Breastfeeding tied to allergies/asthma (Ontario study)

Posted on: Thu, 09/19/2002 - 11:17pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

pWow. Read this surprising article and post your comments. Sounds like researchers were as taken aback as I by the results of this study. I did breastfeed Cayley for 4 months./p
pBreast-feeding tied to asthma, allergies /p
pStudy casts doubt on long-held belief that practice is beneficial /p
pBy Suzanne Morrisonbr /

Posted on: Fri, 09/20/2002 - 12:21am
nopeanuts's picture
Joined: 06/20/2001 - 09:00

This is so distressing! I am trying so hard to prevent allergies/asthma in my second child and every time I turn around there is a different opinion on how best to do that. I recently read that exposing children to dust prevents asthma. I had always read the opposite. I hope someone tries to replicate this study soon. I assume there are some studies done showing the positive connection between nursing and allergy prevention, or has that always just been assumed?

Posted on: Fri, 09/20/2002 - 12:59am
Caterina2's picture
Joined: 02/14/2001 - 09:00

I can't believe this. I have so many questions. This definitely needs more research. I'm wondering if the funding for this study was provided by any of the baby formula companies. I hope this doesn't discourage anyone whose undecided about breastfeeding.
[This message has been edited by Caterina2 (edited September 20, 2002).]

Posted on: Fri, 09/20/2002 - 1:33am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I'm really not surprised. I mean, it stands to reason that children will be sensitized during breastfeeding (and in utero) to high allergen foods, if the mommy eats them.
I wholeheartedly believe this is why my oldest is PA. Others disagree, and that's fine.
I BF my oldest for one full year. My youngest, for 3 months. So far my youngest shows no signs of allergies of any kind. Note, though, that I didn't eat any pn/nut products while pregnant with my youngest, either. I ate PB every day - by suggestion of OBGYN - while pregnant with PA child.
Regardless, PA is now a part of our lives, and we're living with it - one day at a time. So far, so good.

Posted on: Fri, 09/20/2002 - 1:34am
juliasmom's picture
Joined: 06/11/2002 - 09:00

Wow! I have thought a lot about this too. I breastfed for over a year, and was active in La Leche League. I cringe when I think of myself munching on trail mix back then... I mean, we talked about EVERYTHING ELSE that could pass through breast milk. LLL leaders often suggested avoiding dairy, chocolate or other things that might cause tummy upset in a baby. But never did nuts or nut byproducts come up. Believe me, I'm supportive of LLL and breastfeeding. But I would have happily altered my diet further had I known. I guess more info is just coming to light now?? I hope if hard data is found, people will use it and interpret it appropriately.
Mary Beth

Posted on: Fri, 09/20/2002 - 3:14am
nopeanuts's picture
Joined: 06/20/2001 - 09:00

The study (according to the post) says that there was an increase in allergies to dust and cats, and asthma. They did not say to food. If there was an increase in food allergies, it makes sense due to food exposure while nursing, but that wasn't reported. I agree that nusing while eating high allegen foods contributes to food allergies, I just don't understand the asthma link or the tendency towards allergies in general.

Posted on: Fri, 09/20/2002 - 3:50am
Going Nuts's picture
Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

I breastfeed Kevin for - GASP - 2 1/2 years (and his non-PA but asthmatic bro for 2 years)! When he was about 8 months old, and doing poorly I even asked if I should stop BFing and put him on Nutramigen, or one of those. His pediatrician discouraged me, stating that he didn't think he'd be able to tolerate that any better. In both cases I was encouraged to BF for as long as possible.

Posted on: Fri, 09/20/2002 - 4:12am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

The main thing that I would like clarified (I've heard they're gearing up to do a separate study in Hamilton) is does breastfeeding [i]cause[/i] allergies and asthma or does it just do nothing to [i]prevent[/i] allergies and asthma. Because there's a world of difference between the two.
If it causes it, then why? Mother Nature will not be denied, but what message is she sending us? That allergies [i]are[/i] natural? The immune system is such a puzzle - just when scientists think they're getting a handle on it, some new piece of evidence pops up to throw a monkey wrench into the system....

Posted on: Fri, 09/20/2002 - 5:26am
nopeanuts's picture
Joined: 06/20/2001 - 09:00

Cayley's mom - I think the study says that bf "causes" allergies. If it just did nothing to prevent it, there would be no differences between the bf and the non-bf group. I wonder if the increase in allergies and asthma has increased with the number of people breastfeeding, now that it is more accepted.

Posted on: Fri, 09/20/2002 - 5:40am
becca's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

There is simply no way to determine causality here. All it says is the allergies and asthma in this particular group, *in this particular study* occurred in more individuals. To take the leap and say that breastfeeding caused this difference is extrememly premature if not just bad science. becca

Posted on: Fri, 09/20/2002 - 6:21am
Jazz It Up's picture
Joined: 08/19/2002 - 09:00

Cayley's mom,
Thanks for posting this study. I just get confused all over again as I breast-fed both of my children; ate the same foods and my 2nd born is peanut allergic. My daughter has no allergies whatsoever that we are aware of. The *only* difference between my 2 children is that my daughter did not have eczema and my PA son had it severely.
Now, looking back on things...was what I was eating while breast-feeding causing his eczema? Could *this* had been the sign of him having food allergy reactions and this was how it was coming out, in the form of eczema?! (He previously was allergic to eggs; soybean and dairy).
Will we ever really know the answer? *sigh*
Stay Safe!
[This message has been edited by Jazz It Up (edited September 20, 2002).]


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