Breastfeeding and Pregnant Moms - Beware

Posted on: Wed, 03/17/1999 - 9:46am
LauraP's picture
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Joined: 03/10/1999 - 09:00

Hi everybody!

I'm curious about something which has troubled me for quite some time. How many of you read a book called "What to expect when you're expecting" and it's successor "What to expect the First year"? I read both of these books, and followed what they called the "Best Odds Diet", with the approval of my OBGYN. The diet is definetely on target with respect to assuring that a pregnant and breastfeeding mom receives all her required nutrients. However, the diet "hawks" peanuts and peanut butter, and the books are number one best sellers. I can't tell you how many days I stared at the bottom of a toilet bowl, yaking my guts up from morning sickness, and then ate two tablespoons of peanut butter because it would be easier on my sour stomach than an 8oz. chicken breast (as the diet recommended).

Are you all aware that current research supports a link not only between breastfeeding and peanut consumption, but between pregnancy and peanut consumption? I did not make this mistake in my second pregnancy. I knew my son was allergic to peanuts. I did not eat them when I was pregnant or breastfeeding the second time, and guess what? My daughter, now 2 1/2 is not showing any signs of any allergy. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and you have a history of allergy, PLEASE, PLEASE do not eat peanuts or nut containing products or products containing natural flavor (unless you have checked with the manufacturer). You may actually save your child from a life of dealing with these issues. I'd really like to hear responses on this - it's bothered me for a long, long time.

Posted on: Thu, 03/18/1999 - 5:11am
Jan's picture
Jan
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Joined: 01/26/1999 - 09:00

Hi Laura,
I agree with you. It really bothers me too. I breastfeed my third child and ate alot of peanuts and peanut butter. He is the only one who I nursed and the only one with this awful peanut allergy and is allergic to many other foods. I can't figure it out!

Posted on: Thu, 03/18/1999 - 10:56am
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Joined: 03/07/1999 - 09:00

I agree with both of you that if I were to get pregnant again, I definitely would stay away from peanuts/peanut butter. But, I ate peanut butter with banana on toast just about every day of both my pregnancies and while breastfeeding (both times for 3 months) and my first son does not have a single food allergy and my second son has many. I just don't think it proves it completely. I think genes still have a lot to do with it and my youngest must have gotten more than his share of the allergy prone ones. But as I said before, you can bet if I got pregnant now I would not eat any peanut products just to give the child the best chance possible to avoid an allergy. Lisa M

Posted on: Sun, 03/21/1999 - 2:25pm
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Joined: 03/09/1999 - 09:00

I am still breastfeeding my son who is now peanut allergic: he has never had a peanut product in his life, except, I guess, through breastmilk and while I was pregnant and extremely nauseated by meat. Now I treat myself as though I were allergic to peanuts as well, as that seems to be the safest thing I can do for my baby, even though he's already allergic, why sensitize him even further? I also lived by the books you mentioned, and also my ob's recomm. to eat more protein as I was losing weight. You can bet that next time I'm pregnant I will NOT be eating peanut products and will try to find some other type of protein to get me through those first couple of months. I do wonder, though, whether or not my son would have been allergic one day, regardless, as both my husband and I have several food allergies between us. I don't know how it all works, but do know that my son's genes weren't working in his favor. I have many friends who are shocked to find out that this can happen through pregnancy and breastfeeding, and it's hard to explain it to them. I don't think the authors of those books were aware of the peanut problem, as many people aren't, and it's up to those of us affected to "get the word out" - how else will they understand, unless they have to go through it themselves? Experience is a valuable tool - too bad it has to happen this way.

Posted on: Mon, 03/22/1999 - 1:22am
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Joined: 02/03/1999 - 09:00

Carolynn,
Two allergists told me separately that my son would have most likely become allergic to peanuts sooner or later. They said he was sensitized sooner, most likely because I ate peanut butter while nursing. If it didn't happen while I was nursing, it would have happened pretty quickly anyway because peanuts are such a major part of our diets.
--Tracy

Posted on: Tue, 03/23/1999 - 10:00am
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Joined: 01/22/1999 - 09:00

I don't think there is enough evidence to truly support the link between pn allergies and exposure in utero and breastfeeding (especially in utero, where its harder to measure what proteins pass thru the placenta). There have not been enough studies done to difinitively say there is or isn't a link.
Until there are conclusive answers, I do agree if you have a family history of allergies you should err on the side of caution and avoid the common allergenic foods. For me even this knowledge wouldn't have helped because we have no family history of allergies, so I wouldn't have thought I needed to avoid peanuts.
[This message has been edited by brenda (edited March 23, 1999).]

Posted on: Wed, 03/24/1999 - 10:20am
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Joined: 02/15/1999 - 09:00

Hi. This is my very first post- I have been absorbing lots of information from this incredible website ever since my son (now 14months old) had an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts at 11 months. To LauraP I have this to say:
I am also EXTREMELY upset at all the pregnancy books I read before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding (I am still breastfeeding) who all mention peanuts to be a "great source of protein" etc. I had "what to eat when you're expecting" and another book about nutrition and pregnancy and I thought I was being sooo
prepared by reading these books. The one thing I did not know was that I should never have eaten the quantity of peanut butter that I did while pregnant and while breastfeeding( I ate a TON of peanut butter!!) I am thinking of writing a letter to these books, and also magazines that still mention how great a snack peanut butter is to let them know how disappointed I am (and others with these same feelings) that they don't include a statement like, "If you have family history of allergies, peanuts should be eaten with caution", or something to that effect. I also think that peanuts and peanut products should have labeling on them, something like a warning label for pregnant women. (They want to approve such a label for people allergic to latex, why not peanuts?)
I realize that it is still possible that my son would still be allergic to peanuts even if I had not touched peanut butter during pregnancy, but I believe that it would have been less severe...
Is anyone interested in signing such a letter if I eventually get one written to these books? I am going to e-mail Chris to run this idea by Peanutallergy.com.
I also think that my OB/GYN should know this kind of information...
One last thing I have to say is that in France, pregnant women are all told to avoiid peanuts- I am infuriated that we are not told the same thing...
Astrid
mom in Reston, VA

Posted on: Wed, 03/24/1999 - 10:48am
Jan's picture
Jan
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Joined: 01/26/1999 - 09:00

Astrid,
I would sign a letter. People need to be more aware of this. Women should know that they need to stay away from peanut products during pregnancy and nursing. My doctor did not hear of this until I came in to see him, now he warns all his pregnant and nursing patients.

Posted on: Wed, 03/24/1999 - 12:48pm
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Joined: 12/06/2002 - 09:00

I would sign such a letter, too. I must say, however, that my son's pn allergy appears to be "out of the blue." That is, we have no history of allergy anything in our family (or asthma/eczema), and I ate peanut butter only rarely during pregnancy. I ate it a bit more during nursing, but certainly not to an excessive degree, and certainly no more than any other common allergenic food. If I had been advised not to eat peanute products, I probably would not have, since I followed all the other instructions, but I'm not sure it would have made a difference in my case. Nancy

Posted on: Wed, 03/24/1999 - 9:11pm
LauraP's picture
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Joined: 03/10/1999 - 09:00

Hi everybody -
I see my OBGYN in two weeks (she's peanut allergic herself) and I'm going to find out if there have been any recommendations for OBGYN's in the U.S. to advise their patients of this. I'll find out if there's a medical journal or organization (perhaps the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) that we should collectively write to about this.

Posted on: Wed, 03/24/1999 - 11:54pm
tracy's picture
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Joined: 02/03/1999 - 09:00

LauraP,
Having articles to refer my doctor to would help. I really like him and think he's a good doctor (he's got a fabulous reputation), but sometimes when I suggest things he gets a little defensive -- not too bad, but I'm sure it's hard to listen to everyone's theories all day long. So I thought if there was an official article or recommendation I could show him, it would help convince him better.
Thanks,
Tracy

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