Breastfeeding and Peanut Allergies


I am trying to make a decision or not whether to breastfeed my second child due in March. With my first, I ate everything under the sun during pregnancy and breastfeeding for 11 months. Anyhow, I thought breastfeeding was supposed to help with allergies. Not. DS is PA and has 7 other pretty bad (dairy, egg, etc.) food allergies. His allergist recommends breastfeeding the new baby and not eating peanuts while pregnant or breastfeeding. Or, giving the new baby hypoallergenic formula as a last resort. For me, nursing is a huge effort. I couldn't pump and my first DS ate every couple of hours. At about 5 months, my DS was covered from head to toe in a deep red rash. He nursed even more because he was so uncomfortable. Our general doctor, told us to put hydrocortisone on it and lotion. By 11 months, he had hives from my DS touching him after eating peanuts and we finally asked for a referral to the allergist. Then, we found out about all of his allergies and we switched him to soy. I don't want to make the same mistakes twice. Right now, I am at the point where I will try and breastfeed (sans peanuts, that is really easy in this house as my joke is the only nut that walks through my front door is my MIL) but eliminating the 7 others would be impossible. Besides, the allergist says if I eliminate those, there is no saying that the new baby won't be allergic to something else. The bottom line is, if this one so much as gets a mark on him that looks like a rash or sneezes at me funny, it's hypoallergic/home equity line formula for him!! Anyone had this situation? Thoughts? Advice?

On Oct 29, 2007

My first child I was not able to nurse. I did it for nine days and felt like she was starving. So, knowing nothing about food allergies, I pumped what little supply I had left for 3 months which amounted to 1 bottle a day if I was lucky. I put my child on regular formula, hence not knowing about allergies. But she kept throwing up, so a friend told me to try different types of formulas. We tried soy (awful for her) and then lactose free one and this seemed to do the trick. I think at about 8 months I started on a hypoallergenic formula. At about a year old when you should be switching to milk, she started developing rashes and we had her tested and found out about all of her allergies.

My second child I avoided just peanuts/nuts because first child was highly allergic. I was able to nurse second child for a very long time. She was tested about 18months and came up allergic to peanut too.

I don't know what the magic formula for avoiding food allergies are but just do what you feel you have to for your new baby. Best wishes!

On Oct 29, 2007

You know if you breastfeed and prevent asthma that would be well worth it, kids with asthma and food allergies have a higher chance of deadly reaction, I was told both of my kids would have asthma because of family history, neither of my kids have asthma , I breastfed becasue it was best , not because I enjoyed it.I believe it s the reason.

On Oct 29, 2007

I breasfed both of my boys for 6 months. They both nursed every 1.5-2 hours for at least 30 minutes.... that's from start of feeding to start of feeding, so I know it can be difficult.

Bfing decreases the chances of allergies just like wearing a seatbelt decreases your chances of dying in a car accident, if there's anything I have learned it's that there are no guarentees in life. breast milk is very good for babies... "the gold standard" is what I was told. If you can, do it. Any amount of time is beneficial.

One child having allergies doesn't mean the other one will... My oldest... other than some very very mild eczema as a baby hasn't had any issues (Knock wood), my younger has PA.

I did find that bfing my 2nd did go more smoothly than my first despite him being in the NICU for 6 days. I think I had problems letting down, which is why I think they nursed often and for a long time.

REsearch and do what you think is best for your baby.

On Oct 29, 2007

I bf my dd for ten months. She had many food allergies, she remains only pa and asthmatic. My ds I bf for 20 months and he was initially allergic to dairy in my diet and outgrew by 1 years old. He has NKA as of now he is eight. My youngest dd was bf for just as long and she has nka as well, she is almost three. In my opinion your children are going to have allergies, or they won't and at this point there is no definitive answer that says yes this will or no this won't cause an allergy. I hope all works well for you whichever way you choose.

On Oct 30, 2007

I am currently breatfeeding #4 and hoping for the best. DS#3 is the one with MFA. The first 2 have no food allergies. I ate peanuts for the first 2 months bf #4 until we found out about the PA. I ate tons of PB when nursing the other 3. So who knows for sure?

On Oct 30, 2007

There are no hard proof that breastfeeding prevents allergies, in fact it might be the reverse. BUT dont stop breastfeeding because of the varying opinions and opposing studies. If you can breastfeed , and want to do it. For as long as you want. There are many other breastfeeding benifits, not just for the baby but for you. Reducing your chances of breast cancer for one. As for diet restrictions during pregnancy , again there is major dispute over this area, with avoidance causing allergies.

Do what ever is comfortable for you, and dont blame yourself in any way.

If its any comfort, I have four children , and only one has the allergies, and all children were fed for the first year or longer.


On Oct 31, 2007

I was floored when our allergist said that breastfeeding may not have a protective effect against allergies as shown by some recent studies. Here's a link to one study that comes to that conclusion:


I agree with williamsmummy. Do what feels right to you. My belief is that you can't rely on what doctors tell you as the information keeps changing... If it were me, my gut instinct tells me that I would breastfeed while strictly eliminating as as many of the big allergens as I could, especially milk, egg, and nuts. I would breastfeed that way for as long as I could and then switch to an elemental formula. However, that may not be the right thing to do either as there are studies being done now to see if EARLY introduction of allergens has a protective effect. It is so frustrating to know what to do that it seems like a crapshoot at times! Good luck and do what feels right.

On Oct 31, 2007

I BF for around 7 monnths and then switched to Neocate. I honestly wish I had switched sooner because DD was so obviously miserable but we didn't know why.

Anyway I'd start off BFing. It is a chore, no doubt about it, but I think that even if you don't avoid allergies, there are other benefits to it that you just don't get from formula. Also, the cost of the hypoallergenic formulas is prohibitive, especially if you have a crap insurance plan like we do that pays for nothing. Jerks.

On Oct 31, 2007

I disagree that it's a chore. What is a chore to me would be washing bottles, getting up in the middle of the night to mix up formula, taking bottles and formula everywhere you go, etc. Granted I didn't have any major issues with it and I know it's not smooth sailing for everyone.