes on allergies...still though the benefits have to outweigh the ingredients in forumla...my dd's and dil's all breastfed..but the diets they chose after for the grands are great to not so good...and yes, they all have some sort of allergy...some worse than others...but also take into consideration lifestyle, living zones, that can't prepare anyone anymore, sigh...

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 4:13PM
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I breastfed both kids. Neither has allergies. Alex has been healthier than Lauren. I think Lauren's more related to her poor eating habits than anything else. She usually eats out with her friends after school.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 4:32PM
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I breastfed my daughter and she has a LOAD of environmental allergies.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 4:40PM
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I didn't breast feed and my DD (only child) doesn't have any allergies. I think a lot of food allergies are linked to introducing solid food too early (before 4 or 6 months), although I don't recall at what age I starting feeding my DD solids. I've heard too that keeping too clean of a house and not allowing your child to 'get dirty' can add to allergies and other issues.

Here is a link that might be useful: Is cleanliness the cause of allergies?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 4:47PM
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Breast fed both, no allergies.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 4:58PM
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Breast fed all 4. All have allergies. I have lots of allergies, so that could be inherited too.
Did start cereal on the early side with most.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 5:07PM
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I have 3 chlldren, but only breastfed the last one. None of them have allergies. One of my BFFs DH has terrible allergies and so does their son and granddaughter. I think it's hereditary.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 5:09PM
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Two kids. The breastfed one is the one with allergies.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 5:12PM
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BF all three of mine and did not introduce solids till they were about a year old. My husband has allergies, and I come from a family with lots of allergies. We did have some food intolerances. My daughter could not tolerate poultry until she was in her 20s. My son could not tolerate cow milk or peanuts. Other than that, they have had no allergies.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 5:16PM
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Toni S

Pumped for two weeks and bottle feed all three. No allergies except one has spring 'hayfever' to certain pollens, They can go for years without being sick. Probably started rice cereal at 5 months. We have been very lucky with our health. Knock on wood!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 5:26PM
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"I breastfed both kids. Neither has allergies."

Same here.
In fact, my daughter does get sick at all. In 29 years, all she has had was a bout with mono.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 5:55PM
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FlamingO in AR

I don't have kids, but my mom had 3 kids, breast fed all of us- the eldest has severe allergies and the other two have none. Parents have no allergies.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 6:11PM
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I don't think that determines whether you have allergies, or not. I think it is more what is in the air, soil, water and food especially now and lifestyle. Years ago we were told to feed babies early, then later not to feed them (allergies was the excuse again) and now they are back to feeding early. --so I hear. I am beginning to think that clothing is part of it also. Now, we really don't know what the blankets, bedding and baby clothes are made with, not like the good USA cotton we use to get years ago.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 6:41PM
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Breastfeed 3 and only the youngest has any allergies. Main one is to milk. All of my nieces and my nephews were also breastfeed and most of them have dairy issues.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 6:47PM
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Neither of mine was breastfed and neither has allergies. I'm starting to think by reading these posts that there is no relationship, but who knows.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 7:38PM
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My child was breastfed - only allergic to ragweed. His two step-sibs were breastfed, and one has food allergies and the other doesn't.

It's not the breast feeding. Some kids just have allergies.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 8:05PM
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I breast fed two of my three. All three developed and still have lung/bronchial issues.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 8:06PM
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Breast fed all three. It was cheap and simple.

Also, we are almost never sick. I'm a horrid housekeeper so I figure we have built up an immunity. Not a germophobe.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 8:12PM
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Thank you for your responses. Despite constantly hearing that breastfed children will develop less allergies and illnesses, it just doesn't seem to be necessarily true, according to the above posts. DH also has no food allergies, and neither of us ever had asthma, so it's hard to figure out what the heck happened with all our kids. They are all pretty healthy adults, other than the allergies, but I sometimes wonder if they would have had less allergies if I had NOT breastfed them, lol.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 8:26PM
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Interesting question. I'm a retired La Leche League Leader, so I went to LLL online to see what they had to say about breastfeeding and allergies. It's worth reading.

I was bottlefed and have a slew of allergies, including an allergy to a milk protein. I'm allergic to some (not all) cats, and when we had horses, I don't think I breathed through my nose for four years. In my thirties I developed a dangerous allergy to solanine, which is in potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, okra, artichokes, and blueberries. You don't hear about that one very often, and I don't know where it came from.

I breastfed my three children. The oldest is allergic to shrimp. My middle child had no allergies, but the youngest has quite a few including an allergy to nickel. I started solids at six months, which the Academy of Pediatrics still recommends.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 8:52PM
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Bottle fed all 3. No allergies. Oldest did have a little spur of the moment ice cream at 4 months-shh. With the middle child the DR told me to giver her cereal at 2 months-she was hungry and drinking a lot of formula! She had no trouble eating cereal off a spoon. DS (youngest) maybe 4 months old started on cereal. I was a sanitizing fanatic with Baby #1-who had colds and a a few ear infections, Baby #2-cleaned a lot but didn't sanitize things nearly as long. She developed a real like to crawling over to the dog dish to eat kibble-yuck! Hardly ever sick 2-3 times. Baby #3 nothing sanitized from the get go. He is now 14 and has been to the DR only twice for sick visits-once when he was 1 month old and Baby #1 had pneumonia and he started sniffling-got an antibiotic as a precaution since his sister was so sick. The only other time he went to the DR for a sick visit was a year ago for coughing that was awful! Incredible-his eating habits are not that great.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 9:27PM
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you know my gmother developed a wheat allergy later in life and uncle had bad asthma..my mom mentioned getting ivy poisioning just riding in an open car (she was born in 1915)
so there were allergies in other family memebers...and being farm families, i'm assuming they were bf...

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 10:34PM
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All 3 of my kids were breast fed. (wife is IBCLC - International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). No allergies, but daughter did inherit asthma from her mother. Its under control most of the time, but a flare-up requires medical intervention.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 4:03AM
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I bottle fed my only daughter. She has asthma and it is flared in the spring by allergies. She is pregnant now (due any day) and she plans to breast feed. She's hoping it'll keep the allergies to a minimum. She said they told her not to start solids until as close to a year as possible. I did that also - she doesn't have food allergies so maybe it helped. I suspect that asthma came from my husbands side. While no one had asthma as a child, there's a lot of peopel that developed it as adults. Interesting post. I still think it will be better though for my daughter to breast feed both for the cost and the benefits of knowing where the food is coming from. With formula you just don't know what the heck they are putting in it and where it's being made.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 7:55AM
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I breastfed both my daughters. The older one has asthma, the younger has irritable bowel syndrome. They were very healthy as children. Allergies came on when they were teens.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 8:54AM
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I was breastfed and I have no allergies to anything. I have never even had poison ivy and I live in a sea of it. I breastfed my daughter and she had no allergies when she lived at home but now has some issues with pollen. No food allergies. She never had one drop of formula. The idea of that was horrific to me. And about women who can't breastfeed...that is extremely rare and unfortunately many women don't get the support or encouragement they need. Quite the opposite. Even well meaning people are forever saying things like "I don't think the baby is getting enough" because breastfed babies basically nurse around the clock, and it is discouraging to women who are trying but have to listen to stuff like that.

I was a firm believer in not starting babies on food very early, which is said to cause food allergies. I didn't give my daughter a bite of any kind of food until she was 8 mo. old. I tried when she was 6 mo. and she had no interest, so I waited awhile. I never gave her sugar or anything with dyes in it. I wanted to do everything I possibly could to not have a hyperactive child. I was in my mid thirties and I had seen some pretty wild kids, raised by my friends. Some that would make me want to leave home when they came over, except I had to stay home and protect what I had.

The only time I was ever sick in my entire life was when we first got married and bought a new house trailer. It had that "new" smell, and it was also very hot, so we used a/c all the time. I think that is why I was sick. Since then I have always lived in houses and could keep windows open as much as possible. I use a/c very little. Another thing....which I know is controversial and will bring the wrath of many people down on me....but it doesn't matter because I'm grown (hell, I am old) and I am okay with the decision my parents made to not have me vaccinated and I also did not vaccinate my daughter as much as I could possibly avoid. I didn't have her in day care or preschool and she was breast fed exclusively until she was well into being a toddler. She was hardly ever sick. I am hardly ever sick. I had a slight cold for the first time in almost 15 years. I have never had the flu. I have never had a sinus infection.

Back to allergies. I believe people start feeding infants food much too early. I think they will do it so they will sleep more, but their bodies aren't able to handle it. My baby slept with me (another no no by most people), so I didn't mind that she woke up often to nurse. I don't think living in houses with no fresh air is good. And I think over medicating causes immune problems. Our bodies were not made to handle so much synthetic stuff....be it medicine, food, environment or whatever.

Another problem, I have heard is being "too clean". I know you shouldn't live in a filthy environment, but having pets around and exposing yourself to a little dirt doesn't hurt you, and I believe it is a help.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 12:16PM
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I breastfed my kids on the recommendation of my doctor. I have allergies and he thought that would help. My kids have allergies too. Other than the allergies, they don't really get sick that much. I quit my job after I had the first two. I believe not exposing them to everything going around daycare and not having to be on constant antibiotics has helped. My kids have always been allowed to play in the dirt and get dirty. We use soap and water to wash our hands... not hand sanitizer.

We've been around a lot of kids diagnosed with strep throat over the years and we haven't picked it up. I've noticed that the kids who tend to be sick a lot tend to get a lot of antibiotics. We've also been blamed for various colds and flu's where we didn't get sick, but the people around us did. Not sure if we were the carriers, but apparently we do have a bit of a better immune system.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 4:18PM
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I breastfed my kids but not for very long and the only thing they are allergic to food-wise is chocolate (more for me) and one has mild hayfever which is probably inherited from their dad. They just got normal colds and that was it.

I do believe in not overdoing the germaphobe thing. My house is clean but not sanitized, my kids were sent out to play in the rain and allowed to splash in mud puddles, if it was snowing and they weren't wearing mitts, well they would come and get them on if their hands got cold.

With respect to increased allergies though, one thing I do wonder about is the increase in pollutants in our environment. They have increased even in one generation - cars, busses, industry, off-gassing from plastics, clothing made from man-made products rather than cotton or wool, food additives for preservatives. I could go on. And I wonder how much of this stuff in the air that gets into our eyes, lungs and on our skin can our bodies actually process, absorb and handle without going into some sort of overload and rebelling.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 4:43PM
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